Frequently Asked Questions

Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative FAQs

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Table of Contents

The Issue
The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS)
The Preventing Preterm Birth initiative
Proposals and Application Process
Review Process
Grant Terms and Conditions
Selection Criteria


How common is preterm birth?
Fifteen million babies are born prematurely every year, and more than one million of those babies do not survive. Preterm birth is the most common complication of pregnancy and is the most common cause of newborn death around the world. Additionally, nearly 3 million stillbirths occur each year, with 80% of them being preterm births.

Who is affected by preterm birth?
Preterm birth has the potential to affect any pregnant woman and her infant. More than one in ten babies are born preterm, and it is just as likely to happen in the U.S. as it is in the developing world.

How does preterm birth compare to other global health crises such as HIV and malaria?
Preterm birth is the primary cause of death in the newborn period and takes the lives of more newborn babies than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

What interventions already exist?
Smoking cessation and progesterone therapy are the only interventions known to reduce the risk of preterm birth. Even if both interventions were used everywhere in the world, there would still be about 10.5 million preterm births each year.


What does GAPPS do?

The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children’s, was founded in 2007 to accelerate research and catalyze new projects that lead to prevention of preterm birth and stillbirth around the world. GAPPS is comprised of international experts with leadership experience in discovery science and a history of engaging researchers and organizations on a global level.


What is the goal of the Preventing Preterm Birth initiative?
The Preventing Preterm Birth initiative accelerates research by funding projects focused on discovering and developing interventions to prevent preterm birth and stillbirth by limiting infection and improving nutrition. These discoveries may translate into prevention strategies especially applicable in low-resource, high-burden settings. 

What is GAPPS’ role in the Preventing Preterm Birth initiative?
GAPPS is soliciting, reviewing and funding discovery research projects from innovative scientists and researchers around the world.

Why does this research need to happen?
There is very little known about the biology of pregnancy and even less about the mechanisms and causes of preterm birth. With new knowledge and understanding, prevention strategies and solutions can be developed that save millions of lives.

Who can apply?
Applicant organizations must be non-profit organizations, for-profit companies or other recognized institutions that can successfully execute the activities in their respective topic areas. Grantees awarded projects will be required to actively collaborate with members of relevant research consortiums. Applications from the developing world are encouraged.

What is the relationship between the Preventing Preterm Birth initiative and the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative?
The Preventing Preterm Birth initiative is the first of the Family Health series of Grand Challenges in Global Health funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What is the anticipated schedule for awards?
The planned schedule is located in the Request for Proposals document. 

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Please submit your initiative-related questions to Due to the volume of requests we may not be able to respond to individual questions.


Will you provide guidance on an application before I submit it?

We cannot provide individual guidance on ideas either before or after submission. An applicant should decide if it is worth submitting their idea.

What feedback can I expect if my proposal is not selected?
We cannot provide feedback specific to the technical content of each proposal. We will, however, communicate with applicants once a decision has been reached.

Are awarded grantees announced publicly?
Yes, awarded grantees will be announced by GAPPS on and may be included in media and marketing materials.

Do you allow multiple submissions from the same institution?
Yes, multiple submissions from an institution are allowed.

Do you allow multiple submissions from a single laboratory?
Yes, multiple submissions from a single laboratory are allowed. Each submission, however, must be associated with a different Primary Investigator, primary contact and propose a different idea and project.

Is it possible to have multiple applicants on a proposal?
Teaming, networks, and collaboration are welcome within a single application. However, applicants need to elect one primary contact per team. If awarded, the grant will be made to the Primary Investigator.

What kind of formatting should I use for the Letter of Inquiry?
Please prepare the LOI in English, saved as a *.doc, *.docx, or *.pdf file, using 10-point font, 1-inch margins, and U.S. Letter size paper (8.5 x 11 inches). Please include the name of the Primary Investigator in the header of each LOI page.

Should I include references in the Letter of Inquiry and are they included in the 4 page limit?
A few key references may be included if necessary to provide clarity, background, or methodology, but must be contained within the 4 page limit.


Will my idea be treated as confidential during the review process?
GAPPS has put in place policies and procedures to restrict public dissemination of grant application materials, including having external reviewers sign confidentiality agreements and requiring that reviewers return to GAPPS all copies of information acquired or created during the course of performing a review.


Do you publish or publicly disseminate proposals or grant applications materials?

GAPPS does not publicly disseminate or "publish" proposals or supporting information related to a grant application. For IRS compliance reasons we are required to publish a list of grants that we have made. We do not publish the full proposal or any supporting materials, however, we provide a general description of the grant on our web site at These brief descriptions are also made available in press releases and other marketing materials.

Am I eligible to apply if I work for the private sector?
Yes, we are accepting applications from individuals at both private and public organizations.

Who will own the rights to technologies created by the grants? What is being done to ensure access for developing countries?
In general, the investigators will own the rights to any technologies they invent. They are, however, required to use these rights to help ensure that any tools or knowledge created will be made available and affordable in the developing world. Agreement to this principle is a condition of receiving a grant. For additional information, please see the Global Access Plan.

Who signs the grant agreement?
During the application process, you are required to provide your Institutional Officer's information. The Institutional Officer is the person authorized to sign the grant agreement on behalf of your organization. If awarded, all relevant due diligence questionnaires and the grant agreement will be sent to this person. We strongly encourage applicants to provide accurate contact information.

How is intellectual property handled?
We ask grantees to structure their IP in a way that allows the developing world to access their scientific findings, diagnostics or any other health interventions at an affordable price. For additional information, please see the Global Access Strategy.

Is the initiative open to applicants from outside the United States?
There is no geographical restriction for applicants. We encourage scientists worldwide to submit their ideas.

What are the restrictions for what the grant can be used to purchase?
Guidelines for allowable expenses can be found in the Request for Proposal

What is the indirect cost policy?
You can review the Indirect Cost Policy here.

Does GAPPS limit faculty base salaries for Preventing Preterm Birth grants?
There is no policy limiting the salary of grantees.

I am not presently employed by any organization. May I still apply?
In order to apply, you must be affiliated with an organization.


Why wasn’t my proposal selected?
Given the size and nature of the initiative, we are not able to provide individualized feedback to each applicant. Generally, applications are not funded due to one of the following reasons:

1. It presents an idea that is explicitly excluded from consideration for funding. For more information, please see the Request for Proposal.
2. It does not directly address the topics and focus of the Preventing Preterm Birth initiative.
3. It is not complete. Applications that do not contain a coherent idea, design or description of the work to be performed are not considered for funding.
4. It does not describe how the idea offers a creative approach to the problem and how it varies from current or conventional approaches.
5. It does not clearly outline or describe the specific objective(s) to be accomplished within the time period of the award.







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