We use rigorous due diligence to evaluate all proposed innovation projects as well as to monitor and assess funded innovations. All proposed innovation projects are evaluated by independent peer reviewers and must meet an excellence standard in order to received funding. After innovation projects are selected we assess a range of additional factors, including business and legal aspects, and we identify and work with innovators to manage and mitigate key risks.

Proposed innovation projects are assessed using processes that rely on experienced and knowledgeable independent peer reviewers against the evaluation criteria set out in publicly posted Requests for Proposals. These rigorous processes ensure that projects are selected and funded strictly on merit. Key elements of the processes include:

  1. Eligibility screen by GCC of application materials based on eligibility criteria listed in the RFP
  2. Innovation screen by GCC, funding partners, and representatives of communities core to the work based on innovation and relevance criteria listed in the RFP
  3. Peer review by individuals with relevant science, technology, social and business expertise, life experience and/or context based on evaluation criteria listed in the RFP, resulting in a ranked list of innovation projects (seed funding and Transition to Scale funding)
  4. Investment Committee funding recommendation (for Transition to Scale) via an assessment of investment memo drafted by GCC staff, in consultation with applying innovator, based on evaluation criteria listed in the RFP
  5. Indigenous Innovation Council approval (for Indigenous Innovation Initiative) of ranked list of innovation projects selected for funding
  6. Funding partner vetting (where relevant) from collaborators who funded GCC on past risks related to selected innovation projects and/or from institutions who help to minimize financial risk to GCC
  7. Grand Challenges Canada Board approval of total funding envelope and ranked list of innovation projects selected for funding

After innovation projects are selected for funding we assess a range of additional factors, including business and legal aspects. We identify and work with innovators to manage and mitigate key risks. Key elements of our due diligence approach include the following:

  1. Financial due diligence, including Organization Capacity Building and Institutional Risk Assessments
  2. Legal due diligence, including Anti-Terrorism Checks (where appropriate)
  3. Programmatic due diligence, including the use of a milestone-based funding approach

Once a project is underway projects are monitored through:

  1. Regular (quarterly or bi-annual) financial reports
  2. Program and impact reports
  3. Financial milestone reviews
  4. Spot check audits

At completion, Grand Challenges Canada undertakes additional due diligence, over and above the ongoing due diligence outlined above, before a financial holdback is released, including:

  1. Creation and approval of an Asset Disposal Plan (if needed)
  2. Review of Life-to-date General Ledger (including sub-grantee general ledgers)

As set out in our Conflict of Interest Policy as well as the Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy, Grand Challenges Canada is committed to the highest levels of integrity; it is expected that all GCC stakeholders, internal and external, will act in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny and that will foster public confidence. In particular, internal stakeholders (e.g., staff, members of the Board of Directors) will conduct themselves and perform their duties in a manner that reflects the mission, vision and values of Grand Challenges Canada.

The general rule is that: GCC stakeholders are obligated to avoid, if possible, and disclose any financial or personal conflicts of interest involving Grand Challenges Canada, and address them appropriately.

Internal stakeholders, including senior management as well as Board and Committee members, must also submit a ‘Conflict of Interest and Policy Compliance Questionnaire’ on an annual basis, or if a change in circumstance arises.

All employees must follow policies and procedures with respect to workplace culture, health and safety, among others, as set out by Grand Challenges Canada and the University Health Network. All stakeholders must follow Grand Challenges Canada’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy. This document sets how breaches of the code can be reported confidentially (i.e., whistleblowing procedure).

Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Policy
Contracting and Procurement Policy
Travel Policy

Grand Challenges Canada is predominantly funded by the Government of Canada and other public funders. Our financial statements are publicly disclosed and independently audited. Annual reports, audited financial statements and third-party evaluations are all available on our website.

Annual Reports

Grand Challenges Canada’s annual reports present our financial statements and results. They also profile GCC-funded innovators and highlight key projects and achievements.

As an organization that stewards public funds, we believe deeply in the importance of broadly sharing our progress and results, and the lessons we are learning. Our annual reports also provide an opportunity for us to reflect on the past year – on innovators who are making a difference, on our growing and maturing team.

Annual Report 2019 – 2020
Annual Report 2018 – 2019
Annual Report 2017 – 2018
Annual Report 2016 – 2017
Annual Report 2015 – 2016
Annual Report 2014 – 2015
Annual Report 2013 – 2014
Annual Report 2012 – 2013
Biennial Report 2010 – 2012

Financial Statements

Financial Statement 2019 – 2020
Financial Statement 2018 – 2019

For financial statements from previous fiscal years, please see the Finance section of the respective Annual Report outlined above.


At Grand Challenges Canada, we take an evidence-based approach to development innovation to save and improve lives in low- and middle-income countries. We are pleased to share independent assessments that assess the impact and value of our work.

Formative Evaluation of the Innovation Platform for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IP4MNCH)

Global Affairs Canada commissioned a formative evaluation of the Innovation Platform for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IP4MNCH). Among its key conclusions:

“GCC takes an innovator-centred approach, tailoring the support provided to innovators based on their stage of development and capacity, improving relevance to their needs and priorities. The investment approach contributes to bridging the “pioneer gap” (i.e., the burden shouldered by organizations pioneering new models in the early stages of growth not considered investable by many impact investors) by deploying capital that is targeted, flexible and patient. Funding and technical support provided by GCC is highly relevant to innovators’ needs and priorities, particularly due to focused investment in LMICs, with room to improve funding vehicles and structure, and greater technical support at PoC.”

Formative Evaluation of the Innovation Platform for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IP4MNCH)

Summative Evaluations

The Summative Evaluation of the Development Innovation Fund in Health (DIF-H) was conducted by an independent evaluator and commissioned by the Government of Canada through the Evaluation Office of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Grand Challenges Canada is the delivery vehicle of DIF-H, in a consortium with IDRC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The evaluation found that:

The Government of Canada’s investment in DIF-H has provided value for money. Investing in DIF-H remains relevant and DIF-H has produced significant results.”

It also concluded that:

It is our independent assessment that the Government of Canada (by action of IDRC, CIHR, and GCC) has demonstrated international leadership in the use of science and human creativity to improve the health of those who need it most.”

Summative Evaluation of the Development Innovation Fund – Health

International Expert Panel Review

The Report of the International Expert Panel review of Grand Challenges Canada, chaired by Marie-Lucie Morin, found that:

GCC’s programs have met identified global health needs, particularly in maternal, newborn and child health and global mental health […] GCC has already achieved significant outcomes, for which the ultimate impact will be fully realized in the next phase of operations. The Panel also recognized GCC’s role in four additional areas: promoting Canadian leadership in development innovation, stimulating innovation in LMICs, developing new models of social finance, and focusing attention on critical health challenges.”

Report of the International Expert Panel review of Grand Challenges Canada