The Stars in Global Health program supports Bold Ideas with Big Impact® from the best and brightest scientists and innovators, both in low- and middle-income countries and in Canada, to address some of the most pressing global health challenges. It provides funding to explore transformative ideas at proof-of-concept that bring together scientific/technical, social and business innovation.
Intolerable inequities in health between high- and lower-income areas in the world persist, as highlighted in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Innovation will be crucial for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and yet, promising innovations are often limited in their ability to achieve scale and sustainability. The goal of Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program is to solve complex global health challenges – like those targeted in the Sustainable Development Goals – by supporting bold ideas with the potential for big impact, resulting in lives saved and/or improved in low- and middle-income countries.
The Stars in Global Health program supports Bold Ideas with Big Impact® from the best and brightest scientists and innovators, both in low- and middle-income countries and in Canada, to address some of the most pressing global health challenges. It provides funding to explore transformative ideas at proof-of-concept that apply Integrated Innovation® – the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation – in order to sustainably bring solutions to scale.
Innovators who complete a minimum of nine months of their Grand Challenges Canada grant, complete their proof-of-concept projects (including a final report) and have solutions that are ready to transition to scale are invited to submit a Transition To Scale Letter of Intent.
Portfolio Results To Date
Through 2016–17, Grand Challenges Canada supported 471 innovations that were implemented in 81 low- and middle-income countries by institutions in 61 countries with $52.1 million CAD over seven rounds of funding. This funding leveraged an additional $68.5 million CAD. Sixty percent of the projects funded through the program are led by innovators in low- and middle-income countries, with the remaining 40 percent led by Canadian innovators who are working with partners in low- and middle-income countries.
Overall, the proportion of Stars in Global Health innovations that attract funding to go to scale is moderately higher than in comparable venture capital models. 19 percent of Stars in Global Health innovations have attracted transition-to-scale investment, which exceeds the 10 percent expected in a venture capital model. Seven percent of these received Transition To Scale funding from Grand Challenges Canada and 12 percent received subsequent funding or uptake by other parties, including non-governmental organizations and local governments.
Expected Success Rate – Venture Capital Model
10 percent expected success rate
Following a venture capital model of approximately 1 in 10 bold ideas going forward
Actual Success Rate – Grand Challenges Canada
19 percent of innovations scaling for impact
Approximately 7 percent scaling through Grand Challenges Canada;
Approximately 12 percent scaling through other channels (Nongovernmental organizations, government, etc.)
Despite the fact that the outcomes of innovation are expected in the future, (that is, not in the first 12–18 months of development that take place during Stars in Global Health funding), the Stars in Global Health program has generated significant early results: