Uni of Adelaide receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Professor Ockie Bosch, in the University's Business School, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Establishing an Evolutionary Learning Laboratory for Labour Saving Innovations for Women Smallholder Farmers".
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Professor Bosch's project is one of over 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
To receive funding, Professor Bosch and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013.
"Women farming degraded land using inefficient farming systems that depend on physical labour is characteristic of agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia," says Professor Bosch. "These farming systems are diverse and often complex and it's evident that no single labour-saving technology, or even a selection of technologies, will provide much impetus for permanent change. Anything new must be fit-for-purpose, not just agriculturally, but also socially, psychologically and culturally. What is neede is 'a new way of thinking' about the whole of the farming system and the interactions between its component parts."
Professor Ockie Bosch and Dr Nam Nguyen, from the Systems Design and Complexity Management Alliance in the University of Adelaide Business School, will establish a systems-based Evolutionary Learning Laboratory in which all stakeholders including woman farmers, policy makers and developers of technological innovations will work together on appropriate strategies and technologies to improve such farming systems.
"Of particular importance is the recognition by the Gates Foundation that complex problems of this nature cannot be solved with traditional linear thinking that leads to 'quick fixes', but require a systems-thinking approach to ensure long-lasting and sustainable outcomes," says Professor Bosch.
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 800 people in more than 50 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organisation. 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.
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