Innovative financing for health: Insights from the Grand Challenges Award Repository

Kenya’s Ugunja Community Resource Center will empower community health volunteers in Western Kenya with field-tested, mobile phone software to individualize early child development care. Photo by: Grand Challenges Canada

A new database managed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing opportunities to better understand priorities for funders supporting innovative health projects.

Years in the making, the Grand Challenges Award Repository provides information on 2,009 projects that have been through funded seven innovative health initiatives since 2005 — including five grand challenges, Saving Brains and Saving Lives at Birth.

To understand how these initiatives are helping the development community in Going for Goals, Devex has analyzed the data and produced a visualization tool to unlock critical insights.

What are the funding priorities?

The Devex analysis of the dataset reveals infectious diseases tops innovative funding support according to the dataset. Since 2005, this sector of development health has received more than $550 million in funding for 1,057 projects providing new and innovative ideas to tackle, prevent and eliminate infectious diseases in the developing world.

Of the diseases the projects aim to support, HIV projects dominate, accounting for 199 projects and almost $100 million in funding since 2005. The peak for HIV projects was in 2011, where 44 were awarded funding. Malaria and tuberculosis projects are also high priorities for funders, according to the data, each receiving $51 million in funding support.

Funding for maternal and child health follows behind infectious diseases in priority, with $136 million in funding since 2005. And a long way behind that are mental health and WASH, both receiving $22 million in support since 2005.

With 1,300 projects in the database managed through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the focus on infectious diseases is unsurprising — it is a high priority for the organization. So far, they have invested $357 million into this area of innovative research.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health has also been an important source of funding for this area, managing $178 million worth of grants for infectious diseases since 2005.

But the dataset also shows that funding in support of innovation is allowing for experimentation and risk. For Grand Challenges Canada, 593 projects were classified as a “proof-of-concept” with 38 classified as “transition-to-scale.” Innovative funding for health is allowing for true innovation and impact of new ideas to be determined.

What is the geographic distribution?

The location of funding recipients shows a large sway toward research from the United States. A total of 771 projects have gone to the U.S., accounting for $393 million in grants. And a massive 86 percent of this goes directly to research and projects for infectious diseases.

The United Kingdom is a long way behind in second, with $93 million in funding followed by Canada with $57 million. Kenyan organizations have secured $34 million in funding and are ranked fourth in recipients, ahead of Germany and Australia.

In looking at the geographic location of projects, India tops the list in both number of projects (98) and funding (almost $20 million) thanks to Grand Challenges India. 2014 was their peak year for funding, with 36 projects accounting for $6 million. Maternal and child health is a focus for India-based projects, accounting for 26 projects and more than $8 million in funding. Close behind are projects responding to infectious disease — 25 projects and more than $4 million in funding.

Kenya and Uganda round out the top three for both number of projects and funding, with projects operating in these countries prioritizing maternal and child health needs within their borders.

Canada is the only western country to make the top 10 — ranked sixth for projects but 15th for funding with Grand Challenges Canada an important source of this.

Additional geographic data is available in the dataset that identifies countries supported by projects, however this is a field that is not predominantly populated within the database and provides only minor insight into impact. It is an area of the dataset that is hoped will be improved over time.

Click here to explore the Grand Challenges Award Repository data through our Tableau data visualization.

The challenge of collecting innovative funding data

Zach Charat, from the global health, discovery and translational sciences with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke to Devex about the purpose, development and future for the data repository — which he describes as been a long and demanding process.

“We wanted to create a data model that was powerful but limited,” he said. “Some of the initial conversations were crazy in terms of the tracking requests we had. But there was no way we could get the community to agree to everything, so we decided to simply focus on what is most useful — a core set of 20 or fewer fields to start with.”

Information within the database is provided by the managing organization of the grants, and the process of tracking funders and getting them to agree to the data fields for inclusion highlighted the issues with data collection on innovative funding.

Where the money goes, where the work is being done and potential beneficiaries are useful pieces of information that are available within the database, but not necessarily populated universally by the data providers.

“Most of the really juicy information is not in there — including outcomes,” Charat said. “But all of the data providers have a relatively clean checkbook, and can at least tell us where the money went.”

And it is still easily the most informative dataset available on innovative health funding, according to Charat. “We’ve got India in there, China in there, Korea in there,” he said. “I need to work on Israel but they only have a dozen. It’s actually quite complete — it is missing a few but if you are working on a dataset for innovative health funding, this is the most complete available.”

And the ease of accessibility to information makes this a valuable dataset for the development sector.

“Now we can answer question on a range of issues related to health funding, including maternal and child health funding,” Charat said. “Previously it would have taken weeks — or you would just have given up.”

What is the next stage for innovating funding data?

Now that the data is available, the priority is to convince the development community it is an important initiative to get behind and add even more value to the data.

“It would be great if each organization could track nuances in their data better, but we are in the early stages of collecting data and are focused on getting them out of the mud to see the value,” Charat said. “If they see value, organizations may look to hire a summer student to do a big clean up and provide more value.”

But there are also a range of options being trialled and tested for dynamic inputs, outputs and analytics.

“Some organizations want a dynamic API to collect their data but others may make a dozen grants per year — their upload process is manual,” Charat explained. “We are working through the development of the API to make it easy for an organization to hook into the dataset.”

Analysis in understanding the next stage of needs is important to progressing the database moving forward. The first generation of users are primarily funders who just want to understand what their colleagues are doing. Charat will be helping to scope the second generation use case of the site to identify and provide future services.

And increased datasets is also a priority in development.

“The next big one we are fishing for is the U.S. Agency for International Development data, particularly Saving Lives at Birth programs that are not currently managed by Gates Foundation or Grand Challenges Canada,” Charat said. “Saving Lives at Birth is a complicated one — even the grantees themselves don’t know who their funder is. It is a split funding disaster. That’s my last frontier in terms of big sets we need.”

For Charat, the possibilities of the stories and successes that can come out of the dataset are endless. “Once you get a good foundation of data, you can go crazy and dream up all sorts of really fun and potential applications,” he said.

[“Source-devex”]

Tokyo 42 Review: Bringing Together the Best of Grand Theft Auto, Monument Valley, and Hotline Miami?

Tokyo 42 Review: Bringing Together the Best of Grand Theft Auto, Monument Valley, and Hotline Miami?

HIGHLIGHTS
Tokyo 42 has you in the role of an assassin
The gameplay is similar to earlier GTAs and Hotline Miami
It’s the debut title from developer SMAC
Tokyo 42 is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. The art direction is reminiscent of Monument Valley, while its open-world and interactions are derived from earlier Grand Theft Auto games, and its combat has a lot in common with Hotline Miami. However the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.

In Tokyo 42, you’re wanted for a murder you didn’t commit. To clear your name, you become an assassin and murder a huge number of people. Video game logic at its finest.

Nonetheless, the irony does little to take away from the gameplay. Tokyo 42’s core loop has you traipsing across a densely layered isometric cityscape replete with neon hues, and civilians going about their routine. You’ll pick out targets assigned to you, kill them, and then proceed to a specified location on the map to complete a mission.

Tokyo42 t DayMultiplayer tokyo_42Tokyo42 t DayMultiplayer tokyo_42

Regardless of your play style, you’re treated to responsive controls and a reactive world that strikes back as hard as you hit it. With weapons ranging from silent kill katanas, to noisy rocket launchers, how you deal with a mission is entirely up to you.

Fire fights evolve into intricate ballets of bullet hell madness akin to R-Type, or Ikaruga, and death is usually instant, with a single hit being enough to have you starting a mission again. Thanks to a wealth of checkpoints disguised as coffee vending machines, you’re never too far from where you left off.

While trying to complete an objective with outright violence rewards agile reflexes, playing Tokyo 42 stealthily demands patience. You’ll learn enemy patterns, how to avoid them, and tip-toe behind your target to land a killing blow. Get spotted by a foe? Just change your skin with the tap of a button, and move to another location.

Tokyo42 Stealth1 tokyo_42Tokyo42 Stealth1 tokyo_42

It sounds simple enough, particularly when you consider that other titles such as Hitman and Dishonored have a similar premise. In fact, it should be downright boring – but it’s not.
The art style may be akin to Monument Valley, but the sheer burst of colours give this interpretation of Tokyo a look of its own. Taking down targets is similar to Hotline Miami, and it never feels frustrating thanks to the game giving you ample opportunities to complete a mission in stealth or guns blazing, while its music has a calming impact on the proceedings. So much so that despite dying multiple times, we never felt anything close to rage. Quite the opposite really, wherein starting where we left off was refreshing, rather than the mental toll other isometric action titles with a high difficulty tend to be.

Throw in pun-laden dialogue and references to the likes of Die Hard, and Blade Runner, and Tokyo 42 is an entertaining romp. The single-player campaign clocks in at five hours, and there’s multiplayer to look forward to as well. This ends up being an elaborate game of cat and mouse, having players build up their arsenal before being spotted by others – throw in the Trackacat – a recon robot trained to sniff out assassins – and you have just the right amount of depth to it across five different maps ranging from crowded marketplaces to open-air surroundings.

Tokyo42 Action1 tokyo_42

Tokyo42 Action1 tokyo_42

It’s hard to believe that Tokyo 42 is the debut title from developer SMAC as its an extremely polished and enjoyable. At $20 on Steam and Xbox Live (approximately Rs. 1,290), it’s well worth a purchase.

Pros:

Responsive controls
Tokyo’s open-world is gorgeous
Gameplay stays fresh
Cons:

Throwaway story
Rating (out of 10): 9

We played a review copy of Tokyo 42 on PC. The game is available on the PC and Xbox One for $20 (around Rs. 1,290). It will be available on the PS4 in July.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Tags: Tokyo 42, Tokyo42, SMAC, Mode 7, PC games, PC gaming, Xbox One

[“Source-ndtv”]

Got a Startup Tech Hardware Product to Sell? Try Grand St.

grand st.10

Grand St. aims to give independent hardware manufacturers a place to sell their products and to test prototypes.

If you’re looking to get any consumer electronic to the marketplace, there’s an arduous process involved. One of the biggest obstacles is getting funding for a venture that could miss the mark. Another is finding customers interested in your product.

Grand St. provides potential solutions for both problems.

Right now, the site is the place to get The Loop, a leather organizer that can charge your iPhone. There’s also a hackable alarm clock kit and an iOS enabled guitar for sale there, now.

Fortune says that the addition of independent manufacturers selling their gadgets on the site has turned it into the Etsy of the electronics world.

grand st.

On the official Grand St. blog, co-founder Amanda Peyton explains:

“Our goal has always been to create a better way for hardware creators to find an audience and get their products to market. For this new version of Grand St. we wanted to create a flexible solution that addressed indie hardware makers at different stages in the development cycle.”

The company says it now has about 200,000 users. And indie gadget makers have three ways to sell their new products through the site:

Consumer Ready

When you’re ready to sell the gadget you’ve created, you can list it through the Grand St. Shop. Grand St. says it previews and must approve any new listing. If a product doesn’t make the cut, Grand St. notifies the maker of its reasons for rejection.

If a product is approved and listed, the site takes an 8 percent commission on all sales. It takes the same commission on Beta sales. These are products that haven’t received any customer feedback and aren’t quite ready for a mass audience.

Beta

A Beta product maker can pick testers for the products and await their feedback. Based on the feedback, Grand St. says the maker of the product can then decide to seek more funding for changes or get the product ready for the marketplace or pre-order sales.

Pre-Order

If a product is within six months of being ready for the marketplace, it can be sold through a pre-order feature on Grand St. The site doesn’t take a commission on those sales and there are no monthly fees linked to selling on Grand St.

Sellers need to handle all their customer service and shipping commitments, the company notes in its seller guidelines.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

The Grand Tour, From Ex-Top Gear hosts, Arrives November on Amazon

The Grand Tour, From Ex-Top Gear hosts, Arrives November on Amazon

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 12 episodes every Friday starting November 18
  • First episode set in California
  • Three series planned for now

The Grand Tour, the new car show from ex-Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, will arrive on Amazon Prime Video come November 18. Unlike other Amazon series that follow the entire series at once format, The Grand Tour will release one episode every Friday for a total of 12 weeks.

A first season order of 12 episodes might seem a bit more than what they used to do in their final years over at Top Gear (mostly 6 episodes or so a series), but then Top Gear has two series in a single year. The Grand Tour is currently on a three-series deal, according to Amazon.

As usual, the three will be traversing the world not just for adventures, but even basing their studio in those locations in front of a live audience. They have already been to South Africa back in July, with shooting about to happen in California later this month, which will also be the first episode. The Grand Tour will also shoot in Germany, the UK, and other parts of the world.

 

The trio were much loved by fans for their goofy antics at Top Gear rather than the factual car programme it’s purported to be – something Amazon doesn’t shy away from in its official description(“Sometimes it’s even a show about cars”). Surprisingly then, the accompanying teaser clip with the launch date announcement focuses on the fun they’re having driving supercars.

Owing to possible legal issues, which arose out of Clarkson punching a Top Gear producer that lead to his exit followed by the other two, Amazon stops short of naming the BBC show in its press release. Meanwhile, the continuation of the Top Gear brand under its new hosts, Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, hasn’t gone as planned for the British broadcaster, with Evans leaving after just one season.

If you can’t wait for November, Clarkson, Hammond, and May have been providing behind the scenes info and jibes at each other (more of the latter) over on their respective Twitter accounts, with a collection on the official account, as production continues. So go scroll through that to pass the time.

Tags: The Grand Tour, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Amazon Video, car show, Top Gear

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]