Photo courtesy of Gates Foundation.

In terms of preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy, the condom has been pretty revolutionary.

But the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to take it one step further, and they need your help. As part of the foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, people who have ideas to improve the use and effectiveness of condoms are encouraged to apply for a research grant.

While the foundation acknowledges that today’s condom certainly works well, it says there is a problem with inconsistent use — women can feel pressured when negotiating condom use and men often prefer wearing no condom during sex.

The foundation wants a condom that would provide the benefit of the current version, but “without the drawbacks.”

“The idea of a condom that men would prefer to no condom is a revolutionary idea, but we know more today about sexual function than at any time in the past, and advances in relevant disciplines such as neuroscience, vascular biology, urology, reproductive biology, materials science, and other fields can contribute to new and unconventional approaches,” the foundation writes.

The Grand Challenges Explorations initiative is a grant program which allows people to submit research proposals in exchange for $100,000 grants that can grow to $1 million if the project shows potential. The program has funded more than 800 grants in 52 countries since its inception in 2008.

If you have an idea for the next super-condom, head here to apply.

Previously on GeekWire: Bill Gates’ Annual Letter: How measurement can change the world

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  • Manny

    Article is a bit misleading in that it seems to speak to’ individuals’………

    The flaw in the Gates Foundation Condom design competition is that it only accepts submissions from groups or businesses looking for grants and don’t accept submissions from individual designers/inventors who may have the next great product and need the seed money and possibly the interested angel investor hand open a door to get it rolling. Maybe Melinda and Bill should do a round B for this Grand Challenge!

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