Dr. Philip James Shaw, BIOTEC Researcher at Protein-Ligand Engineering and Molecular Biology Research Unit, received a $100,000 'Grand Challenges Explorations Grant' from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support his innovative global health research project entitled “A New Tool for Anti-malarial Target Gene Validation.”

Under this project, he will develop a tool for conditional knock-down of gene expression in the P. falciparum malaria parasite. If successful, this tool will accelerate the discovery of new drug and vaccine targets. The main goal of his research team is developing tools to accelerate the discovery of new drug and vaccine targets which will be beneficial to the region.

The initiative is highly competitive, receiving almost 3,000 proposals. Dr. Shaw’s project is one of 76 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the third funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 16 countries on five continents.

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About Grand Challenges Explorations 
Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year, $100 million initiative of the Gates Foundation to promote innovation in global health. The program uses an agile, streamlined grant process – applications are limited to two pages, and preliminary data are not required.  Proposals are reviewed and selected by a committee of foundation staff and external experts, and grant decisions are made within approximately three months of the close of the funding round.

Applications for the next round of Grand Challenges Explorations are being accepted through May 28, 2009. Grant application instructions, including the list of topic areas in which proposals are currently being accepted, are available at the Grand Challenges Explorations website.