USAID Announces $30 Million Grand Challenge to Combat Zika and Future Disease Threats

Call for ideas now open; initial focus on improved tools to prevent and respond to Zika

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
USAID Press Office
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: | Twitter: @USAIDPress

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development, calling innovators around the world to submit groundbreaking ideas to enhance our ability to respond to the current Zika outbreak and generate cutting-edge technologies and approaches that better prepare the world to address the disease threats of tomorrow.

In support of the Global Health Security Agenda championed by President Obama, the Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge will invest up to $30 million in groundbreaking innovations and interventions that enhance our ability to prevent, detect, and respond in both the short and long-term by sourcing innovations that mitigate the spread and impact of Zika virus and improve our ability to combat future infectious disease outbreaks. The Challenge specifically calls for solutions that improve and enhance vector control, personal and household protection, surveillance, diagnostics, and community engagement. These will complement USAID's broader efforts, which are focused on mosquito control, educational campaigns about prevention, and maternal and child health interventions.

"To get ahead of infectious diseases like Zika, we need to move quickly to find and scale new tools and transformative solutions," said Gayle Smith, USAID Administrator. "This Grand Challenge will help unlock the scientific and technological advancements needed to accelerate our impact in the fight against Zika virus, and ensure we are better prepared for future public health threats."

Since early in 2016, the Administration has been working to combat Zika, a virus primarily spread by mosquitoes that has been linked to birth defects and other concerning health outcomes.  The United States has been engaged in a whole-of-government strategy that includes efforts like laboratory capacity, the development of diagnostics and vaccines, and mapping the spread of the infection. 

USAID will begin taking applications on April 29, with Zika-focused submissions due by 5 p.m. on May 20, 2016 and all other submissions due by 5 p.m. on June 17, 2016. For more information on the Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge, visit