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International Development Research @ Cambridge


To find a game changing, universal solution to all these challenges, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Page Family are launching the "Universal Influenza Vaccine Development Grand Challenge" during the centenary year of the 1918 flu pandemic. The goal of this Grand Challenge is to identify novel, transformative concepts that will lead to development of universal influenza vaccines for at least three to five years.


We seek to fund ideas that are bold and innovative, bridging the funding 'valley of death' to translate these novel approaches into products ready for human clinical trials. We also aim to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas from outside the traditional influenza research community. Third, we seek completely transformative approaches rather than incremental research.

We hope this Grand Challenge will stimulate creative thinking beyond the traditional influenza community. Fundamentally, we are looking for unconventional approaches that effectively drive or harness immune responses in desired ways and develop universal influenza vaccines that are ready to start clinical trials by 2021.

Most importantly, new vaccines should have the potential to be used in all age groups around the world, especially in developing countries. We are looking for affordable, effective vaccines that are suitable for delivery through existing immunization programs in-country. The vaccines need to be broadly protective across Influenza A and B strains for a minimum of three to five years. Technologies will need to be scalable to meet worldwide demand.


We are looking for proposals that:

  • Engage scientists across a variety of disciplines, including those new to the influenza field
  • Demonstrate innovative thinking by incorporating concepts or technologies not currently being used within/addressed by the influenza vaccine field
  • Present concepts and strategies that are “off the beaten track,” significantly radical in conception, and daring in premise.

Funding level

pilot awards of up to USD $2 million over 2 years

full awards up to USD $10 million to fund IND-enabling and clinical studies on demonstration of promising proof-of-concept data (e.g., from animal models).


For full details on this funding opportunity, please see here.

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


Join the Strategic Research Initiative

Register to Cambridge Global Challenges here.


Learn about the support we provide 

Information on how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research is shared here.


Contact us

Programme Manager (Sara Serradas Duarte):​