Updated Nov 22, 2018CLOSED

The Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge

Offered by Johnson & Johnson as part of JNJ Innovation

Throughout Africa, we are looking to drive entrepreneurship and help advance promising health care solutions. Chosen applicants will receive funding up to US $50,000 and technical mentoring from some of the brightest minds at Johnson & Johnson to help bring their idea to life and create meaningful change in their community or country.

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CLOSEDJan 16, 2019Deadline
Up to $50,000Amount

Mandatory Requirements

StageStage 3: Proof of Concept, Stage 4: Transition to Scale, Stage 5: Scaling and Stage 6: Sustained Scale
Implemented in:
Focus AreasMental Health (Health)
Waste Management (Environment)
Health Systems (Health)
Health and Technology

There are six different categories, and applicants may apply for up to three different categories in an application:

  • Botanical Solutions

    60-80% of households in Africa still rely on traditional medicine to care for themselves and loved ones1. We are seeking naturally-derived, plant-based solutions that tap into traditional knowledge and deliver consumer health and wellness benefits through topical application.

  • Packaging Innovations
    Managing packaging waste from the increasing consumption in Africa is a challenge for many communities. We are seeking sustainable innovations for packaging of single dose units and other affordable product sizes that will reduce or eliminate waste, while protecting the product.

  • Mental Health
    Caring for someone with mental illness, especially the youth, can be very challenging for rural communities. As a result, 75-85% of persons living with mental illness in Africa may not have access to mental health care2. We are seeking innovations that create awareness for mental illness as a public health problem and offer solutions for patients, caregivers, and their communities to address these issues.

  • Essential Surgical Care
    A significant portion of the burden of disease in Africa can be treated with surgery. However, many health facilities in certain areas do not have the capacity to deliver even basic surgical services. We are seeking innovations that promote access to timely, safe, and skilled surgical care.

  • Digital Health Tools
    The African continent has the world's poorest health outcomes, with HIV, TB, Mental Health, Maternal Health and Ebola having especially large impact, particularly on women. We are seeking digital tools (including apps and other mobile/web/data enabled tech) for these important health care areas that can inform, educate, communicate and connect people to treatment, support and care through their reach and information and improve health outcomes especially for women.

  • Health Worker Support

    African frontline health workers experience high rates of stress and burnout due to the heavy burden of disease and marked health system challenges. We are seeking innovations that support the wellbeing and resilience of nurses, midwives and community health workers at the heart of delivering care.”

Please see example ideas in each categoryhere

Any and all citizens or permanent residents of a country in Africa, aged 18 years or older, who may have an innovative solution and detailed project plan, are welcome to apply. You could be a student at a university or an engineer in the field. If you think you have a great idea, we want to hear from you. Early-stage startups or projects that have currently raised less than the equivalent of US $250,000 (for example: equity funding, public funding and/or grants) can also apply.

Other Requirements

Potential for ScaleWe are looking for an idea that has a clear project plan to progress towards commercialization. Commercialization is the process of introducing a new product or solution into commerce – making it available on the market. As you are submitting your application, you will be asked several questions about your proposal so that we can better understand the feasibility of your idea. If you have a business plan to share, that is great. If you'd like to, you could also upload additional documents that support your idea, but that's not mandatory.REQUIRED

We invite Applicants to apply by submitting ONLY NON-CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. However, if your application is selected as one of the finalists, Johnson & Johnson may ask you to submit certain confidential information regarding your application in order to assist the second judging committee in making its final selection. Should you agree to submit such confidential information, such submission will be covered by a confidentiality agreement that you and Johnson & Johnson agree to and sign before you disclose your confidential information. All information you provide will be governed by ourPrivacy Policy.

Application Directions

Application And Awards Process

The selection will occur in 2 distinctive phases. Applicants will be informed of their progress during the phase their application is in.

  • FinalistSelection:The first judging committee will select the top 5-10 applications of the challenge category, based on the quality of their online application. Potential Finalists might be approached for more information.
  • Winner Selection:The second judging committee will select the provisional winner(s) of the challenge from the list of Finalists. The provisional winners will be interviewed and vetted for eligibility before they are announced as winners.
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