Grand Challenges India seeks nutritional interventions in child health

Kolkata, Oct 23 (IANS) The latest edition of Grand Challenges India (GCI), which aims to boost innovation by Indian researchers through technological advancements, will target nutritional interventions in child health, an official said on Friday.

The GCI was jointly launched by India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.

“The focus for this edition is on nutritional interventions in the area of child health and development,” Renu Swarup, managing director, BIRAC and senior advisor, DBT, told IANS.

“We are looking at innovations for neo-natal care and pre-term babies for children who are less than 1,000 days old,” she said.

Swarup said it would help integrate maternal health with childcare.

The first two grants under GCI focused on “Achieving Healthy Growth through Agriculture and Nutrition” and “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge”. The latest grants under the initiative “All Children Thriving” were awarded in 2015.

As many as 17 researchers and social entrepreneurs across the country are being funded under the partnership.

The aim is to promote innovation aligned with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Under the initiative, the DBT and the Gates Foundation have pledged an investment up to $25 million each, over five years.

Swarup said overall, the challenge seeks to promote and nurture innovations in vaccines, drugs, agricultural products, and interventions related to improving maternal and child health.

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