Deadline: October 23rd 2023 | African Public Health Decision Making for Health and Disease Modelling
In order to address certain research problems, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Wellcome are looking for suggestions for creative, excellent modelling initiatives.
boosting communication among African modelling schools.
expanding the ecosystem of African modelling.
speeding the conversion of modelling results into actionable programmatic and policy effects.
- They are searching for initiatives that will accomplish the following goals over a period of three to five years:
- Increase scientific knowledge of important public health priority areas and use modelling outcomes to guide local, regional, or continental health officials’ and agencies’ decision-making.
- Create, put into use, and/or enhance tools, procedures, and techniques that make it possible to apply modelling to support public health decision-making.
- By working together on projects, strengthen ties between African modelling organisations, data partners (such as data scientists and collectors), and officials and organisations responsible for making policy and decisions. With co-creation of the analytical questions, analysis strategies, and output communication, such collaboration should have an impact on programmes.
- Create and carry out South-South collaborative activities to encourage information sharing, foster alliances between modelling units, and advance modeling’s application in health systems.
- Use community standards for open research, such as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles when applicable, to help build reliable data science and foster collaboration both within and outside of funded projects.
Amount and Range of the Proposed Work
- In order to accomplish the overall programme goals, Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) will work together. However, depending on the size and breadth of the proposed study, successful applications will either receive awards through Wellcome or BMGF. You must specify whether your proposal is being submitted to Wellcome (Option A) or BMGF (Option B) when submitting your application.
- Alternative A: Wellcome-funded
For each award, Wellcome anticipates funding requests of up to £3,000,000 GBP over the course of three to five years. The proposals must show that at least 70% of the money will go to institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), with at least 50% of the funds going to institutions in Africa. Institutions from high-income countries (HICs) may be included in proposals. However, HIC institutions may receive no more than 30% of the project costs.
- The focus of Wellcome is on vector-borne illnesses, which have a heavy burden in Africa and cause significant morbidity. This encompasses a variety of illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes and snails, which act as vectors (or intermediate hosts). Environmental change can affect how these illnesses’ transmission vectors are distributed. For instance, as temperatures rise, mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit travel farther out. This is a result of climate change.
- The following illnesses must be a primary focus of proposals: schistosomiasis, dengue, yellow fever, zika, malaria, and chikungunya. The following, or at least one of them, must be covered in proposals:
- Environmental change: Modelling to comprehend the impact of i) direct climatic factors (e.g., temperature, rainfall, short- and long-term climate change) and/or ii) indirect environmental factors (e.g., population movement, landscape change) on the burden and spread of the focus diseases (e.g., vector spread, behaviour, ability to transmit disease), and implications for control.
- Identifying impediments to the implementation and uptake of interventions for the priority diseases. Control interventions: Modelling to (i) determine optimal use of existing and innovative interventions (including combinations of interventions and assessment of resistance to interventions where relevant).
- Alternative B: BMGF-funded
- For each award, the BMGF anticipates funding requests up to $1,000,000 USD over a period of three to five years. The support for African institutions must account for at least 80% of the funding, according to the proposals. Other regional institutions may be included in proposals. The money for the initiative may, however, only allocate 20% to organisations outside of Africa.
- In addition to addressing one or more of the following thematic areas of focus, proposals to BMGF may also touch on other issues connected to understanding the burden of disease that are in line with regional priorities. The use of artificial intelligence (especially big language models) to increase data management, modelling techniques, and project findings communication is encouraged in all applications. It is also recommended for proposals to show how their techniques might close a gender gap or other issue related to the chosen public health theme OR expand awareness and understanding of gender obstacles in modelling.
- One or more of the following thematic areas should be covered in proposals.
- HIV, encompassing the investigation of problems involving several pathogens or multiple systems, such as how HIV interacts with family planning, non-communicable diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- trachoma), addressing the issues of how to target interventions, evaluate new and potential interventions, and assess risk of resurgence once an intervention is stopped. Neglected tropical diseases (human African trypanosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis, Guinea worm, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth, and schistosomiasis) are also covered.
- Climate change and malaria: Investigating the relationship between climate change and the ecology and/or epidemiology of malaria vectors; this may also involve modelling the anticipated influence of climate change on the effectiveness of malaria intervention.
- Defining the ideal features and deploying novel products and product classes, as well as evaluating the cost-effectiveness of existing interventions, are all aspects of malaria control interventions that should be included in the content of a national strategic plan.
- Hepatitis A and/or E, typhoid, and other invasive Salmonelloses are examples of enteric and diarrheal infections. Understanding disease transmission, the local, regional, and global burden of disease, anticipating the pathogen burden, the economic and public health effects of vaccination, combining vaccination with other prevention and control measures, or selecting the right vaccine for the best results.
- Provision of primary health care (PHC) services and administration: Using modelling techniques to optimise health structures and inputs (finance, infrastructure, supplies, staff, and information systems) for better service delivery that better addresses population health requirements and has a positive influence on PHC system results. Utilise the data that is now available to inform modelling techniques to support national, regional, and/or facility decision-making in order to maximise the health inputs that are currently available for equitable, high-quality PHC service readiness and delivery. This theme may be the main focus or be included in other themed activities such as routine vaccination, HIV testing, or PHC care for malaria.
- Newborn and maternal health: Investigating interactions within and across the health system at critical points of care (e.g., antenatal care, in-facility delivery, newborn intensive care units) and quantifying the epidemiology of conditions and intergenerational risk factors linking maternal and fetal/newborn health.
- Nutrition: Decision-makers can use modelling to help them establish priorities for the most economical ways to improve micronutrient status. For instance, determining how fortified items (such as staples and sauces) contribute to increased nutrient intake.
- Planning and policy for vaccination programmes: However, those focused on measles, HPV, and/or zero-dose communities (those completely unreached by routine immunisation) would receive the highest priority. The scope can comprise the entire extended programme on immunisation (EPI).
- climate and environmental change’s effects on population movement, the spread and burden of diseases like HIV, TB, malaria, and enteric and diarrheal illnesses, as well as the planning of primary healthcare and immunisation services.
- Africa must be the home of the primary applicant and their institutions. They especially welcome applications from projects or organisations run by women.
- Regarding budget distribution for African institutions as opposed to those in other areas, proposals must adhere to the instructions for Options A and B.
- Any level of a researcher’s career may apply for this RFP. Early- and mid-career investigator-led applications are encouraged.
- Candidates must possess the expertise necessary to direct and oversee a research programme addressing the desired topic area(s).
- Researchers may participate in this funding opportunity as lead applicants on a single application, co-applicants, or collaborators on numerous projects. Researchers who are co-applicants or collaborators on numerous proposals must be able to show that, in the event that all of their studies receive funding, they will be able to devote the necessary time and resources to each one.
- In addition, Lead candidates must have a long-term rolling contract that is permanent, open-ended, or long-term for the length of the grant for projects supported only through the Wellcome programme.
- The ability to devote at least 20% of one’s time to this project is required of lead applicants and co-applicants.
- Lead applicants must work for an organisation that is qualified to administer grants and can agree to the grant’s terms and financing guidelines.
- A person is only permitted to hold a certain number of active Wellcome prizes at once (depending on career stage). Please consult the relevant instructions.
- There can only be eight co-applicants per proposal. The number of contributors to an application is unrestricted, but the added value must be obvious. Collaboration does not need a time commitment of any kind.
- Co-applicants are not required to have a long-term, open-ended, or permanent rolling contract at their administering institution, but they must have a guarantee of space from their host institution for the period of their commitment to the award.
- Co-applicants cannot be based in the People’s Republic of China.
- If applicants want to carry out projects that require transferring grant money into mainland China, they cannot apply.
- They won’t take into account proposals for funding if they: Don’t specifically address the central goals and at least one of the areas of focus identified by each funding organisation.
- Don’t have Lead Applicants (and their institutions) in Africa leading them.
- Neither have they included a plan to engage local and/or regional decision-/policy makers.
- Don’t show a decision-making process that has an ongoing impact on public health.
- Do not clearly show a commitment to open science and making their results, procedures, and/or instruments available and reusable, where possible.
- Are generally focused on educational or training initiatives.
- are submitted by groups who have no intention of working with the other projects sponsored by this RFP.
- Initiatives must have a significant modelling component and not just be focused on collecting raw data.
- Conduct clinical trials or randomised control trials as much as possible.
- Cannot be finished in a 5-year project timeframe.
For more information, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.