Guest Author

Jocalyn Clark is Executive Editor and Scientific Writing Specialist at icddr,b in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She was previously a consultant at Grand Challenges Canada, a Senior Editor at the leading open access medical journal PLOS Medicine, and formerly Assistant Editor at BMJ (British Medical Journal). She teaches in the areas of global health, writing for publication and publication ethics.

Grand Challenges Canada is committed to big impact in global health, offering opportunities for researchers, social enterprises and impact investors to generate measurable and sustainable impact, and to save and improve lives. Often, this means marrying the expertise and passions of innovators in the traditional areas of global health (academic medicine and health sciences) with those in business.


Writing for a business audience can mean changing gear – but it doesn’t have to mean losing speed!

These two areas (global health and business) do not always speak the same language, and it can be challenging for global health scientists and researchers to effectively communicate their ideas, pitches and sustainability plans in a business environment. Most researchers can probably recall a time when business language failed to translate well to the scientific environment. Sometimes, there isn’t time to decipher the jargon fully. Maybe we were too afraid or too shy to ask what it meant.

As part of Grand Challenges Canada’s proposal development resource, summer student Ashley Teo and I developed a glossary of basic business terms in 2013 to help global health researchers easily understand and communicate their innovations to potential funders, investors and scaling partners. We wanted to create a simple, clear and handy list that innovators could use to help with proposal writing and other pitches. Our colleagues at NCIIA, a U.S.-based non-profit that teaches innovation and invention, recently added their contributions to the glossary.

The Glossary of Business Terms for Global Health Entrepreneurs is now available for prospective grantees and innovators to use, download and share.

Connect with the author on Twitter @jocalynclark.We encourage you to post your questions and comments about this blog post on our Facebook page Grand Challenges Canada and on Twitter @gchallenges.