Today, 17 December 2020, the International COVID-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) and Grand Challenges are announcing an open funding call for research studies to accelerate knowledge of COVID-19 through data science.

This pilot initiative has been developed in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges programme, which aims to solve major global challenges in fast, innovative ways. ICODA is the globally coordinated, health data-led research response to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, convened by Health Data Research UK and funded by the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

Applications for the Grand Challenges ICODA COVID-19 Data Science initiative are sought from researchers working in healthcare, academia, industry or charities, and will be accepted from any geography, with applications from lower and middle-income countries particularly welcomed. It seeks projects which cover one of a broad range of areas, including: epidemiology and transmission, vaccines and prophylaxis, infections and prevention, therapeutics and clinical management.

“The Grand Challenge ICODA Data Science initiative offers opportunities for researchers to make significant progress on challenges related to COVID-19 and enable a more effective response to current and future pandemics,” comments Dr Steven Kern, Deputy Director of Quantitative Sciences, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Successful studies must use data to answer important research questions about COVID-19 within a 6- 12month timescale, demonstrating tangible public health impact. Organisations bidding for funds must bring clearly defined data sets, to enable this to be used in the global research response to the pandemic.

Between $25,000-$100,000 is available for each successful study, which must be completed within six to 12 months.  In addition, award winners will have access to resources, technology and processes (with an estimated value of over $150k) from the ICODA team and its partners, as well as opportunities for collaboration across a global researcher community.

To ensure the studies are focused on direct public benefit, each study is expected to demonstrate how they will involve patients and public in the oversight, design and delivery of the project, following a set of principles for open and responsible data sharing and global collaboration.

Award winners will join ICODA’s ambitious programme of work to unite international health data science to enable discoveries that benefit everyone, everywhere. Its aim is to reduce the harm of COVID-19 and enable an efficient data response to future pandemics and other global health challenges.

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK and Chair of ICODA, emphasises: “This new initiative will enable data scientists to collaborate and address major research challenges associated with COVID-19, build global communities and use ICODA’s workbench and tools to achieve major scientific progress and impact.”

For further information about the Grand Challenges ICODA initiative and to apply please visit our website here.

The closing date for applications is 24:00 GMT/UTC on Tuesday 19 January 2021.



For further information and requests for interview, contact:

Davide Scalenghe, International COVID-19 Data Alliance / Health Data Research UK, +44 7469321048