MARCH Centre Director, Professor Joy Lawn, in shortlisted project for $100 million grant

NEST (Newborn Essential Technologies and Solutions), a collaboration of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with Rice University and  other partners, is one of four finalists for the MacArthur Foundation’s first 100&Change grant.

MacArthur launched 100&Change to award $100 million for a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant global development problem. The process began over a year ago with 1,904 applications and 8 semi-finalists were chosen in February. On September 19th, four finalists were announced and they will all present their projects, during a live event, on the 11th December 2017, before a final decision is made by the Evaluation Panel.

NEST is focused on Africa, where more than 1 million babies die each year, despite the fact that most births are now in hospitals. Gaps in essential equipment and skills, especially to care for preterm babies, are key. NEST’s aim is to half newborn deaths rate in hospitals. The systems package will include:

  • NESTech including 17 essential devices and cot-side diagnostics for newborn care, mostly designed in Africa, particularly Malawi, with support from RICE360 in Texas;
  • NESTeach, involving technical and leadership training for biomedical engineers and clinicians in Africa, led from Malawi where the School of Engineering is the only one in Africa led by a woman;
  •, providing a not-for-profit business model to distribute and maintain devices in public and private hospitals across Africa, led by Northwestern University and 3rd Stone;
  • Evaluation of lives saved, costs and process, particularly in Malawi and Tanzania. This work is led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, working with the University of Malawi and Ifakara Health Institute.

Professor Joy Lawn, a paediatrician and researcher from MARCH (Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health) Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, has spent most of her career working on newborn health in Africa and was, herself, nearly a newborn death in a bush hospital in Northern Uganda. She has led work on the global evidence base regarding how many newborns die, and what can be done, linking to the United Nations Every Newborn Action Plan and the first ever global target for reducing newborn deaths in every country.  Joy and her team will coordinate the evaluation of NEST, as well as links with global evidence and policy.

NEST is the only finalist where the proposal is based in universities, and also the only one primarily focused on health impact.

For more information please contact

Twitter @joylawn

Pumani ventilator, Malawi. (RICE360)