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.
CURRENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: Learn more about our current Pioneering Ideas Brief Propopsal funding opportunities below.
- Featured Call for Ideas: Technology, Infrastructure and Health (submit brief proposals by 10/17/2018)
- Open Call for Ideas (submit brief proposals by 10/15/18)
Featured Call for Ideas: Technology, Infrastructure and Health (submit brief proposals by 10/17/2018)
Dollar amount/duration: For this funding opportunity, we will award up to $2.4 million to fund projects within the $200,000-$400,000 budget range and with a project term of between 12-36 months.
Time period: Please submit your ideas for Technology, Infrastructure and Health by October 17, 2018.
Where we live, how we get around, and how we work and play are increasingly influenced by technology. As we look to the future, we anticipate changes to our infrastructure, spurred by technological innovation, that could significantly impact our health.
Whether considering how driverless transportation will reshape cities or how large data centers might impact rural communities, we are interested in understanding how emerging technologies will transform infrastructure in ways that might help or hinder opportunities for everyone in America to live a healthier life, now and in the future.
With regard to technology, we are primarily interested in digital technologies—the electronic tools, systems and structures that generate, store, and interpret data. These range from sensors and server farms, to virtual reality and more.
When we talk about infrastructure, we mean physical infrastructure, like roads and electrical grids, as well as data infrastructure, which generates, collects and supports the flow of information, and human infrastructure—the network of people—that supports the functioning of society.
Through this exploration we’re looking for projects that explore the relationship between technology, infrastructure, and health and examine how technology’s impact on infrastructure in the near future (5-10 years) could influence our efforts to improve health equity in the United States
Projects should be future-oriented, cultivating lessons that will hold relevance in the years to come, and can include, but are not limited to:
- Explorations of how data-driven infrastructure will enable or constrain access to healthy choices in everyday life.
Frameworks for how we support design, decision-making and governance of infrastructures that will ensure more equitable health outcomes for all in America.
Meta-analyses of how patterns of technology use influence decisions about the use and value of physical spaces.
Projects that document the ways in which Internet of Things-based sensor networks and surveillance infrastructure are increasingly embedded in public spaces with varying impacts on health and well-being.
Applied research projects that identify new ways to govern and regulate the development and application of data-driven technologies that have an impact on infrastructure and health.
Historical analyses of the technology industry’s impact on health via infrastructure—translating these lessons into best practices for various stakeholders.
We are not interested in projects that primarily focus on building new structures, applications or online platforms, or in sustaining or scaling existing programs or interventions.
Priority will be given to proposals that:
Have a clearly-articulated focus on improving health equity;
Focus at the population, rather than individual level;
Include cross-sector collaboration or a multi-disciplinary effort or initiative;
Prioritize community engagement;
Explore the potential for emerging trends to impact our ability to build a Culture of Health; and
Are both timely and future-oriented, cultivating lessons that are relevant now and will be in the the years to come
Open Call for Ideas (submit brief proposals by 10/15/18)
Dollar amount/duration: For this funding opportunity, we generally fund projects within the $150,000-$350,000 budget range and with a project term of between 12-36 months.
Time period: Please submit your pioneering ideas by October 15, 2018.
Applications for the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal Open Call for Ideas funding opportunity are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications for 2018 are accepted until 10/15/2018.
Through this, our signature Pioneering Ideas funding opportunity, we seek to explore how cutting-edge ideas and emerging trends could help or hinder our progress toward a Culture of Health.
We’re open to ideas on a range of topics, from emerging technologies to pioneering strategies for changing norms and behaviors. We’re interested in funding a number of different project types, including research, pilots or demonstration projects, idea sourcing, network or coalition building, and more. Ultimately, we are looking for projects that bring new understanding and raise new questions about the future of health in the United States. View FAQs for Submitting a Brief Proposal to learn more.
We review these applications on a rolling basis. Please allow up to eight weeks for a response.
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.
Featured Pioneering Ideas
I have a Pioneering Idea. How do I share it with you?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- If you already have a MyRWJF profile, click here to log in. Once you log in, you will see the “Apply” button.
- If you do not have a MyRWJF profile, get started by clicking here. Once you have created your profile and have logged in, you will see the “Apply” button.
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.
Submit your pioneering idea proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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What's Next Health is an RWJF speaker series that brings new perspectives and fresh thinking to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff and external audiences by engaging leading visionaries at the forefront of trends and ideas that could have significant impact on the work of RWJF and its grantees.Learn more