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The secret to winning Gates foundation grants

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants are much sought after but notoriously hard to win. Sam Lemonick offers practical advice from a previous winner and a foundation insider on securing the prestigious grants, whose rewards extend beyond money

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the richest and best-known private funders of scientific research worldwide. It is also an intimidating one, known for being secretive and selective.

Legend has it that Bill Gates, then still the chief executive of Microsoft, was inspired to start the foundation in 1997 after reading an article about why eradicable diseases persisted in parts of the world. What started as a relatively small family foundation exploded into something much bigger in 2006 when billionaire investor Warren Buffet pledged almost $30 billion. Gates himself has donated almost $30bn of his own money.

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