Funding is now available under The Options for Pregnancy Termination Innovation Initiative (“OPTions Initiative”) – a Grand Challenges Canada’s investment program for safe pregnancy termination innovations to support women’s, girls’, and people with diverse sexual and gender identities’ access to safe abortion in low- and middleincome countries.
The OPTions Initiative seeks innovative and transformative approaches that put women, girls, and people with diverse sexual and gender identities in control of where, when, and how they terminate their pregnancy by investing in the development and testing of:
- next generation methods of pregnancy termination (“next generation” innovations).
Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold ideas designed to be implemented in low- and middle-income originating from academic, nonprofit organizations, or for-profit entities, as well as other recognized institutions. The following types of institutions are particularly encouraged to apply:
- Community based organizations and movements
- New and/or unusual entrants to the sexual and reproductive health and rights space that add value and bring new perspectives to the practice of safe abortion
- Institutions that are positioned to introduce novel ways of addressing the problem
- Academic or research institutions (for next generation applicants)
- Youth, woman and/or LGBTQI+-led or serving organizations
- Feminist organizations
- Social enterprises and/or models demonstrating early potential for financial sustainability
Proposed innovations must be bold, innovative, transformational and ‘outside-the-box’, and must have the potential to represent a significant improvement over current access to or methods of safe abortion in either of the following focus area:
- Next Generation Methods: Introducing a next generation method of safe abortion that provides one or more significant improvements over existing methods, including:
- Equal or better effectiveness at terminating pregnancy over existing methods
- Permissive within existing regulatory frameworks (e.g., it has other primary indications)
- Ability for self-administration with greater autonomy and privacy
- Cost effective relative to current safe methods
- Ease of use/compliance (e.g. single pill administration)
- Reduced side effects and pain
- The ability to be effectively administered at later stages in gestation
Please note that this is the target product profile for next generation methods of safe abortion. Both pre-clinical and clinical stage proposals are eligible, and project objectives for the 18-to-24-month grant period will be tailored accordingly.
- Seed Funding: Successful “Access” proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $250,000 CAD and Next Generation Methods” proposals will be awarded seed grants of between $250,000 – $400,000 CAD over 18 to 24 months to develop and test the proposed innovation. Assuming a sufficient number of proposals of merit are received, approximately 30 seed grants will be awarded in this round.Successful “Access” proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $250,000 CAD and Next Generation Methods” proposals will be awarded seed grants of between $250,000 – $400,000 CAD over 18 to 24 months to develop and test the proposed innovation. Assuming a sufficient number of proposals of merit are received, approximately 30 seed grants will be awarded in this round.
- Transition to Scale Funding: A limited number of innovations funded through this RFP will be invited to apply for transition-to-scale funding of up to $3,000,000 CAD, to support the refinement, testing and implementation for scale of innovative solutions that have already achieved proof of concept.
Innovations must ultimately benefit marginalized women, girls and/or people with diverse sexual and gender identities in eligible low- and middle-income countries. Applications that address the needs of people in humanitarian emergencies; in legally restrictive contexts; where abortion is highly stigmatized; and in remote and hard to reach areas, are particularly welcome.
Grand Challenges Canada will screen applications on the basis of the eligibility criteria. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the review process. The eligibility criteria:
- Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and for-profit companies) that:
- are formed and legally incorporated in an eligible country, as determined by the RFP focus area an institution is applying to
- can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area
- are capable of receiving and administering grant funding
- are not sole proprietorships
- are not United Nations country offices
- Institutions must be incorporated as follows:
- Access Applicants: Only institutions legally incorporated in a low- or middleincome country are eligible to apply to the ‘increasing access to existing methods of abortion’ focus area of the RFP.
- Next Generation Methods Applicants: Institutions from all countries, including high-income country institutions, are eligible to apply to the ‘next generation methods of abortion’ focus area of the RFP.
- A project can have only one (1) Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted. The Project Lead should be the person with the highest level of responsibility working directly on the project and will be the point of contact for GCC.
- A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application for this Request for Proposals.
- Each institution may only submit one (1) proposal per focus area of the RFP (i.e., one proposal for innovations that increase access to existing methods of abortion and one proposal for next generation abortion methods). For universities, one (1) proposal per focus area of the RFP will be accepted from each research center within the university.
- Project Leads funded under OPTions Round 1 or 2 are ineligible to submit an application for Round 3; however, institutions funded under Round 1 and/or 2 are eligible to apply (if all eligibility criteria are met) with a different Project Lead.
- Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.
- Proposed ideas must be aligned with the Areas of Focus and the Target Users.
- It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain any necessary legal and/or regulatory approvals, consents or reviews required to accept foreign grant funds and/or conduct the project activities before applying for funding from Grand Challenges Canada.
- Grand Challenges Canada may, at any time and at their sole discretion, modify eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants, Project Leads and/or eligible countries, to the extent that such modifications do not materially undermine the review process
- Grand Challenges Canada must approve any changes in applicant organization, institution, country of implementation or Project Lead from the originally submitted application.
- Project Leads are required to seek and obtain sign-off from their affiliated institution before submitting their application.
- Next generation applicants from high-income countries are highly encouraged to collaborate with an innovator based in a low- or middle-income country, however, this is not a requirement at the proof-of-concept level of investment.
For more information, visit https://optionsinitiative.org/apply/