The Mood Challenge

The Mood Challenge for ResearchKit calls for proposals for ResearchKit studies that will further our understanding of mood and how it relates to our daily lives, health, and well-being.

The Challenge, a New Venture Fund program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will award $500,000 and provide finalists with expert mentorship and piloting opportunities.

  • Call for Submissions
    April 6, 2016
  • Submission Deadline
    May 22, 2016
  • Semi-Finalists Announced
    July 20, 2016
  • Current StageVirtual Accelerator
    July – September, 2016
  • Finalists Announced
    October 2016
  • Winner Announced
    May 2017


  • Aware Study

    The Aware Study will measure mood and posttraumatic stress symptoms among the millions of adults living with PTSD. The study will develop and validate mobile methods, including passive data collection, active tasks, and linguistic analysis, while exploring how social and contextual factors such as connectedness and activity levels can be used to rapidly detect changes in posttraumatic stress symptoms.

  • BiAffect

    BiAffect is a system for understanding mood and neurocognitive functioning in bipolar disorder using keystroke dynamics, such as typing speed and errors, to track and predict mood episodes. Alteration in communication is one of the main, problematic symptoms of bipolar disorder. This study will unobtrusively monitor non-verbal speech/behaviors to improve our understanding of mood disorders and provide a means of predicting future mood fluctuations.

  • Mood Circle

    Mood Circle will improve on mood detection and modeling using passive data tracking and self-reports on mood by incorporating social networking. Users of Mood Circle will enlist their closest companions to track their mood and contribute data to this shared platform, improving the experience and data models for each user while investigating social influences on mood and behavior.

  • MoodSync

    MoodSync will identify how daily mood and social environments are associated with biological aging among family caregivers. This population is at high risk for mental and physical health problems caused by chronic emotional distress. By triangulating assessments of social interactions, mood and affect, and cell aging via saliva collections, MoodSync will improve our understanding of how caregivers can thrive under chronic stress.

  • Mood Toolkit

    Mood Toolkit will provide mental health researchers with a configurable toolkit to study daily emotional health and wellbeing through the ResearchKit framework. The study will combine biometric data from external sensors such as heart rate monitors, with user surveys and machine learning to generate and validate personalized insights and interventions to improve emotional health.

Read More About The Semi-Finalists

About The Challenge

Psychology, evolutionary biology, psychiatry, economics, and many other fields have studied human mood for decades. While many theories have been developed, the full complexity of this macro-measure of mental and emotional condition is still a mystery.

Mobile devices provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate mood through the careful collection of active and passive data.

To capture this opportunity, the Mood Challenge for ResearchKit calls on researchers, technologists, and data scientists to submit proposals for ResearchKit studies that will further our understanding of mood, its correlates, and its relation to social context through the novel interpretation of signals from iPhone, related sensors, and other data sources.

More About the Challenge

About ResearchKit


Apple’s ResearchKit is an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.

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5 semi-finalists receive $20,000
to translate their proposals into designs for ResearchKit studies.

2 finalists receive $100,000
to develop their designs into prototypes to pilot with users in Apple’s TestFlight.

1 award winner receives $200,000
and guidance for submission of their ResearchKit study to the App Store.

More About Awards

Awards for this Challenge will be administered as payments from the New Venture Fund. Award winners are responsible for any applicable local, State, and Federal taxes and reporting that may be required under applicable tax laws. Read the Rules, Terms and Conditions for more details about awards.

Submissions by Round

Over the course of the Challenge, entrants will submit three separate submissions, each iterating off the last to build towards a full ResearchKit study. The three submissions are as follows:


  • Photo of Lisa Feldman Barrett

    Lisa Feldman Barrett

    Northeastern University
    full bio
  • Photo of Jeff Frazier

    Jeff Frazier

    THREAD Research
    full bio
  • Photo of Kevin Johnson

    Kevin Johnson

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    full bio
  • Photo of Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick

    University of California, San Diego
    full bio
  • Photo of Indu Subaiya

    Indu Subaiya

    Health 2.0
    full bio

Additional Information

Read Criteria to see the types of solutions the Mood Challenge is seeking.

Read Rules, Terms and Conditions for full eligibility, evaluation criteria, and other Challenge requirements.