Submit a Pioneering Idea Brief Proposal

Throughout the year, we welcome Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposals that can help us anticipate the future and consider new and unconventional perspectives and approaches to building a Culture of Health.

Pioneering Ideas and a Culture of Health

The goal of the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal funding opportunity is to explore; to look into the future and put health first as we design for changes in how we live, learn, work and play; to wade into uncharted territory in order to better understand what new trends, opportunities and breakthrough ideas can enable everyone in America to live the healthiest life possible.

While improving the status quo is vital to the health and well-being of millions of Americans now, the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal opportunity reaches beyond incremental changes to explore the ideas and trends that will influence the trajectory and future of health. Ultimately, we support work that will help us learn what a Culture of Health can look like—and how we can get there.

NEW: Featured Calls for Ideas

While the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal is an open call for ideas, from time to time we may also feature opportunities related to specific topics we are interested in exploring. Learn more about our current featured topics below.

What is a Pioneering Idea?

Good question! We don’t want to provide a checklist that limits your thinking—or ours. We do want to give you as clear a picture as we can about the kinds of proposals we hope to see, so you can best assess whether submitting an idea through our Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal process is the right next step for you. Our application form allows you to introduce your idea; if it seems to be a fit for our portfolio we will reach out for more information.

We share some examples below of Pioneering Ideas we have funded in the past to give you a sense of where we’ve been. Keep in mind that ultimately, we need you to challenge us, and to tell us where we should be going and what ideas have the most potential to transform the way we think about health. As you review the examples below, you may notice some shared themes or characteristics which:

  • Challenge assumptions or long-held cultural practices.
  • Take an existing idea and give it a new spin—or a novel application.
  • Offer a new take or perspective on a long-running, perplexing problem.
  • Apply cutting-edge ideas from other fields to health.
  • Explore the potential for emerging trends to impact our ability to build a Culture of Health.

I have a Pioneering Idea. How do I share it with you?

  1. Visit the general FAQs about applying for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to understand basic requirements for receiving a grant and to learn more about the funding process.
  2. Review this set of FAQs for Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal for more information on this specific funding opportunity and what happens once we receive your proposal.
  3. Before you begin your application, you can preview a blank application to understand the kind of information and level of detail required at this stage.
  4. All grant proposals submitted to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—including the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal—must be completed online. Begin the application process by submitting your brief proposal through the online application:

In the "project summary" section of your proposal, be sure to note if you're submitting a general idea, or responding to one of our featured call for ideas topics (Reinventing Discovery or Future of Work).

We look forward to learning about your Pioneering Idea.

RWJF's Lori Melichar discusses how we find innovative ways to meet our nation's health challenges.

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Submit your pioneering idea proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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