Foundations and Research Decisions

Regarding Susan M. Fitzpatrick's opinion article,1 we agree that many other private foundations have made, and continue to make, important contributions to research on the diseases of the developing world. In fact, we have consulted extensively with several of these foundations during the process of designing the Grand Challenges initiative.

We take issue, however, with Dr. Fitzpatrick's claim that the initiative relies "on [National Institutes of Health] leadership and decision-making." While the initiative is administered by the NIH Foundation, all grant decisions will be made by an independent board of leading scientific experts, including several researchers from the developing world. Of the 20 members of this board, only two or three are part of NIH. In addition, the initiative will be carried out in partnership with other international research institutions as it evolves.

While the Gates Foundation believes strongly in the importance of collaborating with...

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