The current administration loves its open innovation platforms and competitions. To help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (not to be confused with the isolated cases in the United States), the Department of Defense, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have collaborated on the Ebola Grand Challenge.
They want your help for two aspects of the challenge. First, submit your ideas for innovations or challenge grants online. Second, participate in the online discussions around the topic (I’d recommend donning your online flame retardant outfit first). The organizers have designated three missions (and a fourth category for any other ideas) of interest: strengthen health care capacities, promote care-seeking, and boost tracking and communication. In each case, they are looking for both existing research and potential ideas that could apply to the current outbreak. No formal expertise required.
Meanwhile, I’d encourage you to avoid U.S. media on this story, as it reminds me of that quote from Hamlet – “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”