Lessons Learned on Supporting Crisis-Related Innovations from Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development
When the Zika epidemic emerged in 2016, USAID's Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) responded by launching Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development (CZFT) via a single open innovation call. The $30 million Challenge called upon the global innovator community to generate cutting-edge approaches to fight the Zika outbreak and to help strengthen the world’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks.
In 2021, an independent evaluation of CZFT was conducted by the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to gather lessons learned and to inform future Grand Challenges. The evaluation found that CZFT made a near-term impact on the Zika crisis and better prepared USAID to address ongoing and future threats, including dengue, malaria and COVID-19. CZFT maximized social returns by developing a balanced portfolio of innovators, not only incubating early-stage innovators, but also helping late-stage innovators scale their efforts. This evaluation also demonstrated how CZFT’s tailored support helped innovators catalyze product development, remove market barriers, and secure additional funding,increasing longer-term sustainability and enabling ongoing global health impact.
Along with overall lessons learned, the evaluation highlighted the success stories of three innovators (BluSense, Premise, and World Mosquito Program) who received funding from Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development. Explore the three innovator profiles below to learn more about these solutions.