The International COVID-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) and the Grand Challenges initiative are supporting ten global projects that will accelerate knowledge of COVID-19 through data science. These projects address urgent research questions relating to the ongoing pandemic using innovative data science approaches and seek to have rapid impact on the health of communities across the world.

The projects address a range of critical COVID-19 research questions from exploring the effectiveness of vaccination programmes, understanding disease transmission, the impact on different vulnerable patient groups and populations, and the impact on health services delivery. The goal is to find new ways to prevent and treat the disease across communities and countries globally in ways that will transform outcomes. Outputs from their research are already emerging. 

These projects were identified following a global funding call launched at the end of 2020 with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Minderoo Foundation and Microsoft’s philanthropic AI for Health program.  More than 400 applications were received from 69 countries. The projects were selected after a rigorous review process involving an international panel. They have global reach and involve researchers in 19 countries with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries including Brazil, Colombia, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. 

Read more about the projects here

Project Title

Lead Institution

Geographical Scope

Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccination in Brazil using mobile data

Fiocruz, Brazil


Impact of COVID-19 on health service delivery and institutional mortality: a multi-country consortium

Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, USA

Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Laos, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa - KwaZulu-Natal province only, USA

Addressing Critical COVID-19 questions through Research using linked population Data (ACCORD)

University of Cape Town, South Africa,

South Africa

Characterizing COVID-19 transmission chains for precision mitigation, using epidemiological survey data

City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

China - with potential for wider collaboration

Data descriptor, reference coding and characterization of the systemic complications of critical care patients included in the ISARIC COVID-19 dataset

Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia

Global scope including UK, Australia, Malawi, Malaysia, Russia, S Africa

Evaluating social inequalities effects on the COVID-19 pandemic in a LMIC country

Fiocruz, Brazil


Incidence and risk factors for COVID-19 amongst pregnant and lactating women and their infants in Uganda

MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda


Routine assessment of infections, prevention and control of SARS-COV-2 on unequal populations.

Fiocruz, Brazil


The impact of COVID-19 on chronic care patients’ health care utilization and health outcomes in Haiti, Malawi, Mexico and Rwanda

Partners in Health, USA

Haiti, Malawi, Mexico, Rwanda

The PRIEST (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage) study for low- and middle-income countries.

The University of Sheffield, UK

UK, South Africa, Sudan

Map of Grand Challenge Grantee's locations (Image: ICODA)