Discovery & Translational Sciences

Our goal
To catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformational solutions to global health inequity.

At a glance

  • We accelerate progress toward the foundation’s bold global health goals by exploiting a comparative advantage of the foundation and our team in particular: the ability to invest in initiatives with a high risk of failure but also the potential to create truly disruptive change.
  • We fund the discovery and translation of potentially transformative products, including vaccines, biologics, drugs, and microbiome interventions; the development of cross-cutting technology platforms that support product discovery and translation; the de-risking of novel technologies (for both products and supporting platforms); and research to fill key gaps in biological understanding.

The latest updates on discovery & translational sciences

Kedest Tesfagiorgis Deputy Director, Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation delivers opening remarks at Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2019 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 28, 2019.

How to solve tough global health problems? Build community.

The leader of Grand Challenges shares how the initiative funds 4,000 research teams to advance some of the coolest science happening today.
By Kedest Tesfagiorgis Deputy Director, Global Partnerships and Grand Challenges, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
A young girl studies under a mosquito net in West Bengal, India.

Monoclonal antibodies were effective in treating COVID-19. They can do more.

Monoclonal antibodies offer promise well beyond treating COVID-19 as a potential game changer in fighting malaria, HIV, and other infectious diseases.
By Jacqueline Kirchner Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Inside Cape Town International Airport in South Africa soon after the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID and the imposition of many bans on travel from southern Africa.

Southern Africa: Last in line for vaccines, first in line for travel bans

Instead of reacting to the identification of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 with travel bans and fear, the world should be lauding southern African scientists, investing in their research capacity, and addressing vast inequities in vaccine distribution.
By Cheikh Oumar Seydi Director, Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Our strategy

Our strategy

Our mission is to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health inequity. We pursue this by accelerating the discovery and translation of products that will help achieve the foundation’s global health impact goals.

In addition to funding a pipeline of products, we provide complementary funding to develop cross-cutting technology platforms that support product discovery and translation; de-risk novel technologies (for both products and supporting platforms); and fill key gaps in biological understanding (focusing on critical gaps not filled by blue-sky science funded by others). This work requires broad and deep technical expertise, constant surveying of the rapidly changing scientific and technological innovation landscape, and providing access to and transfer of cutting-edge technology platforms to effective partners across the discovery-translation-development ecosystem in high-, middle-, and low-income countries alike.

Our work is organized into the following domains:

  • Two tool-focused domains (Drugs; Vaccines & Biologics) and one topic-focused domain (Reproductive Health Technologies) that focus on our core pipeline of interventional product candidates.
  • Three functional domains that support and accelerate the above work: Translational Sciences, which works to accelerate translation of products and technologies to maximize their potential impact; the Global Health Discovery Collaboratory, which provides foundation grantees with access to best-in-class technologies and platforms and fosters a collaborative network of centers of excellence, technology platforms, and grantees; and Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges, which focuses on global health innovation sourcing and ecosystem support, particularly for priority low- and middle-income countries.

We source, sustain, and accelerate innovations and innovative partners in diverse ways, ranging from request for proposal platforms (the Grand Challenges family of initiatives) to directly targeted investments in technologies, investigators, and platforms across academia, research institutes, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and product development partners. We also work closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute.

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.

Our partners

We work closely with academics around the globe, who are a source of much cutting-edge innovation. This often involves recruiting superb scientists from other fields to bring fresh approaches and novel technologies to global health problems. We also work closely with the biotechnology sector, engage closely with pharmaceutical companies on both discovery and clinical applications, engage with diverse product development partners, and partner with the Gates Medical Research Institute. Where possible, we seek areas of alignment and collaboration with other major global health research and development funders.

Our Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges domain works with the global community of Grand Challenges partner organizations.

The Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator at year 10: what have we learned?

The Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator, an experiment designed to facilitate collaboration in tuberculosis drug discovery by breaking down barriers between competing labs and institutions, has reached the 10-year mark. We review the consortium’s achievements, advantages, and limitations and advocate for the application of similar models to other diseases.

Learn more

Strategy leadership

Strategy leadership

Our partners

Our partners

We work closely with academics around the globe, who are a source of much cutting-edge innovation. This often involves recruiting superb scientists from other fields to bring fresh approaches and novel technologies to global health problems. We also work closely with the biotechnology sector, engage closely with pharmaceutical companies on both discovery and clinical applications, engage with diverse product development partners, and partner with the Gates Medical Research Institute. Where possible, we seek areas of alignment and collaboration with other major global health research and development funders.

Our Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges domain works with the global community of Grand Challenges partner organizations.

Brazilian Ministry of Health
Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
Grand Challenges Canada
India Department of Biotechnology
Wellcome Trust