Stanford Psychiatry Research Translation Accelerator Program (RTAP)

Request for Applications to Participate

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University announces a request for applications for a new philanthropically-driven research program. The goal of this program is to advance the transfer of the most innovative high risk-high reward ideas from Stanford Psychiatry faculty, out of the lab and into the broader world. Existing efforts in early-stage or content-driven philanthropy, and peer-reviewed external grants (e.g., from the NIH), leave unaddressed the transformative opportunity to drive scientific projects for scale outside of the typical academic path. An ideal RTAP proposal is therefore one for which flexible philanthropic funding over an initial 1-3 year period will result in sufficient progress to support either: 1) creation of a new company or 2) licensing by established companies. Note that selection does not guarantee funding by the department or any other source, as funding requires successful engagement of donor interest for the project and faculty member. However, those selected by the review committee will be presented by the chair’s office and development office as vetted, high priority projects for funding.

The Department will feature selected RTAP proposals at the next BrainMind Summit (, scheduled for October 2019 at Stanford. RTAP projects should result in transformative improvements in mental health, and with high potential for commercial implementation. Projects can be focused on basic, translational, clinical, or implementation science. In order to align with the goal of an “elevator pitch” lay appeal, elements of the proposal should be brief and focused more on rationale, impact, commercial potential and scalability, rather than specifics of the science and methods. The Department requests that for each proposal, applicants provide a timeline and specific milestones for two target levels of funding, approximately $300,000 and $1,000,000. These funding levels are intended to help projects capture differing levels of donor interest, but the specific dollar amounts will remain internal within Stanford.

The BrainMind Summit, which the Department has played a central role in for the past three years, aims to bring together academics, entrepreneurs, investors and foundations in order to identify and advance promising ideas for impact in the broader world. BrainMind Summit attendees include many individuals with high philanthropic capacity, and thus the goal is to engage these individuals in cutting-edge mental health research happening at Stanford. Selected RTAP applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their project in front of the BrainMind attendees at the Summit, and be featured in communications and on the BrainMind and Stanford Psychiatry websites. Selected applicants are also expected to meet deadlines in terms of preparation of their slides and pitch, as well as working with a coach, if needed, to improve their presentation. Creation of materials, in collaboration with Stanford development officers, may also be required. Failure to meet these deadlines may lead to disqualification. It is also important to note that funding is not guaranteed, and the likelihood of identifying an interested donor increases with greater engagement and preparation by the faculty member(s). Moreover, participation in donor cultivation and stewardship is an integral part of this innovative research award.

Proposals are due at 5 PM PST, July 19, 2019.
Proposals that are considered for advancement will be notified in August 2019.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Faculty member with primary appointment in Psychiatry with PI eligibility (i.e., UTL, MCL, NTLR, and CE lines). Instructors, Postdocs, and Research Scientists are not eligible to be PIs
  • A Psychiatry faculty member can only serve as PI on one application and Co-I on a second application
  • Faculty members from other Stanford departments may be included as Co-I’s (with their primary departmental affiliation listed) but may not participate as PI’s

Review and Selection Criteria

  • The proposal identifies a significant unmet clinical need, proposes a creative and tractable solution, and has transformative potential
  • The proposal has a uniqueness, unconventionality, and/or high-risk aspect that makes it unlikely to be funded by more traditional, risk-averse agencies focused on incremental scientific progress (e.g., NIH)
  • The proposal has high scientific merit and feasibility, with high likelihood of success
  • The proposal has appeal for results-driven philanthropists and high commercial potential
  • Proposal contains clear milestones and deliverables for each tier of funding
  • The investigative team is established, productive, and with a track-record of expertise in the proposed domain of study

Proposal Overview and Requirements

  • Submit proposal via Qualtrics using this link:
    2019 BrainMind RTAP Submission

  • Title: less than 100 characters including spaces (please make title appealing to a general non-science audience)
  • List PI and rest of team, including faculty-level Co-Is (no NIH Biosketches)
  • Lay abstract of 200 words describing the project and the proposed goal, problem to be addressed, brief description of proposed research methodology, potential impact of proposed research on disease areas, and proposed path to commercialization. Note: the lay abstract should not contain any confidential information.
  • 1-page proposal (including figures), 11 point Arial font, 0.5 in margins (no references) to include the following sections:
    • - Overall vision
    • - Problem being addressed
    • - Proposed solution (with example deliverables at the two target funding levels)
    • - Addressable market and impact
    • - Brief commercialization plan
    • - Team and expertise

Other Requirements

  • Prepare project updates as required on a semi-annual or annual basis
  • Present research findings at subsequent BrainMind Summits and other relevant donor cultivation events
  • Provide a financial accounting of all funds used
  • Provide updates on provisional patent filings, extramural funding (including SBIR grants), scientific publications, and other accomplishments associated with the program, upon request
  • Participate in donor stewardship