Stars in Global Health

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. 

The Problem

Ensuring good health and well-being is essential to sustainable development, yet intolerable inequities in health between high- and low-income areas in the world persist. Innovation is crucial to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, 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 by supporting bold ideas with the potential for big impact, resulting in improved health and wellbeing for people and communities in low- and middle-income countries.

Our Approach

The Stars in Global Health program is Grand Challenges Canada’s flagship portfolio to test the potential of new pipeline in areas of strategic interest for Grand Challenges Canada and our funders. The platform serves as an opportunity to test new strategies in order to improve the inclusivity and representation of innovations across the organization. It is also a flexible and responsive platform that allows adaptability at each round of funding to meet the most salient development needs.

The Stars program 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. Grand Challenges supports innovators as they iterate on their ideas and develop strategic partnerships that can improve sustainability and achieve meaningful impact.

This approach has resulted in innovations progressing towards scale at rates moderately higher than in comparable venture capital models.

Portfolio Results

Since 2010, the Stars in Global Health portfolio has supported 752 innovations implemented in 86 low- and middle-income countries by institutions in 71 countries with CAD $78.1 million over ten rounds of funding. Of the projects funded through the program, 68% have been led by innovators from low- and middle-income countries, with 39% of the portfolio led by women innovators. In the last 3 rounds of funding, 47% of projects were led by women.

To date, the Stars in Global Health program has generated significant early results:

Funding Opportunities

Since 2019, the program has focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This program is looking for projects that address the following challenge statement:

The Stars program is seeking bold ideas that will improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, adolescents, children and LGBTQI+ people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The bold ideas are expected to improve the access, use and quality of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services and to be resilient to pandemic control measures like those introduced to control COVID-19. Of particular interest to Grand Challenges Canada are innovations that improve responses to sexual- and gender-based violence. 

We highly encourage organizations based in Western and Central Africa, and organizations led by women or non-binary individuals to apply.

Successful proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $100,000 CAD for up to 12 months to develop and test the proposed innovation.

The application submission deadline is now closed. Thank you to all who applied!

Relevant Round 11 Documents (Archived)

Request for Proposals in English
Request for Proposals in French

Frequently Asked Questions in English
Frequently Asked Questions in French

2 Pager | Overview in English
2 Pager | Overview in French

Application questions in English
Application questions in French

NOTE: The application questions are being shared here for ease of reference, but applications MUST be submitted through the Community Portal (Fluxx). Please review the Request for Proposals for additional details.

Applicant Information Session

For those who missed our most recent May information session, you can watch a recording below:

Thanks to all who attended our April applicant information session! You can view a recording of the session below, and access the PowerPoint slides here.