Marquette University announced today that it is the winner of a grant from the Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support a new partnership between Marquette University and the authors of The New York Times Fixes column, called FixesUwhich combines Marquette University’s Social Innovation Initiative with the journalism prowess of New York Times authors David Bornstein (best-selling author of How to Change the World) and Tina Rosenberg (Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Haunted Land).
FixesU will use the grant funds to develop its concept for using solutions-based journalism to encourage understanding about models and investments that support global development.
“It is essential that we take a lead role in accepting the challenge of being innovative and entrepreneurial in pursuing our dreams and the aspirations of the greater community,” said Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Marquette University president. “This unique partnership offers an opportunity to live out our deep commitment to serving others and finding solutions to society’s greatest needs.”
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world’s toughest and persistent global health and development challenges. GCE invests in the early stages of bold ideas that have real potential to help solve the problems people in the developing world face every day. The Marquette University grant is one of more than 80 Grand Challenges Explorations Round nine grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We continue to be impressed by the novelty and innovative spirit of the Grand Challenges Explorations grantees,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “These projects hold real potential to help improve the health of millions of people in the developing world, and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a healthy productive life.”
To receive funding, Marquette University–and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a creative idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and communications. Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10, will be accepted through Nov. 7, 2012.
About FixesU, the new Marquette University–New York Times partnership
FixesU will build the first Wiki-style platform that packages “solutions-journalism” – specifically, the New York Times Fixes columns co-authored by Bornstein and Rosenberg – into mini-case-studies for educators around the world to embed social innovation in, and across, the curriculum. The Gates Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant as initial seed money to the partnership.
Marquette University’s history with social innovation
Social innovation is a field dedicated to finding novel solutions to social problems, often by attacking root causes. Marquette University’s Social Innovation Initiative promotes the field as a powerful tool for interdisciplinary learning and a framework for life. Selected by Ashoka as a Changemaker Campus, alongside Duke University and Arizona State University in 2010, Marquette is among the original 10 members of a consortium that now numbers 19 campuses and includes Middlebury College as well as Brown, Brigham Young, Cornell, George Mason and Tulane universities.
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, more than 700 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US $1 million.