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 US$100,000 research grant on an unrestricted basis, a US$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 present interim findings (year 1) and final findings (year 2), where they can form scientific relationships with other Fellows, our Advisory Board and our Research Committee.

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 is to be spent over a two-year duration and can support (examples):

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


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST May 17, 2021

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: June 15, 2021

Sponsor Application Deadline: June 30, 2021

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (maximum 500 words for each question excluding citations): Please explicitly address the following:
    • What is the novel idea and what is the potential impact to the field? Explain the novel idea in lay terms. What does it hope to achieve? How can it empower others in the field to identify causes & cures?
    • What is the scientific rationale of the idea given current gaps in knowledge? Explain how your proposed research is different from other research undertaken in the field.
    • Who are you trying to help? We support projects across the spectrum from basic science to near-term clinical application. Explain where your idea lies on this spectrum, and which patient groups will benefit from your research – whether in a year, or in 20 years. Please be as precise as possible when defining the target illness(es), and consider differences in neural functions rather than differences in symptoms.
    • 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 US$100,000 research grant 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 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/6609/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). For clinical scientists, the 10- year clock starts upon completion of all residency and fellowships. Please use April 16, 2021 as the end date for calculation of the 10-year period.
  • 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.
  • Applicants will have demonstrated independence from senior colleagues. They must be able to initiate and direct their own research as principal investigator (“PI”), have full responsibility for running their labs and full control of their research funds.
  • 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

In addition to the US$100,000, US$20,000 will be awarded as a cash prize payable directly to the recipient (50% after year 1, 50% after year 2). Lastly, 1907 Research will cover travel & expenses to two annual meetings.

Award Duration: 2 years

Number of Awards: 3

Review Criteria

  1. Science
    1. Is the science sound?
    2. Are the methods clear?
  2. Innovation
    1. Is the science innovative or incremental?
    2. Would this project get funded by traditional channels without 1907 Research?
  3. Relevance
    1. Is the project relevant to the 1907 Research Mission Statement?
    2. Does the candidate identify the pathophysiology / target conditions?
  4. Execution
    1. Does the candidate have the requisite resources and experience?
    2. Does the letter of reference confirm this?