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Los Angeles, CA – The UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Claire Dillavou, a student pursuing her PhD in epidemiology will pursue an innovative global health and development research project to develop compostable packing for vaccines.
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Claire Dillavou’s project is one of over 100 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re excited to provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact.”
To receive funding, Claire Dillavou and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and nutrition. Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9, will be accepted through May 15, 2012.
To directly address the environmental impact of immunization program waste, Claire proposed the development of compostable vaccine packaging. The confluence of increasing populations requiring vaccination, little infrastructure for waste removal or less available space for landfills and dumps, and the rollout of new vaccines, makes waste management an important problem with little current investment. Low- and lower middle-income countries typically absorb waste management costs without proper quantification and understanding of the short and long-term environmental and financial impacts. The project will identify candidate materials for compostable packaging for a single vaccine for a first step proof of concept. She is working closely with Dr. John Clemens, a world renowned expert in vaccine development and evaluation in developing countries and the founding director of the UCLA Center for Global Infectious Diseases based in the Fielding School of Public Health.
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 600 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public’s health by conducting innovative research; training future leaders and health professionals; translating research into policy and practice; and serving local, national and international communities.