Bill Gates Scholarships & Grants

by Selam Nuri ; Updated September 26, 2017

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting national and international communities through grants and scholarships. The foundation offers technical and financial support for various top priority social programs. Key funding areas include programs that address poverty and poor health in developing countries, and educational equity programs in the United States. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works in partnership with investor Warren Buffet on all of its grantmaking projects.

Purpose

The Gates Foundation’s global development program is designed to support extreme poverty in the non-industrialized world by providing poverty alleviation opportunities for people living in these regions. Grant programs in global development include agricultural development, financial services for the poor, sanitation and hygiene and policy and advocacy programs against global hunger and poverty. The Global Health Program is a “high-level” program dedicated to saving lives in poor countries by harnessing advances in science and technology. The Global Health program distributes vaccines, drugs and diagnostic equipment to poor countries. In the United States, the Gates Foundation promotes educational initiatives to ensure that all Americans receive a quality education.

Grant Categories

Grant categories for international programs include funding for HIV vaccines and health programs such as diarrhea and enteric diseases, malaria, maternal and child health nutrition, and tuberculosis. The Gates Foundation has invested significantly in HIV vaccine development in the non-industrialized world and accepts proposals that address innovative research and development projects in this field. The foundation also partners with scientists and researchers from around the world to help speed up research and development projects for malaria prevention and new drugs to combat malaria. In the United States, the Gates Foundation awards eight scholarships for U.S. students including scholarships for graduate and undergraduate studies, and college preparation awards for high school students. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is offered to international students committed to improving the lives of others, and who wish to conduct their research at Cambridge University in the U.K.

Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the Gates scholarships and grants are varied. Scholarships are awarded based on factors such as ethnic heritage, gender, geographic region and academic level. The foundation awards grants to individuals and organizations. All grant applicants must first submit a letter of inquiry to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Letters of inquiry should include a brief background on the research being pursued and project ideas as well as a budget and any organizational or collaborative research experience. Letters of inquiry are reviewed on an ongoing basis; applicants will receive a notification of acceptance within 10-12 weeks.

Considerations

Due to the diversity of programs, prospective applicants are advised to review the deadlines, eligibility criteria and submission guidelines for grants and scholarships. Scholarship applicants must submit their application through the foundation’s “Scholarship Program.” The Gates Foundation does not fund individuals directly. Applicants should also be advised that the foundation does not make funds outside its key funding priorities. Unsolicited grant or scholarship applications will not be accepted. Organizations seeking funding should review the foundation’s “Grant Making Priorities” section.

About the Author

Selam Nuri has been writing academic articles and working across the curriculum since 2001. She has been published online at various websites and earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology in 2006 from the City University of New York.