Selection process

Nominations for the third and final round of 120 Under 40 will be accepted from March 27 to June 11, 2019. Nominees in the 2016 and 2017 rounds who did not win are eligible to be re-nominated in 2019.

Each nominee will have a profile on

The 40 winners for 2019 will be chosen through online public voting and scoring by a jury of experts and leaders in family planning.

Online public voting will take place from June 18 to July 1, 2019. Voters will be able to cast one vote per nominee during this period. Voters can vote for as many nominees as they like, but only once per nominee.

Nominees must receive at least 75 votes in order to pass to the jury scoring round. Nominees that receive 75 votes will see a badge displayed on their profile, signifying that they have passed to the jury scoring round, and will receive a notification email. Once that 75-vote threshold is reached, additional votes beyond 75 will not factor in.

The 120 Under 40 Jury, made up of leaders in the family planning and reproductive health fields, will review nominees that reach the 75-vote threshold on the basis of the following criteria, which are drawn from the published project description and the nominee profile questions:

  • Has the nominee made significant, demonstrated, quantifiable contributions to family planning?
  • Has the nominee acted as a source of innovation/”positive disruption” in family planning?
  • Has the nominee served as a role model to lead and inspire others? 
  • Has the nominee demonstrated passion for family planning?
  • Does the nominee have a vision for future work related to family planning?

After online voting and jury review close, the project secretariat will review the results and determine the 40 winners, all of whom will receive $1,000 from the Gates Institute to continue the work they are involved in or to start new, innovative projects. 

The winners will be announced on September 12, 2019. This project year will officially end on September 26, World Contraception Day, with additional promotion of the winners via social/digital media and during the Gates Institute’s annual World Contraception Day Celebration. 

Each winner will receive $1,000, as well as the opportunity to partake in high-level networking, programmatic and research opportunities and tools to strengthen their skills, especially in storytelling, personal brand development, advocacy and leadership. In addition, 120 Under 40 winners join a strong and supportive network of other early- and mid-career family planning champions. Their work is supported and amplified, and they are offered special opportunities, such as scholarships to attend the International Conference on Family Planning and the opportunity to apply for additional funding for their work. Being a 120 Under 40 winner is a key that can open exciting new doors.

New this year – Fifteen of the 120 winners will be funded to participate in the new Bill & Melinda Gates Institute Leadership Accelerator, an intensive 2-week training course that will impart innovative approaches to leadership, program management, policy analysis, strategic planning, communications, advocacy and organizational change. (The Leadership Accelerator opportunity replaces the 120 Under 40 Celebrations that have taken place in the past.) Applications for the Leadership Accelerator will open in March 2019. This opportunity is available to 2016 and 2017 winners of 120 Under 40; 2019 nominees are eligible to apply, but their applications will only be considered if they win. 

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120 Under 40 is a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with support from Bayer
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