Bill Gates today announced the launch of the $10m Misk Grand Challenges, a 50/50 grants partnership between the Bill  & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Misk Foundation to  invest into innovations addressing some of the biggest issues facing societies today.

The two will launch a series of Grand Challenges over a period of three years themed around Education and Global Citizenship to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking at the launch of the $10m grants initiative in Riyadh,Saudi Arabia today, Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Through the work of our foundation, I have seen the incredible power of innovation to transform the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. The Misk Grand Challenges will incentivize more of the brightest minds around the world to find the best ideas to solve some of the toughest development challenges.”

The firms also announced the first two Misk Grand Challenges, one on education and the other on global citizenship. The education challenge will call for proposals that provide for new ideas to transform teaching and school leadership to better prepare children with 21st century skills, covering problem solving, leadership, creativity and adaptability.

On the other hand, the global citizenship challenge will call for proposals to engage young people at depth and scale, encouraging them to address one or more of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The Global Goals were launched in 2015 by the United Nations (UN) after being agreed on by all 193 UN member states.

The first Misk Grand Challenge will focus on Goals 1 through 6: No poverty, Zero hunger, Good health and well-being, Quality education, Gender equality and Clean water and sanitation.
A competitive selection process will be open to applicants from around the world and will result in 100 entrants receiving US$100,000 in seed funding to prove their concepts. The most impactful projects will have the opportunity to apply for further funding to implement the ideas across priority locations.

Misk Grand Challenges will directly empower young people by providing them with the research grants necessary to give them the chance to innovate new solutions.

“Tackling global issues demands global partnerships,”  said His Excellency Bader Al Asaker, Secretary General of the Misk Foundation. “This collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an important and essential initiative for the Misk Foundation. A positive future can be shaped by the next generation and the Misk Grand Challenges will act as a vital catalyst in this process.”