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Research and innovation
News article25 October 2022BrusselsDirectorate-General for Research and Innovation

The European Commission and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation progress research cooperation to combat infectious diseases in Africa

On the occasion of the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, co-hosted this year by the European Commission, Signe Ratso, acting Director General for Research and Innovation met with Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the Foundation). During the meeting, they discussed their co-investment of EUR 55 million (22 million from the EU and 33 million from the Foundation) for advancing genomic epidemiology for surveillance and control of poverty-related and emerging/re-emerging infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

The current cooperation takes place under the umbrella of the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking (GH EDCTP3 JU), in which the Foundation is a contributing partner for the 2022 call for proposals. The GH EDCTP3 JU is a partnership between the European Union and the EDCTP Association, which involves 21 African and 15 European countries as members.

This funding will be used to support research projects that will:

  • Increase the use of genomic epidemiology by the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) across Africa to answer public health questions of most concern nationally and regionally;
  • Create data platforms through which integrated epidemiologic, clinical, and genomic data can be collected and combined by African researchers and national public health institutes;
  • Pilot selected projects of translational research for the application of genomic epidemiology for specific pathogens/disease areas in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), translating these applications to inform public health decision-making and/or product development;
  • Establish a community of practice, training programmes, and fellowship opportunities in genomic epidemiology, increasing the literacy of genomics experts in the principles and methods of epidemiology and of epidemiologists in the use of genomic data.

The evaluation of the proposals submitted under this open call for proposals has been carried out and the successful grantees will be announced in the coming months.

During the meeting, the Commission’s Signe Ratso and the Foundation’s Bill Gates explored further opportunities for collaboration under the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking.


The meeting took place in the context of the 2022 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting being held in Brussels, Belgium from the 23-26 October and which is co-hosted by the Global Grand Challenges network of partners and the European Commission. The meeting is sponsored by Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, Wellcome, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Grand Challenges brings together leading scientists working to solve global health’s biggest problems. This year’s conference explores several themes, including building a stronger global health security architecture and the future of pathogen genomics sequencing; leveraging investments and innovations developed in response to COVID-19 for other pressing global health needs; strengthening locally-led R&D ecosystems for global health; and improving equity and access to health innovations in the short, medium and long term.

Launched in 2003, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) aims to accelerate the clinical development of new or improved health technology products for the identification, treatment and prevention of poverty-related infectious diseases, including (re-)emerging diseases. EDCTP’s approach integrates conduct of research with development of African clinical research capacity and networking. The Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking (GH EDCTP3 JU) builds on the first and second EDCTP programmes. This new joint undertaking is a partnership between the EU and the EDCTP Association, whose growing membership currently includes 15 European and 21 African countries. Its overall budget for the 2021-2027 period is around €1.6 billion, including up to €800 million in EU funding, at least €400 million from the EDCTP Association, and another €400 million expected from other contributing partners, such as philanthropic organisations and industry.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an is a non-profit organisation guided by the belief that every life has equal value and works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Over the past decade, the Foundation has successfully collaborated on human development issues with the European Commission, through strategic partnerships and innovative co-financing mechanisms.

More information

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Grand Challenges


Publication date
25 October 2022
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation