Got an idea for building a better condom? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is offering $100,000 of initial funding with up to $1 million of possible continued funding to whoever designs the “next generation of condoms‘. Proposals sent to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation must have a “testable hypothesis”, include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated and yield interpretable and unambiguous data to receive continued funding toward development. Ideas that prove too expensive for widespread use in the developing world, or those that don’t do the job of preventing pregnancy or disease transmission will be dismissed right off the bat.
“The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom,” says the Foundation’s description of the challenge. So a “next-generation” condom would, perhaps, find some way to increase sensation as to get men to wear them more often — purely in the name of global health, of course.
Female condoms, meanwhile, “suffer from some of the same liabilities as male condoms, require proper insertion training and are substantially more expensive than their male counterparts,” says the Foundation. So a cheaper, simpler female condom might also help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and spread of STIs, including HIV/AIDS.
- Bill Gates Will Give You $100,000 To Build A Better Condom