Saving Brains


As many as 200 million children fail to reach their full potential, and children in poverty have a higher chance of adversity that risks disrupting brain development. This is a devastating waste of human capital that leaves the next generation ill equipped to solve the enormous challenges that lock individuals, communities and societies in poverty.

Grand Challenges Canada is honoured to have Mrs. Laureen Harper serve as Honourary Chair of  Saving Brains.

The challenge is to develop and scale up products, services and policies that protect and nurture early brain development in a sustainable manner, thereby unlocking the potential of the next generation of children and providing their countries with an exit strategy from poverty.

To address this critical challenge, Grand Challenges Canada has developed the Saving Brains program, which promotes the fulfillment of human capital potential by focusing on interventions that nurture and protect early brain development in the first 1,000 days of life.

To date, Grand Challenges Canada has invested $33.7 million in 74 projects and a platform to accelerate progress against the challenge. To learn more about our portfolio of innovations:

Please view the Saving Brains − Information Sheet (PDF).

To learn more about our portfolio of innovations, visit



Request for Proposals − July 2014

In this call for proposals, Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold ideas with real-world impact that also have the potential to be scaled up. To this end, innovative approaches and sound evaluation are expected to test how the intervention should be delivered to reach the highest number of children, how the intervention should be optimized to have the most impact on each child reached, and how to financially sustain this impact at scale.

We expect to fund proposals through two funding streams: seed (up to $250,000 CAD) and transition to scale (up to $1 million CAD in matched funding).

The Saving Brains July 2014 Request for Proposals is now closed, the application deadline was September 8, 2014. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions as outlined in the Request for Proposals.


Archived Request for Proposals



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