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Discovery & Translational Sciences

Strategy Overview

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Our Grand Challenges programs have awarded grants for early-stage research to more than 1,000 innovators in over 50 countries.

Our Goal:

to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health and development inequity.

At A Glance

The primary role of our team is to provide tools that enable the foundation to achieve its bold global health and development goals.

For this, we exploit a comparative advantage of the foundation in general and Discovery & Translational Sciences in particular: the ability to invest in high-risk initiatives with potential for truly disruptive change.

When possible, we aim to foster the generation of more deliverable, scalable, and sustainable versions of extant interventions. When not, we aim to drive the discovery and development of transformational advances toward impact that would otherwise not be possible.

Key functions in support of this mission include the continuous surveying of an ever-changing scientific and technological innovation space; the catalyzing and harnessing of cutting-edge technologies both for specific initiatives and for the development of platforms that can provide cross-cutting support to drug, vaccine, and biologics discovery and translation; and the fostering of an effective ecosystem of global health innovation, funding, and partnership.

Our scope of work ranges from knowledge generation to proof-of-concept studies in humans (or the equivalent).

We are organized into six domains: Drugs, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Reproductive Health Technologies, Translational Sciences, Discovery Hubs & Network, and Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges.

Our Discovery & Translational Sciences strategy is led by Chris Karp, director, and is part of the foundation’s Global Health Division.

The mission of the Discovery & Translational Sciences team is to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health and development inequity. As such, the primary role of the Discovery & Translational Sciences team is to provide the tools needed to enable the foundation to achieve its bold mission, as articulated in the strategic goals of the foundation’s global programs. For this, we exploit a comparative advantage of the foundation in general and Discovery & Translational Sciences in particular: the ability to invest in high-risk initiatives with potential for truly disruptive change.

The scope of our work covers the range from knowledge generation through proof-of-concept studies in humans (or the equivalent). When possible, we aim to foster the generation of more affordable, deliverable, scalable, and sustainable versions of extant interventions. When not, we aim to drive the discovery and development of transformational advances toward impact that cannot otherwise be achieved. Key functions in support of this mission include the continuous surveying of an ever-changing scientific and technological innovation space; the catalyzing and harnessing of cutting-edge technologies both for specific initiatives and for the development of platforms that can provide cross-cutting support to drug, vaccine, and biologics discovery and translation; and the fostering of an effective ecosystem of global health innovation, funding, and partnership.

We source, sustain, and accelerate innovation and innovative partners in diverse ways, ranging from RFP platforms (the Grand Challenges family of programs) to technology sentinel programs to directly targeted investments in technologies, investigators, and platforms across academia, research institutes, biotech, pharma, and product development partners. We work closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute in the translational space. We place a high value on the continued expansion of a robust, open-science, open-data ecosystem to facilitate much more rapid, data-based decision-making in global health.

Organization

We are organized into six domains: Drugs, led by Ken Duncan; Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, led by Lynda Stuart; Reproductive Health Technologies, led by Kelle Moley; Translational Sciences, led by Jonathan Arm; Discovery Hubs & Network, led by Lynda Stuart; and Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges, led by Kedest Tesfagiorgis.

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