Across the world, research is underway at more than a dozen institutions to use cutting-edge science in the development of a non-surgical sterilant for dogs and cats — an innovative experiment in solving the problem of animal overpopulation and a chance for scientists to cash in on a $25 million prize.

In 2008, Found Animals Foundation announced the launch of the Michelson Prize & Grants. Since then, the organization has received more than 150 letters of intent and has invited over 50 investigators to submit full grant proposals. To review proposals for funding, regular meetings are scheduled with the Found Animals’ Scientific Advisory Board, made up of top scientists from a variety of fields including reproductive biology, immunology, biotechnology, drug development and animal welfare. To date, 15 of those grants have been approved, totaling more than $6 million in research funding. Research is currently underway from Australia and Argentina to California and Virginia.

“We are thrilled with the high level of interest we’ve seen from qualified applicants to date,” says Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals. “What’s even more exciting is that we’re seeing proposals based on new technologies such as nanocontainers and gene silencing, meaning that researchers are applying cutting edge science to this problem.”