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, SB_OnePager_ThumbnailGrand Challenges Canada has invested $28 million in 44 projects and a platform to accelerate progress against the challenge. For more information, see the Saving Brains portfolio overview.


Request for Proposals

In this call for proposals, Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold ideas for products, services, policies and implementation models that protect and nurture early brain development in a sustainable manner. Proposals must provide innovative solutions relevant to low-resource settings in low- or middle-income countries.

The total funding available to support this competition is up to $6.8 million CAD. 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).

This Request for Proposals is being reissued on November 12, 2013, to mark the partnership between Grand Challenges Canada, the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, which extends eligibility for seed grants (up to three may be awarded) to Brazilian innovators proposing integrated approaches to support early childhood development. This new partnership is in association with Grand Challenges Brazil, an initiative of the Brazil Ministry of Health.

Saving Brains Partners

This Request for Proposals is being reissued on November 20, 2013, to reflect a change in our indirect costs policy. The maximum allowable Indirect Costs rate is now 12% of all Direct Research Costs.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE: January 16, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. ET


Archived Request for Proposals



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