The African Academy of Sciences - Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AAS-AESA) is launching two new Grand Challenges:

1) Providing new impetus and solutions and strategies to help Africa meet the SDG 3 target for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH). These cover key areas of:

  • New technologies to enable rapid identification of exposures that lead to poor outcomes in pregnancy, birth and in the first month of life — these could be exposures to communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Precision medicine approaches and techniques to identify microbes and other exposures in Africa that may increase susceptibility to non-communicable diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.) in mothers and children under 5 years of age.

2) Creative approaches to engage the public, and inspire policy and decision makers to increase investment in African Research & Development.

These new grand challenge innovation grants will be issued and administered under the banner of Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa), a program implemented in partnership with theNew Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency) and theBill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Round 1 is a joint initiative of the GC Africa partners and Institut Pasteur of Paris (IP)

Call Release date: 17th November 2016
Call Closure date: 17th February 2017


Challenge 1 : Focuses on key targets of the health SDG3 to stimulate new approaches, interventions, tools and new combinations of existing approaches to ensure that Africa progresses rapidly to address challenges in MNCH and to accelerate the pace of implementing interventions that can reduce maternal, neonatal and child deaths in Africa.  GC Africa will build on the successes of other Grand Challenges global partners, which includes a strong base of African Grand Challenges grantees funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationGrand Challenges Canada and USAID

Challenge 2: Focuses on key targets of SDG 9 to enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending. The goal of this challenge is to ignite new ways of communicating the importance of investments in scientific research and development to motivate African governments and their citizens to support increased investments in scientific Research, Development & innovation(RD&I) from within the continent to complement, and eventually surpass, global/external investments. Increased investments will lead to innovative home grown solutions to challenges that may prevent African countries from achieving SDG3 targets set for MNCH.

Funding for this call

Through this GC Africa Innovation Seed Grants (GCA-ISG) call, we will fund African Investigators and Africa-resident applicants who qualify based on the eligibility and inclusion criteria outlined in the GCA Rules & Guidelines. We are now accepting proposals for the first round of applications and are seeking innovative global health and development solutions from researchers resident in Africa who have the support of their affiliated/primary organization, and where the major programme of work will be undertaken. Applications MUST be submitted through the African Academy of Sciences Ishango Online Application Portal. Grants will go to investigators in African countries, but we encourage partnerships with investigators in other countries, especially where the opportunity exists to build new or strengthen existing collaborations. We particularly request proposals that promote intra-African collaborations across geography, language, cultures and other divides, such as those that link the 9 Institut Pasteur organisations in Africa with other African institutions. 

Applicants can be at any level of experience and working in any discipline, from any organization, including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations.

How to Apply

Before embarking on your application, make sure you have read and understood the Rules and Guidelines governing the application process. Please also read the detailed Request for Proposals.


All applications should be submitted online via the African Academy of Sciences Ishango Online Application Portal by clicking on the 'Apply for This Opportunity button below.

Grand Challenges Africa has developed the resources below to assist applicants with preparing their grants in response to Requests for Proposals. These documents, which we regularly update, offer general advice that is applicable to grant writing.

Application Resources