1907 Trailblazer Award for Mental Health Research

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

The 1907 Trailblazer Award was established to encourage high-impact, step-change approaches to research in the brain and mind sciences for mental health. In addition to supporting a specific research project, the Award intends to increase the size of the talent pool of early career investigators researching causes & cures for mental illness. We promote these aims by providing a $100,000 research gift on an unrestricted basis, a $20,000 prize to enhance the economic security of the scientist, and travel & expense coverage for attendance at two annual meetings. Each winner will be invited to two annual meetings to present interim findings (year 1) and final findings (year 2), where they can form scientific relationships with other Award winners, our Advisory Board Directors and Research Directors.

Projects must be grounded in the study of biological mechanisms underlying brain function, cognitive processes, and/or consciousness. We support projects for basic science in addition to near-term applications (e.g. disruptive technologies and potential clinical interventions).

Funding can support:

  • Stipends for research staff within the Award recipient’s lab
  • Equipment, supplies, laboratory costs and/or technician
  • Imaging costs
  • Publication fees
  • Patient participant expenses


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST March 22, 2020

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: April 30, 2020

Sponsor Application Deadline: May 31, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please explicitly address the following:
    • Explain the novel idea in lay terms. What does it hope to achieve? How can it empower others in the field to identify causes and cures?
    • What is the scientific rationale of the idea given current gaps in knowledge? Concise explanations are preferred.
    • What is your execution plan and why are you uniquely positioned to execute? What tools, resources and relationships do you have to enable you to complete the research? How do you anticipate the $100,000 research gift to be used?
    • Why is 1907 Research best positioned to partner with you? Explain why your project requires dedicated unrestricted funding and why it would not be likely to be funded from traditional sources (universities, governments, other established foundations).
  • Letter of Support (1 page maximum): The letter should be from a department chair, institute director, or dean and attest to the applicant’s suitability for the award. The letter should also attest to the institution’s commitment to supporting the applicant’s project, including any additional or in-kind commitment of resources, including but not limited to relief from teaching/admin duties.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6478/home


  • Eligible disciplines include but are not limited to neuroscience, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, computational neuroscience, neuroimaging, genetics and engineering (including novel technologies and devices).
  • Applicants must be within ten years of the date when PhD/MD degree was awarded (whichever came later and with exceptions for maternity leave, paternity leave and other excused absences).
  • Applicants will currently be employed by a university or public research institute in the US, the UK, or Canada, with full-time employment guaranteed for the duration of the project (tenure or tenure-track and international equivalents). Applicants must already work in a supervisory role (PhD, MD, Postdoctoral supervisor primary or secondary).
  • Applicants will have demonstrated independence from senior colleagues. They must be able to initiate and direct their own research as principal investigator, have full responsibility for running their labs and full control of their research funds. Postdoctoral researchers working primarily in another investigator’s research group, as well as adjunct faculty, are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants will have a strong track record of scientific publications relevant to their research program.
  • Research applications may be related to but cannot be identical to any other currently funded projects.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Two applications may be submitted.

Award Information

Research Award: $100,000

Unrestricted Prize: $20,000 

Award Duration: 2 years

Number of Awards: 3

Review Criteria

The key criterion in assessing applications will be the extent to which research programs bring us closer to causes and cures based on an enhanced understanding of how aberrant neurobiological and/or psychological mechanisms give rise to behavioral (objective) and psychological (subjective) symptoms. A good example of this approach is provided by the emerging discipline of computational psychiatry, which aims at uncovering the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric symptoms. By contrast, research programs that simply test the efficacy of an existing intervention are poorly aligned with our aims. Similarly, applications that follow established research paradigms - for example, using standard analytic tools on large public imaging databases - are not suitable for this call.

Applications will be adjudicated by the Advisory Board Directors and Research Directors and scored based on overall quality and alignment with the aims of the Award program.