Global Grand Challenges in New Approaches to Malaria Control Programme 2021:
Applications are invited for the Global Grand Challenges in New Approaches to Malaria Control Programme 2021. This program is open to candidates with a strong interest in Malaria Control to develop innovative proposals and ideas to fight Malaria. The purpose of this call is therefore to identify new and innovative approaches to integrating malaria molecular surveillance into malaria surveillance and programmatic decision-making in malaria-endemic countries. Candidates from all over the world are welcome to apply.
At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they believe that malaria eradication within a generation is possible. It is recognized that in order to achieve this, National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) must be empowered to use timely, high-quality data to inform their malaria strategic planning, decision-making, program implementation, and evaluation. As they work to sustain the decline in incidence rates that have marked the last fifteen years of malaria control, this concept of data-to-action has never been more important.
Their vision for data-to-action, recently endorsed by WHO’s Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), is one of stratification and sub-national tailoring. In the first step, multiple data sources – from geospatial to epidemiological data – are used to define district-level strata within a country. Next, additional data types are used as the input to mathematical models that output the optimal package of interventions that result in maximum malaria burden reduction within a given resource envelope. The success of stratification and sub-national tailoring is highly dependent on the underlying data, which may not always be complete, high-quality, and / or timely. They are, therefore exploring new data streams that might improve the understanding of factors driving changes in malaria epidemiology or be used to optimize the choice of interventions modelled. One of these new data streams is serological, genetic, and / or genomic data which arises from malaria molecular surveillance.
Malaria Molecular Surveillance (MMS) is an umbrella term which describes the use of molecular biology approaches – from serology to genotyping to whole-genome sequencing (WGS) – to interrogate parasite and/or vector populations to derive epidemiologically actionable information. MMS does not include research-oriented genetic and genomic investigations, such as studies using genomics to investigate parasite or mosquito biology. Rather, the emphasis is on analyses that can directly influence malaria control policy and practice. In addition to the laboratory techniques used, MMS also includes the bioinformatics tools and resources necessary to process, interpret, and share the resulting data.
What they are looking for:
They are looking for innovative proposals that will use MMS data to enable NMCPs to inform their national and sub-national surveillance efforts, national strategic planning, and/or intervention implementation. These may include proposals that: create or expand laboratory, bioinformatics, and data interpretation capacity within NMCPs or at institutions closely affiliated with an NMCP; create or implement tools for communicating and sharing parasite and/or vector molecular surveillance data; and/or build relationships between groups with MMS capacity and NMCP partners. Proposals should target the use cases identified above that are ready or near-to-ready for programmatic deployment. They do not want respondents to be generating MMS data for research purposes; rather, the intent of this call is to support the application of MMS approaches to routine malaria surveillance and planning within NMCPs, Ministries of Health, or similar organizations.
While they welcome respondents from around the world, they are particularly interested in proposals from respondents working in high-burden malaria settings. All proposals must include a principal investigator or co-investigator from a malaria-endemic country.
- Phase I: Up to $100,000 can be won.
- Phase II: Phase I recipients can apply for a follow-on Phase II award of up to $1,000,000.
Winning Proposals need to meet the following criteria:
- Explain the rationale for and potential benefits of using MMS data in their setting.
- Address one or more of the use cases outlined in the Challenge section above.
- Include representation from the NMCP, Ministry of Health (MOH) representation, government agency or healthcare provider responsible for malaria control in the country/region.
- Describe how MMS information arising from the project will be shared with the NMCP, MOH and other key stakeholders.
- Implementing or scaling-up a laboratory assay for hrp2/3 deletion and/or antimalarial drug resistance marker surveillance in partnership with an NMCP.
- Developing a web interface or reporting tool for communicating molecular data to stakeholders who do not have genomics/bioinformatics experience.
- Creating a bioinformatics workflow for MMS data that goes from fastq file to a readable report summarizing the analysis results in a user-friendly way.
- Developing and implementing a training program to familiarize NMCP staff with the use and interpretation of MMS data,
2nd December 2020, 11:30 am PST.
Interested applicants should visit the official link below for more information and apply: