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Portfolio evaluation of advocates working in the global health research and development space

Research and development for global health is a broad sphere of activities that addresses some of the most neglected areas of global public health. Global health research and development (GH R&D) includes, on the one hand, diseases that disproportionately affect people living in the poorest countries and, on the other hand, products that receive limited attention within conventional commercial product development business models.


Public sector research funders and aid agencies provide the bulk of resources and the US government provides well over 70 percent of the total, with other governments investing less, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of their GDP. Guided by a GH R&D strategy, the BMGF makes significant investments in this area both in terms of direct research grants and funding for product development partnerships (PDPs).

Our role

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) commissioned Itad to evaluate its investments during the period 2014-17 in global health research and development (GH R&D) advocacy across a portfolio of grants to non-government organizations (NGOs) based in Australia, Germany and the EU which are engaged in highly targeted, strategic advocacy to promote public investment in GH R&D.


The purpose of the evaluation was to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the portfolio of grantees, and their role in increasing funding for GH R&D. We were also asked to assess the donor landscape – who else funded advocacy for research and development in this area and which organisations did they fund?  

In each geography, we were able to knit together a plausible story of the most important actors and factors affecting the donor’s attitude towards GH R&D. We drew on contribution analysis to assess the grantees’ role and identify other critical contextual issues.  

Our work was used to shape the next round of funding for advocacy organisations.  


Contact Laura Hopkins ( if you would like to discuss this project.


Image: Preparing a measles vaccine in Ethiopia © Credit: DFID

Team members
Laura Hopkins Stefanie Wallach Rob Lloyd