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Research Call on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

Fondation Botnar

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Fondation Botnar launches call for research projects to better understand the determinants, mechanisms and status of the health and wellbeing of adolescents in rapidly growing secondary cities in low- and middle-income countries.

Further Information

Adolescence is characterized by the highest rate of neurodevelopment, therefore adolescents have the highest level of cognitive, social and emotional capacities. As one in six of the world’s population are adolescents aged between 10 and 19, they are an opportunity for future societies to develop, thrive and transform themselves. This age group is less affected by the burden of diseases in regard to morbidity and mortality, hence they receive less attention in the global public health agenda. Despite making up a quarter of the population in developing countries, on average adolescents receive less than 2% of all global health funding.

Adolescent health and wellbeing as a neglected population group has also drawn the attention of the WHO and a Lancet Commission (vol 387, June 11, 2016), both of which have recommended actions and set priorities to improve adolescent health and wellbeing. To combat this neglection, Fondation Botnar has launched a call for research projects to better understand the determinants, mechanisms and status of the health and wellbeing of adolescents in rapidly growing secondary cities in low- and middle-income countries. As a foundation we have recognized the importance of this age group and the urgency of addressing their issues, putting them at the centre of our strategic focus: “Fondation Botnar aims to support the development of solutions for adolescent health and wellbeing in urban settings, leveraging digital technologies and exploiting the power of artificial intelligence (AI).”

Two-step evaluation process:

  1. Short proposal 
  2. Full proposal 

Key dates:

  • Opening date for short proposal submissions: 1 January 2019.
  • Closing date for short proposal submissions: 28 February 2019 (midnight CET).
  • Opening date for full proposal submissions: Will be communicated to applicants admitted to full proposal stage.
  • Closing date for full proposal submissions: 30 April 2019 (midnight CET).

Research fields

We are seeking research projects to better understand the determinants, mechanisms and status of the health and wellbeing of adolescents in rapidly growing secondary cities in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of these projects is to innovate and/or validate new solutions and services addressing these issues.

The results of the research should lead to new solutions leveraging digital technologies and exploiting AI if appropriate in the proposed context.

Example topics include:

  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Education
  • Infectious diseases
  • Violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Injury
  • Chronic physical illnesses
  • Prevention and/or management of sexual and reproductive health and HIV
  • or other wellbeing determinants…

Our purpose is to support primary research to have an impact in resource-limited settings, therefore the research outcome should address the global health agenda of resource-limited countries. We currently have a special focus on the following countries: Romania, Tanzania, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Senegal, India, Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam, however the call is not limited to these countries.

Successful projects must address unmet adolescent health or wellbeing needs or challenges at the individual level of each adolescent, or at the health or wellbeing community or city system level.  The project will significantly improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, management or cure of diseases or enable and promote the wellbeing of adolescents. We encourage particularly social science research projects.


The Fondation Botnar Research Call is open to researchers of organizations based in any location. The researcher, its organization and project partners must agree to and comply with our grant conditions and principles (see our research grant application process).


Your work should be aligned with Fondation Botnar’s principles:

  • Scientific excellence.
  • Compliance with ethics and focus on equity: all research undertaken adheres to national and global ethical principles and respects equitable health development as laid out in the research partnership principles. You support the capacity building of research partners in resource-limited countries and work alongside the equitable partnerships with organizations from low- and middle-income countries. You work in line with the KPFE Guidelines.
  • Prioritise working in multidisciplinary partnerships.
  • Adopt a systemic approach and understand and plan solutions for the system concerned, for example, at household, community, city or national level.
  • Use a human-centred approach and involve the beneficiaries in your innovation from ideation to implementation.
  • Focus on innovation that has a sound plan for implementation.
  • Focus on cost-effective and robust solutions for resource-limited countries with the potential of solving the cost pressure in high resource countries.
  • Ideas for disruptive new solutions.
  • Young and promising talented scientists with innovative ideas.
  • Attract co-funding and use synergies.
  • Ensure that the research projects contribute to reducing the inequality gap.
  • Openness, transparency and communication and especially a failure culture to accelerate learning.
  • Publish research results in open access journals.
  • IP strategy clearly defined in line with Fondation Botnar’s IP Strategy.

Excluded research fields

We do not support research from organisations that are involved in areas which undermine public health, e.g. tobacco, alcohol, drugs, weapons, prostitution, pornography and violence. We do not support research projects for emergency or humanitarian relief, projects in crisis and conflict zones, projects that replace state funding, projects in the areas of culture and music, contributions to individual persons, contributions to publication costs, contributions to exhibitions or contributions to infrastructure funding.

Application process 

We use a two-step approach and ask prospective applications to submit a short proposal using the online application form on our website by 28 February 2019. Upon positive evaluation, you will be required to prepare a full submission by 30 April 2019. A final decision regarding the projects selected will be given by the end of September 2019.  Applications will open in January 2019. 


The amount of funding requested from Fondation Botnar for your project must be a minimum of CHF 100,000. We expect minimum co-funding of 20% committed from own or other sources.

Funding can cover:

  • Personnel costs (salaries and social security contributions of scientific and technical employees).
  • Material costs if they are directly linked to the research project, in particular materials of enduring value, the cost of expendable items, field expenses, travel or expenses of third parties. For any equipment with a value above CHF 30,000, quotes must be provided.
  • The costs associated with the use of infrastructure directly linked to the implementation of the research.
  • The cost of organising conferences and workshops in the context of the funded research.
  • The cost of national and international cooperation and networking activities directly associated with the funded research.
  • Overhead costs up to a maximum of 10% of the budget.

Join us in achieving our vision!

A world in which every child has the right and the means to live a healthy life, to enjoy a balanced diet and receive a good education. Every child should be capable of leading a dignified life and making a positive contribution to the development of society.

The Future Now.
For Young People

Fondation Botnar
St. Alban-Vorstadt 56
4052 Basel
+41 61 201 04 74