The Gates Foundation isn’t the only big supporter of Duke University’s Global Health Institute (DGHI), but with a $10 million gift to DGHI and with over $225 million in grants to Duke since 2003, the foundation is certainly one of the university’s top funders. While the $10 million grant to DGHI is not the largest the foundation has awarded to the university, it is the first that was specifically earmarked for the capacity-building efforts at the institute.
DGHI states its main goals as making “...significant contributions to the prevention and treatment of health problems around the world, and be the leading academic global health institute in the world.” The institute is currently leading over 300 global health research projects worldwide, and close to 400 students have completed its global health education program.
Although the Gates Foundation does have a higher education grantmaking program, the majority of grants made to Duke are focused on global health issues, particularly in the field of HIV/AIDS research. Of the over $225 million Gates has awarded to Duke, some $134 million went toward the HIV/AIDS prevention, vaccine development and immunological research.
As far as the work at DGHI is concerned, the $10 million Gates grant will help to support research priorities that fall neatly in line with the foundation’s global health grantmaking programs, including emerging infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and strengthening health systems. There are a few research priorities that don’t fall in line with Gates’ traditional global health priorities like global mental health, cardiovascular disease and obesity, and global cancer.
The Gates Foundation’s grant to DGHI marks the largest global health and development gift to a university so far this year. But we’re talking about Gates here, and since it's only halfway through 2015, we can expect some big grant numbers to come out the foundation in the next six months. Although we have to say—Gates has quite a way to go if it wants to get anywhere near last year’s numbers. In 2014, the Gates Foundation awarded around $275 million in global health and development grants to universities around the world. So far this year, that number is less than $40 million.