The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have put up a $100,000 of initial funding for someone who designs the "next generation of condoms." The money won't stop there, as the funding will expand up to $1 million for whoever is capable of delivering the next-gen contraception.
Considering that the basic form of contraception hasn't received many changes over the years, it is used by an estimated 750 million people across the world for both reducing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually-transmitted infections. The Foundation's description of the challenge explains it as: "The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom."
A next-gen condom might give men more sensation, pushing them to use them more often, for the good of global health. When it comes to female condoms, "suffer from some of the same liabilities as male condoms, require proper insertion training and are substantially more expensive than their male counterparts."
So if you've got an idea for a next-gen condom, proposals can be sent to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where they must have a "testable hypothesis, include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated and yield interpretable and unambiguous data" in order to continue to receive funding toward its development. Ideas that are simply too expensive for widespread use in the developing world won't be considered.
The next-gen condom challenge is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Grand Challenges Explorations," which is a continuing initiative to fund programs that aim to improve the large majority of the world's poorest citizens. You can check out more details GrandChallenges.org.
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