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Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) - Tools and Technologies for Broad-Scale Disease Surveillance of Crop Plants in Low-Income Countries - Round 21

Grants to USA, Canada and International Nonprofits, IHEs,
Businesses, and Agencies to Detect Crop Pests and Diseases

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - Global Grand Challenges

Deadline Date:

05/02/18 11:30 AM PDT


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Grants to USA, Canada and International nonprofit and for-profit companies, government agencies, and academic institutions for programs that detect crop pests and disease over large geographic areas in low-income counties. Proposals may utilize emerging research in engineering, data science, chemistry, biology, computer science, telecommunications, and other relevant fields.

The goal of this topic is to solicit innovative tools and technologies for crop pests and disease surveillance over large geographic regions in low-income countries. We are looking for tools and approaches that have the potential to transform crop pest and disease surveillance globally, with a focus on low-income countries. Ideas that result in increased coverage of geographic area will be prioritized over ideas that increase diagnostic accuracy. Ideas that are applicable or adaptable to multiple crops and diseases/pests will be prioritized over ideas that are specific to only one crop or pathogen. Because the focus is on low-income countries, successful proposals will take into account small-scale, difficult-to-reach, intercropped farming systems with multiple pests and diseases. Preliminary data is not required, but proposals should clearly demonstrate how the idea is an innovative leap in progress from current practices with the potential to be transformative at scale.

To be considered, proposals must closely align with the goals of the foundation’s Agricultural Development team. As such, proposals are sought that:

- Offer an innovative and transformative solution for surveillance and early detection of crop pests and diseases;
- Offer potential for dramatic cost reductions or increases in efficiency or precision compared to current strategies;
- Be amenable to integration into a national or regional pest and disease surveillance and response system for crop plants;
- Have potential applicability to at least two of the following crops: maize, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, and groundnuts;
- Convey a clear potential for achieving broad geographic scale.

A few examples of the many possible examples to be considered include:

- Multidisciplinary approaches that leverage emerging research in data science, engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, telecommunications and other relevant fields;
- Phone-based technologies;
- Novel sensor-based strategies affordable to low-income country users;
- Approaches that leverage “passive” big data sources (remote sensing, crowdsourced data, online content, social media, call center records, and other non-traditional data sources) and machine learning/artificial intelligence;
- Other applications not highlighted here.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183318

Estimated Size of Grant:

The amount awarded is up to $100,000 USD.

Term of Contract:

Phase I projects have a term of 18 months beginning on the project start date.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

GCE is open to both foreign and domestic organizations, including non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, international organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions.

Under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act of 2010 (FCRA). As part of the foundation’s diligence, they may ask for a copy of your organization’s registration under FCRA or a written certification that FCRA registration is not required. Failure to comply with the requirements of FCRA may subject your organization to financial and/or criminal penalties. You should consult with your own advisors to determine whether FCRA applies to your organization or project.

Project funds may not be used to reimburse expenses incurred prior to the project start date.

Funding will not be considered for:
- Incremental improvements in our knowledge or application of current pest and disease surveillance strategies;
- Ideas that are not directly relevant to agricultural systems in low-income countries;
- Ideas that are not applicable to the following crops: maize, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, and groundnuts;
- Transfer of existing technology to a new system without innovative modification;
- Proposals that focus solely on scaling up or delivery of existing technologies;
- Proposals that focus solely on one-directional extension services to demonstrate or advertise existing technologies without data collection;
- Proposals that focus solely on abiotic stresses (e.g., drought, heat, etc.).
- Proposals that focus solely on modeling of existing data;
- Devices or approaches focused on diagnostic capability for only one pest or disease.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates
- March 2018: Application period opens
- May 2, 2018, 11:30 a.m. US PDT: Application deadline
- July 2018: Proposal review completed
- September 2018: Selections completed and notifications sent
- November 2018: Awarded projects start date

The GCE initiative publishes topics and invites proposals two rounds a year. An applicant must submit under only one topic each round and may submit only one proposal. Submit your best idea. You may submit multiple ideas in partnership with collaborators, but an individual Principal Investigator may lead the submission of only one proposal each round.

Application Instructions:

FAQ for Grand Challenges Explorations:

How Grants are Selected:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.