Springboard Challenge

Have you identified an issue getting in the way of progress in neurodegenerative (NDD) and neuroinflammatory disease (NID)?

Do you have a solution that could work … to help treat, diagnose, or cope with disease?

We challenge the community to think boldly.  We challenge the community to be ambitious.

Take the Challenge and make a difference in NDD and NID.

A special feature of the 2017 World Neuroscience Innovation Forum is the Springboard Challenge, a planning grant program designed to convert the Forum’s Plenary Panel discussions into action that addresses a significant problem in neurodegenerative (NDD) or neuroinflammatory (NID) diseases. The Challenge planning grants will establish new international, multi-sector teams dedicated to laying the groundwork for a proposed solution in NDD or NID. The Challenge will offer three awards of $50,000 each and provide mentorship support from leading UK and US venture capitalists. The awards are intended to fund team meetings, logistics, and strategic planning efforts for the proposed solution. The awards are not meant to fund biomedical research.

While not meant to limit scope of proposals and to help applicants understand fit, we propose the following projects as examples:  gathering the resources to make an important new patient cell line available for research; harness patient and other big data to discover novel biomarkers or more effective treatments; creating a web portal with the most promising researchers and clinical trials; organize a promotional campaign to highlight a pressing issue or promote fundraising; and assemble the tools and resources to assist families in coping with the disease.

A selection committee will review applications that address the following high-level award guidelines:

  • Convene stakeholders together (3-5 individuals) from academia, clinical care, industry, foundations, patient advocacy, or government to address a significant unmet need highlighted at the World Neuroscience Innovation Forum;
  • Aim for creative and ambitious solutions while proposing a viable strategy for implementation;
  • Articulate a plan for follow-on funding support or partnership from third parties to implement the solution

Applicants proposing a public-private partnership are encouraged to apply. International teams are also encouraged to apply. Awards will be made to a single team member based in the US or UK.


Springboard Challenge Mentors
Each award recipient will receive a mentor from the biotech and/or venture capital community, who will provide recommendations, advice, and support as recipients engage with relevant third parties on their proposal.



Applications for the Springboard Challenge will be accepted until 1 June 2017.  Click here to obtain an application.

The following selection criteria will be used to evaluate applications. Click here to see the Springboard Challenge Selection Criteria.

Please submit applications to Nelson Medeiros, PhD (namedeiros@partners.org). The Challenge selection committee will review applications and select awardees in the late Summer/Fall of 2017.

The Springboard Challenge is supported by:

Wellcome Trust
Imperial College Health Partners
Partners HealthCare