Accelerating improvements in the lives of women and children. Credit: Allan Gichigi KDP

Grand Challenges Africa launch Ki Data Challenge to improve maternal and child health

29 March 2019

A Ki Data Challenge has been launched by Grand Challenges Africa (GCA) - a programme of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) supported through the AAS funding and programmes implementation platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) - and the African Academy of Sciences with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Knowledge Integration (Ki) initiative.

The Knowledge integration (ki) Data Challenge seeks research proposals that address key knowledge gaps in understanding how nutrition, prenatal and antenatal care, maternal support, and environmental and social factors contribute to an elevated risk of poor maternal and childhood health outcomes.

The Ki Data Challenge is summarised as follows:


  • Explore innovative data analytics solutions by identifying or analysing existing multi-source Africa data


  • Apply innovative analyses to reveal patterns in data
  • Work with under-explored subsets of data to explore associations and determine strength of inference
  • Identify new ways to support vulnerable populations, specifically mothers and newborns and single-parented households

The Ki Challenge see a key opportunity to accelerate research in this area by establishing robust collaborative research networks in Africa (especially those focused on pregnancy and the peripartum period) and analysing data from multiple African sources to guide public health recommendations that are data-driven and cost effective.

The purpose of this call for proposals is to promote new quantitative approaches to synthesising and analysing data and evidence obtained from African clinical trials and other relevant data sources – including combined datasets – to produce novel insights which can be used to improve maternal and child health in the African context and around the world.

WWARN has been selected to make data accessible for the Challenge. You can view our inventory of data available to request via our Data Access Committee.

Philippe Guerin, Director of WWARN comments, “We are proud to be part of an initiative that will make data available to help new research collaborations to find more effective solutions to tackle maternal and child health challenges in Africa.”

Grants for developing tools and models (up to 24 months) are funded up to $100,000 USD per project. The Ki Challenge Synapse Wiki page provides more details on the types of applications the team are expecting, the other data sets available and an online discussion forum. Please connect with the Ki Grand Challenges Community for further information or to answer your questions on the challenge. Email info [at] wwarn [dot] org to ask your questions on the data held in the WWARN Data Inventory.

Important dates:  

April 26, 2019: Online portal for submissions closes at 2000hrs GMT

October, 2019: Award Announcement

See details of the Malaria DREAM Challenge which is open for pre-registration