NIS 5 Million to Be Granted for Innovative Ideas Helping Resolve Global Health Issues and Ensuring Food Safety. Ten Initiatives Will Receive Grants from the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Up to Half a Million Shekels Each
JERUSALEM. JULY 22nd 2015– The Grand Challenges program is an international initiative taking place in countries like the US, Canada, India, Brazil, China and others, aimed at encouraging novel solutions for global food safety and health challenges, with an emphasis on developing countries. The Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and the Prime Minister's Office are launching the second round of Grand Challenges Israel, a competition aimed at encouraging innovative technological or social solutions in food safety and global health, with an emphasis on developing countries. The program promotes Israeli technological innovation in new markets as an expression of Israel's commitment to offering aid to these countries.
Israeli Minister of Economy and Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee Aryeh Machluf Deri: "This exceptional program helps the weakest sectors. Most of the world's population suffers from lack of food and access to fresh water and increased exposure to disease. We invite Israeli entrepreneurs to develop technologies that will improve the quality of life of billions of people around the world."
Developing countries face complex challenges related to under-development, lack of resources, technology, skilled personnel and advanced infrastructure. They require innovative solutions adapted to their complex environment. Israel enjoys a large community of developers and entrepreneurs, focusing mainly on the markets of Western Europe and North America - with extensive knowledge and industrial R&D capabilities in the life sciences in general and public health in particular.
The Israeli Ministry of Economy, through the Office of the Chief Scientist, helps strengthen and broaden the technological base of Israeli industry with a variety of support programs. As part of this support and in light of Israel's international cooperation and assistance programs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ MASHAV agency, the Prime Minister's Office and the Israeli Ministry of Economy have initiated a unique program operated by the Office of the Chief Scientist intended to promote research and development to find technological solutions for health challenges in developing countries - Grand Challenges Israel.
As part of the program, up to NIS 500,000 will be granted to prove the viability of innovative solutions for problems in global health or food safety. The program aims at directing Israeli entrepreneurs to seek solutions for developing markets - markets where urgent solutions are needed on the one hand and which offer large, unrealized business potential for Israeli industrialists and entrepreneurs on the other.
Among the ten initiatives given grants last year: a novel device to diagnose cervical cancer, a tool for diagnosing malaria, innovative water purifiers and affordable wheelchairs for children to enable maximum mobility and access to education.
Israel’s Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson said: “The Israeli segment of the International Grand Challenges competition is an expression of Israel's capabilities in the field of technological innovation, together with the Israel’s world-renowned entrepreneurial spirit. A combination of doing good by helping resolve global challenges and establishing a foothold in new markets with unique consumer demands for the Israeli industry can bring Israeli entrepreneurs vast new business opportunities."
Head of MASHAV at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gil Haskel, said: "This unique program reflects Israel's wish to continue helping developing countries in relevant fields and constitutes the meeting point between Israel's diplomacy and technological innovation."
In light of the complex business environment in developing countries, the Office of the Chief Scientist and MASHAV will help entrepreneurs who show interest in finding compatible partners for the development and implementation of initiatives in developing countries. The criteria for submissions include: Potential effect on the health situation in developing countries - the contribution R&D products can have on health challenges in developing countries; the possibility of implementing developed products in developing countries in order to improve public health, save lives or minimize disability. The product and the technology - a different and original approach, technological viability, advantages over existing solutions, the ability to reach significant milestones within the implementation period and the ability to undertake a realistic R&D program during the implementation period. Quality of personnel - knowledge and experience of applicants in the relevant field, personnel available for attaining the program's goals. Scalability - the existence of a clear plan to implement R&D products to solve health challenges in developing countries on a commercial scale within a reasonable amount of time, including the possibility of fundraising and/or finding compatible partners for continued development and commercialization; and Integrated innovation - combining technological innovation with social and business innovation in a way which can maximize the effect of R&D on health challenges, including cooperation with relevant social initiatives in developing countries.
Applications are welcome from researchers, entrepreneurs, small and medium sized businesses (up to 100 employees), research institutions and NGOs. Submissions found compatible will receive funding at up to 90% of the initiative's approved budget, to a maximum of NIS 500,000 - for proof of concept.
Additional data is available at http://www.grandchallenges.org.il