ABOUT THE CHALLENGES
Up to three HeadHealthTECH Challenges (each, a TECH Challenge) will be offered annually, dedicating funds to those with the most promising ideas. A panel of expert judges selected by Duke CTSI, in collaboration with FRI, will evaluate all proposals. Funding will be awarded by FRI. Duke CTSI will work closely with funding recipients to develop and mature their ideas. All individuals or institutions submitting proposals will retain ownership over their ideas at all times.
TECH Challenge II, which is open from April 18, 2017 through June 14, 2017, invites proposals focused on helmet technologies and all surfaces that helmets may contact, including turf, grass, other helmets, opponent shoulder pads and other padding. Support for the most promising opportunities will be provided by FRI. The TECH Challenges are renewable annually for up to the next four years.
Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI) and Football Research, Inc. invite proposals for protective equipment and technology that can lead to significant gains in head protection. Specific focus areas for HeadHealthTECH Challenge II include:
- Helmet technologies
- Surfaces that helmets may contact, including turf, grass, other helmets, opponent shoulder pads and other padding, etc.
The HeadHealthTECH Challenges are an annually renewable grant program that will offer up to three challenges a year for up to the next four years. For each year that the program is renewed, an aggregate amount of up to $1 million in direct funding awards will be provided by FRI (or such higher amount as agreed to in FRI’s sole discretion). In addition to, or, in some cases, in lieu of, providing direct funding awards, interesting projects may receive in-kind support including expert biomechanical engineering consultation, completion of experimental studies, benchmarking against existing technology, creation of novel data to demonstrate utility, and access to on-field resources. All funding awards are a one-time offer and there is no offer of licensure, royalty or other financial compensation implied beyond the initial amount funded. Funded projects can and will be encouraged to apply for additional challenges if more than more year of funding is required.
Duke CTSI and the Oversight Committee established jointly by Duke CTSI and FRI will assess the proposals using the following assessment criteria:
- Proposals must include a scope of work that is one year or less. Proposals will be funded for one year and are available for re-application during each year of the HeadHealthTECH Challenges
- Submitting party must demonstrate the technical feasibility of quarterly milestones that will be achieved during the funding period
- Proposal must include specific plans or proposals relating to follow-on funding
- Proposal must lay out a clear financing, licensing or go-to-market plan or proposal or otherwise describe how the funding will be used
- Proposal must include a description of resources of environment to achieve milestones
- Proposal must include the relevant background of the team /organization/lab submitting the response
Each year, the National Football League (NFL) and its affiliates and other partners receive proposals from institutions, individuals, and corporations interested in promoting safety. These proposals typically range from concepts to enabled ideas to reduced-to-practice technologies to commercially ready products for use by athletes. To appropriately evaluate these ideas, promote academic and industrial safety research, and catalyze product-focused injury prevention and treatment in football, Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI) has been engaged for the purposes of accepting, evaluating, accelerating and potentially assisting in the development of these promising opportunities. The program’s goal will be to provide critically needed “value recognition” of promising proposals by providing monetary investment as well as practical feedback and guidance to support these proposals thereby increasing their likelihood of success while shortening the development time before these products positively affect the game. Support to such promising opportunities will be provided by FRI, a nonprofit corporation that receives its financial support from the NFL.
To continuously stimulate development in academia and the marketplace, FRI has developed an annually renewable grant program that will offer up to three challenges a year for up to the four years.
See Official Rules for details. TECH Challenge II opens April 18, 2017. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) June 14, 2017. Proposals will be accepted from both public and private organizations. All proposals must be able to articulate a path by which they will successfully impact football player health and safety.