The meet seeks to foster international innovation collaborations in health and development

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural function of Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020 on Monday.

For the last 15 years, the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting has fostered international innovation collaborations to address the biggest challenges in health and development. The meeting will convene virtually from October 19-21, an official statement announcing the event said.

It said the gathering would bring together policymakers and scientific leaders to look into deepened scientific collaborations in solving global health problems. The event will have a strong emphasis on COVID-19 with an "India for the World" framing.

World leaders, eminent scientists and researchers from across the globe will join this annual meeting to discuss key priorities for accelerating progress across the Sustainable Development Goals in the post-pandemic world and elaborate on addressing the challenges to manage COVID-19.

Explaining the agenda of the meet, the statement said the three-day program will feature leaders talks, panel discussions and virtual informal conversations on topics ranging from scientific interventions for fighting the pandemic, managing the pandemic and accelerating the development and implementation of global solutions to combat this pandemic and prevent the next one.

Nearly 1,600 people from 40 countries are expected to participate.

The Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020 will be co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and NITI Aayog, along with the Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development and Wellcome.

Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan will deliver the opening remarks. Bill Gates, who is Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will present the plenary framing conversation.

Grand Challenges India was set up as a partnership of the centre's Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012, and Wellcome also joined the partnership. Grand Challenges India works across a range of health and developmental priorities ranging from agriculture, nutrition, sanitation, maternal and child health to infectious diseases, the statement said.