The Newest Grand Challenge

November 21, 2007

Today a new Grand Challenges initiative is being announced in Nature on priorities for dealing with chronic noncommunicable diseases in the developing world.

This Grand Challenges is different from the more familiar - and more lucrative - Grand Challenges in Global Health announced by the Gates Foundation in 2003 and fueled by $450 million to be doled out to scientists with daring ideas. Alas, this one has no money, no Foundation, no benefactor. Indeed, it is a kind of reverse Grand Challenge, as it consists of scientists telling us what needs to be done to address chronic NCDs and hoping that someone will pony up the money to do it. Twenty top ideas have been distilled from the original list of 1,854 ideas presented to deal with chronic NCDs by 155 scientists and others from 50 countries. The first idea is raise the political priority of chronic NCDs. That is a challenge indeed and this initiative is just the start.


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