Through a rigorous review process, we will identify and support transformational, scalable approaches that advance equity and quality of care to dramatically – and sustainably – reduce deaths and poor birth outcomes for vulnerable women and newborns in the hardest to reach communities of the world. These audacious but achievable ideas with the potential for high-return will be swiftly funded through one of three streams:
  1. Seed Funds to develop and assess the feasibility of innovative ideas,
  2. Validation Funds to introduce and validate the effectiveness of innovations to reach proof-of-concept, and
  3. Transition Funds to transition innovations with demonstrated proof-of-concept toward scale up.
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CLOSEDFeb 24, 2017Deadline
Up to 4 yearsDuration(Months)

Mandatory Requirements

StageStage 3: Proof of Concept
Implemented In:
RegionAfrica, Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America / Caribbean, North America and Middle East and North Africa
Focus AreasHealth
Maternal Newborn and Child Health (Health)
Non-communicable Diseases (Health)
Monitoring & Evaluation
Social and Behavior Change
Proposed solutions for validation funds may have been preliminarily tested, but should not be current standard practice. However, innovative variations that aim to demonstrate superiority to existing approaches will be considered (e.g., a new means to deliver an existing service or a new way to make an old model demonstrably more effective or cost effective).

Previous Saving Lives at Birth seed awardees are eligible to apply. However, applicants do not need a previous seed award to be eligible for validation funds

Projects for transition funds must have strong evidence of proof of concept and demand for the solution to warrant expanded support. Submissions must provide sufficient and credible evidence to demonstrate their proof of concept and the link to positive impact on maternal and newborn health that could be sustained and scaled. Without sufficient evidence, prospective partners should consider submitting an expression of interest for another type of award (seed or validation). Demand for the solution by target users and/or local partners must also be demonstrated. Successful applicants will note integration into country programs, policies, and priorities. Transition Funds will be limited to integrated solutions only (approaches that integrate science and technology, service delivery, and demand creation domains in innovative ways). Note that components should be integrated in a meaningful and complementary manner, merely combining three stand-alone components into one project is not considered an integrated solution. A key component of achieving sustainability and scale is partnerships. Reviewers will look for partnerships that contribute expertise relevant to the scale and sustainability of the idea. Co-funding and/or matched funding from partners is highly encouraged, as this demonstrates a key stake in project success by project partners, as well as demand for the solution

Other Requirements

Target BeneficiariesGroundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, hard-to-reach communities around the time of childbirth.
Planned Usage of FundsInterventions that:
• Substantially increase demand for and access to primary health interventions for women and newborns;
• Substantially improve the quality of care as measured by health outcomes; and
• Improve and sustain healthy behaviors, attitudes, and practices.

Solutions should be creative, appropriate, competitive, impactful, sustainable, scaleable and measureable.
OtherWe are interested in novel innovations in any of the following areas, but not limited to:
• Promoting healthy behaviors and generation of demand for services, including voluntary timing and spacing of pregnancy
• Preventing and addressing the consequences of preterm birth
• Increasing access to and sustained use of evidence-based, appropriate, quality care
• Addressing key health system bottlenecks that have an outsized impact on maternal and newborn health services with particular emphasis on improving referral and transportation of mothers with complications and sick newborns, including links to facilities
• Addressing underlying gender, social and cultural barriers and/or opportunities
• Assessing and addressing the challenges of approaches or technologies proven to work in high-income settings but unproven in low-income settings such as antenatal steroids, progesterone, etc.

Application Directions

How It Works Six partners - USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, DFID, and KOICA - came together to support this single challenge. The World Bank is also an affiliate of this program. Projects will be jointly selected through a unified application process. Successful innovators will be managed independently by one of two partners and funded and supported collectively as acommunity of innovatorsby all six partners. Building a Community of Innovators Partners will work with this community to foster learning and continued innovation. Awardees will receive support and networking assistance from each of the partners, engage with other innovators, and participate in high-level meetings including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Grand Challenge meetings. Types of Awards We will invest in a portfolio of projects. Through this portfolio, we will seek groundbreaking innovations by providing:
  • Seed Fundsto support the development and validation of ideas capable of impacting health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies in low-resource settings,
  • Validation Fundsto introduce and validate the effectiveness of innovations to reach proof-of-concept, and
  • Transition to Scale Fundsto develop, refine, and rigoursly test the impact ofintegrated solutions that have previously measured promising health outcomes in a controlled or limited setting and have the potential to credibly scale to improve the lives of millions of pregnant women and newborns in multiple countries. Transition funding is limited to integrated solutions that unite technology, service delivery, and demand.
Key Features
  • A brief application.
  • Rapid turnaround time. We aim to select awards within 5 months from the proposal submission deadline.
  • Opportunities for shared learning and collaboration among innovators, funders and other public health experts.
  • A review process designed to identify potentially groundbreaking ideas that show great promise.
What We’re Looking For Interventions that:
  • Substantially increase demand for and access to primary health interventions for women and newborns (for example, by at least 50 percent for interventions with low coverage);
  • Substantially improve the quality of care as measured by health outcomes; and
  • Improve and sustain healthy behavior.
Solutions Should
  • Be "off the beaten track," daring in premise, and clearly differentiated from standard practice;
  • Enhance uptake, acceptability and provide forsustained use(potential for sustainability as defined as cost-recovery, sustained use, and sustainable impact);
  • Below-costor highly cost-effective solutions;
  • Have a strong likelihood of achieving asubstantial impacton one or more important adverse maternal, fetal, or neonatal health conditions;
  • Bescalablein resource-poor settings;
  • Be able to bemonitored, measured and evaluated.

All EOI must be written in English. EOI should be written clearly and with minimal jargon as reviewers will possess a variety of backgrounds and technical expertise.
• The EOI must be no longer than 3 pages. Any charts or tables included with 8 Submission and Review Process and Timeline the EOI will be considered within the page limits. References and citations to academic publications or other resources are not required but are encouraged. If included as a separate page as end notes, references and citations are not included in the page limits. Biographical descriptions and letters of support are not included in the stated page limits.
• All EOI must use a standard font no smaller than11-point font with one-inch margins.
• All EOI must be submitted through the online application platform, which can be accessed via the link found



Past Funded Innovations Of Saving Lives at Birth (Round 7)

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