Birth day prize - € 1 million

The challenge of the prize is to identify and bring to market innovative solutions preventing death and complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The 'Birth day' Prize is an initiative of the European Commission which has committed €1 million, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledging another €1 million and a further €500 000 donated by the MSD for Mothers programme of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation.


Why this Prize?

Around the world, hundreds of thousands of women and babies die on the day of birth, and millions more are left with serious illness.

Thanks to global efforts, since 1990 maternal deaths have dropped worldwide by 44%. However, deaths and serious health effects for both mothers and their new babies are still unacceptably high, especially in low and middle income countries.

Some figures:

  • A recent WHO report estimates that 303 000 women died in 2015 from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth
  • According to UNICEF, 5.9 million children per year die before their 5th birthday, of which 2.65 million are newborn babies
  • 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries; most of these are due to preventable or treatable conditions (source: WHO factsheet)


The Horizon Prize for the Birth day will be awarded to a solution that best demonstrates a reduction in maternal and/or newborn morbidity and mortality and/or stillbirths during facility-based deliveries. This solution will need to be novel, safe and scalable.

Details for the award of the prize are specified in the Rules of Contest



  • Deadline for submission of applications: 6 September 2017 at 17:00 CET
  • Award of the prize: fourth quarter of 2017



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