Jose Esparza, a scientist who advises the foundation on Aids, said: "An HIV vaccine is our best long-term hope for controlling the global Aids epidemic, but it has proven to be a tremendously difficult scientific challenge."
 
He said Aids research required the co-operation of scientists around the globe, with easier access to open data and technology.

Esparza said: "We have all been frustrated by the slow pace of progress in HIV vaccine development, yet breakthroughs are achievable if we aggressively pursue scientific leads and work together in new ways."

It is now more than two decades since Aids became a pandemic.

The foundation said the quest for a cure is hindered by the remoteness of some clusters of scientists who cannot share their findings.

The foundation's goal is to make the work globally co-ordinated.

Groups receiving funding must submit candidate vaccines for centralised testing and comparison.

The funds will be distributed to more than 165 researchers in countries across the world, including Cameroon, Denmark, Germany, India and Japan.

The foundation, with an endowment of more than $29bn, is headed by the Microsoft founder and his wife.