Climate Change XX: Women’s Health in Focus

Challenge Objectives

We invite proposals for a Research Challenge that specifically focus on the intersection of women’s health and climate change.

Through this challenge, UNFPA aims to:

  • Enhance the capacity of young and female researchers from UNFPA Programme Countries to develop research solutions at the intersection of women’s health and climate change by offering funding, capacity building, and engagement in developing research.
  • Expand the scope of research at the intersection of women’s health and climate change, thereby bolstering UNFPA’s initiatives aimed at improving access to information, commodities, and services related to women’s health.
  • Increase women’s participation and engagement in climate solutions with a particular focus on locally-led participatory research approaches.

To accomplish these goals, the Research Challenge will select up to six teams and organizations as winners, prioritizing teams led by female researchers. Each selected proposal will build resilience in health systems and empower women and girls in regions most vulnerable to climate change.

Format of the Challenge

UNFPA, in collaboration with academic partners, launches the Research Challenge to identify up to six winning proposals. Each winning proposal will receive the grant to support the researcher or research team with seed funding of up to $15,000. Winning teams will sign a 4-month contract during which they will:

  • Advance their research in identifying and understanding the impact of climate change on the health of women and girls.
  • Enhance integration of gender transformative approaches in the design of their study, focusing on equitable inclusion of women in the dataset at all stages of the study.
  • Strengthen inclusivity and responsiveness to the unique needs of women and girls.


MIT Solve will provide a robust mentorship program and support throughout the four months to build the capacity of researchers and offer networking opportunities.

IE University will assign mentors to offer additional mentorship, coaching, and network support to the winners in the areas of capacity building needed to advance the research, innovation, and analysis, ecosystem building, and enhanced capacity.

At the end of the four-month period, winners of the Challenge will report on their progress/results, highlight their enhanced research methods, and contribute to the existing body of knowledge on women’s health and climate change.

The Challenge is open to individuals, teams, and organizations registered and operating in UNFPA Programme Countries who are working on solutions within UNFPA’s mandate areas, with special attention given to applicants from countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Challenge Dimensions

We ask that researchers consider the linkages and impact of climate change in the following areas as it relates to:

  • Women and Girls’ health with special attention to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), and/or
  • Gender equity and inclusion in the design of climate solutions.


We seek research projects that address at least one of the following dimensions, but are not limited to:

  • Impact of climate change on the health of women and girls, including but not limited to pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, fertility, menopause, and menarche/puberty, and broader aspects of women’s health.
  • Impact of climate change on access to SRH information, commodities, and services.
  • Data gathering on climate emergencies and its impacts on women and girls.
  • Inclusion of women and girls in high-level decision-making on climate adaptation and mitigation solutions.
  • Building gender-equitable climate-resilient health systems that address the needs of women and girls.

Eligibility criteria

  • We invite submissions from research teams and organizations led by young researchers under 35 years old, or by a female researcher, with a preference for women-led research.
  • Applicants must commit to the bi-weekly support program from August to November and be prepared to deliver the results of the research study or share new findings within a four-month period.
  • While the final outcome of the research is not expected to be delivered within the timeline and scope of this initiative, applicants must be prepared to present evidence of how the received grants have advanced the research by November 2024.
  • Individuals and teams must be living and working in, and originate from, UNFPA Programme Countries and demonstrate proximity to the community served by their solution.
  • At a minimum, applicants must already have an established scope of research and key research questions.
  • Organizations can be for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid models.
  • Team members must have a working knowledge of English to participate in the support program.
  • Only one submission per applying team is permitted. All submissions must be made in English only.



  • Call for Submissions Opens: 18 June 2024 
  • Submission Deadline: 7 July 2024
  • Evaluation Period: 8 July – 26 July 2024
  • Announcement of Winners (Sign Award + disburse funds): August 2024
  • Research Support Programme: August – November 2024
  • The culmination of the Research Challenge: December 2024


About Agencies

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA ensures rights and choices for all. UNFPA promotes gender equality and empower women, girls and young people to take control of their bodies and their futures. We work with partners in more than 150 countries to provide access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services. Our goal is ending unmet need for family planning, preventable maternal death, and gender-based violence and harmful practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation by 2030.

Solve is an initiative of MIT. We believe that to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future for all, we need new voices and ideas. We launch open calls for exceptional and diverse solutions to the most pressing global challenges, from anyone, anywhere in the world. Selected innovators get the backing of MIT and our community of supporters to scale their impact and drive lasting change. 

IE University (Instituto de Empresa), established in Spain in 1973 by a group of entrepreneurs, aims to reinvent higher education. It offers a diverse range of programs across six schools, emphasizing sustainability and positive global impact through education, research, and innovation. IE University focuses on shaping future leaders through its bachelor’s programs, which highlight core values of diversity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the humanities. These programs are designed to transform students’ mindsets, support personal growth, and help them achieve their career aspirations.

Alternate formats

A Word version of the application form for the applicants can be downloaded here.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the Research Challenge – Climate Change: Women’s Health in Focus?

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), MIT Solve, and IE University are launching the Research Challenge. This challenge will support young researchers and/or female researchers who are addressing the impact of climate change on women’s health  – with special attention to the topic of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender equity and inclusion in the design of climate solutions.

  1. Who is eligible to apply for this challenge?

Any organization that is registered in and operating from at least one of the UNFPA Programme Countries is eligible to apply for this challenge. Any researcher that currently lives in and/or works in a UNFPA Programme country is also eligible to apply.     

  1. What are the selection criteria for this challenge?

The selection criteria requires that all applicants have an existing scope of research and key research questions that they are investigating. While the final outcome of the research is not expected to be delivered within the timeline and scope of this initiative, applicants must be prepared to present evidence of how the received grants helped advance the research by November of 2024. Special consideration will be given to teams led by women and special attention will be given to applicants from countries most vulnerable to climate change.

  1. What is the timeline for this challenge?

All applications should be received by July 7, 2024. The Research Challenge winners will be announced in August and the challenge will be completed by November of 2023. 

  1. How can I apply for this challenge?

All interested applicants will have to complete an Application Form by July 7, 2024

  1. What information should the written application include?

Follow the directions in the Application Form. At a high level, the application includes questions to understand research topics and its relevance to Climate Change/ Women’s Health. The application will also include a brief overview of the research methodology, the work that will be completed during the four-month challenge, and a brief budget on how the funds will be allocated. 

  1. What if I have further questions or require additional information?

For any questions that have not been answered in this section or for additional information, please email: 

  1. Can I request a Research extension?

Research Extensions will not be granted. The challenge duration is 4 months from August 1st – November 30, 2024. All funds must be utilized during this time period.