- Focus area:
Advanced solutions in protective equipment and technology that can lead to significant gains in head protection
Multiple awards with a cumulative value of up to $1 million a year including in-kind support
- Response Due Date:
June 14, 2017
The National Football League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) have partnered with Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI) to create the HeadHealthTECH Challenges, a series of innovation challenges intended to deepen understanding of and advance solutions in the areas of head protection, materials science, head kinematics, among others. The TECH Challenges are structured to stimulate research and innovation, as well as encourage connections with mentors and/or venture capitalists, with a goal of spurring developments in engineering, biomechanics, advanced sensors and material science.
As part of its Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative announced in September 2016, the NFL pledged $60 million toward the creation and funding of a five-year plan called the Engineering Roadmap that will be managed by FRI, a nonprofit corporation formed and financially supported by the NFL. The Engineering Roadmap is a dedicated and comprehensive plan to create incentives for helmet companies, manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others from around the world to develop new and improved helmets and protective equipment over the next three to five years.
Up to three HeadHealthTECH Challenges will be offered annually, dedicating funds to those with the most promising ideas. A panel of expert judges selected by Duke CTSI, in collaboration with FRI, will evaluate all proposals. Funding will be awarded by FRI. Duke CTSI will work closely with funding recipients to develop and mature their ideas. All individuals or institutions submitting proposals will retain ownership over their ideas at all times.
TECH Challenge II, which is open from April 18, 2017 through June 14, 2017, invites proposals focused on helmet technologies and surfaces that helmets contact, including turf, grass, other helmets and opponent padding. Support for the most promising opportunities will be provided by FRI. The TECH Challenges are renewable annually for up to the next four years.