Through its grants, the five-year, $100 million initiative aims to foster "creative projects that show great promise to improve the health of people in the developing world," and as part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative is supported by the Gates Foundation.
This latest round of grants brings the total number of Exploration projects receiving funding to 340. Although the group originally anticipated funding roughly 60 projects per round, it is averaging closer to 80.
The foundation reports that the winners come from universities, research institutes, and nonprofits, with research spread across 18 countries on six continents.
The wide range of projects includes a "seek-and-destroy" laser vaccine, cell phone microscopes to diagnose malaria, ultrasound as a reversible male contraceptive, and disposable paper-based diagnostics devices. All project topics from the four rounds are listed here.
"We are convinced that some of these ideas will lead to new innovations and eventually solutions that will save lives," says Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program, in a statement.
The group says round 5 is open for submissions until May 19, and round 6 will open in September. Throughout the initiative, "priority areas of focus" include: enteric and diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and neglected and other infectious diseases. Other areas center on integrated health solutions for: family planning; nutrition; maternal, neonatal, and child health; tobacco control; and vaccine-preventable diseases.