Thank you to our Review Panel

On behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and New Venture Fund, we want to extend a huge thank you to our Review Panel for lending their valuable time and considerable expertise to review the many thoughtful and impressive proposals received during open submissions.

The Review Panel scored the full set of submissions against the Challenge criteria to determine which submissions advanced to the judges. Thank you all for contributing to the Challenge and furthering our understanding of mood and how it relates to our daily lives, health, and well-being!

Mood Challenge Review Panelists

  • Stephen Agboola, PhD, Associate Director, Research & Analytics, Partners Healthcare and Instructor, Harvard Medical School
  • Julia Bernstein, VP, Strategy and Development, Beacon Health
  • Marc Brackett, PhD, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Research Scientist, Department of Psychology, Yale University
  • Michelle Burns, PhD, Assistant Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
  • Yu-Feng Yvonne Chan, PhD, Research Faculty and Director of Digital Health and Personalized Medicine, Mount Sinai
  • Beenish Chaudhry, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications, University of Notre Dame
  • Tracy Costigan, Senior Program Officer, Research, Evaluation and Learning, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Catherine Daus, PhD, Professor, School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, Southern Illinois University
  • Steve Downs, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Eric Hekler, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University
  • Kostadin Kushlev, PhD, Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
  • Megan Ranney, PhD, Emergency Physician and Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and Health Services, Policy and Practice, Brown University
  • Donna Spruijt-Metz, PhD, Director, USC mHealth Collaboratory and Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California
  • Glenn Stone, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Social Work, Ball State University
  • Paul Tarini, Senior Program Officer, Pioneer Portfolio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Michele Tugade, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Vassar College
  • Paul Wicks, PhD, Vice President of Innovation, PatientsLikeMe
  • Additional experts in mood, research, and technology

Thank you for submitting

Thank you to everyone who entered the Mood Challenge for ResearchKit. We have begun the scoring process and plan to announce semi-finalists in July.

We’re excited to share that Boot Camp will take place in Cupertino, CA on July 27th and 28th. This hands-on session with experts in research, app design, and ResearchKit will support semi-finalists as they develop their proposals into designs for ResearchKit studies during the Virtual Accelerator.

We will continue to communicate any Challenge updates to all team leads as they become available. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to

7 Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you to all who have expressed their excitement and interest in the Challenge. We’ve received a number of questions since launch on April 6; below are responses to some of the frequently raised topics. Please contact with any additional inquiries.

What areas of mood should entrants focus on? Can we study a specific population?

While entrants may propose a study that aligns with their specific research interests and expertise, please keep in mind the Challenge’s goal of producing modules that could contribute to future ResearchKit studies. We encourage expansive thinking around the imagining of active and passive tasks that will broadly enrich the study of mood and how it relates to our daily lives, health, and well-being.

Can entrants submit a study or app that is already being developed or has already launched?

Yes, existing research studies or apps may be entered into the Challenge. Careful consideration should be given to ensure these submissions align with the goals of the Challenge and address the evaluation criteria.

Is there a limit to the size of teams or number of submissions we can enter?

There is no limit to the size of teams, though we advise listing only core team members in your submission. Eligible Team Leads only need to register for Luminary Lightbox once, though they must complete a submission form for each entry if submitting multiples.

What sort of expertise is needed to submit? Do we need development skill or can we bring that support in later in the Challenge?

Though a clinical or research background would certainly be helpful, the Challenge is designed with the understanding that the most innovative and progressive ideas can come from those with experience in mood research and those new to the field. The customized and targeted Virtual Accelerator will provide coaching and mentorship from experts in app development and mobile research to help semi-finalists bring their proposals to life. In order to inform the design of the Virtual Accelerator, please be realistic in describing anticipated barriers, needed competencies, and resources as part of the initial submission.

What sort of outside data sources can we use? Are proprietary data sources allowed? What data can iPhone collect?

Apple makes a number of iPhone data sources available to developers. Click here to learn about the health data sources available on iOS and Apple Watch devices, or click here for a more detailed overview of how to develop apps with this health data. That said, we encourage you to expand beyond these sources and use any data source that could support your mood-related hypotheses.

Can you clarify how award funds must be used? For example, can we hire development talent during the Virtual Accelerator phase? Is there reporting needed?

Award winners will be required to sign an award letter from the New Venture Fund confirming the receipt of the award as recognition for the public benefit associated with their proposed technological solution. A portion of semi-finalist awards is dedicated for use to travel to Challenge events. Financial reporting is not necessary. Please read the Challenge Rules, Terms and Conditions for more details.

Can you provide an overview of the Innovators’ Boot Camp? Is it meant for the software developer or for members of the team lacking experience in app development?

The two individuals most closely involved with ResearchKit study design and execution should attend the Boot Camp. The Boot Camp will feature upskilling around development for ResearchKit, mobile mood measurement, data management and Challenge next steps. We recommend sending your Team Lead, if available.

Reminder: Submit a proposal by May 22

The Mood Challenge for ResearchKit submission deadline is fast approaching. All proposals must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM EDT, Sunday, May 22. We strongly encourage you to submit at least two hours before the deadline to ensure your completed submission is received.

Five semi-finalists will be selected to receive $20,000 each and enter the Virtual Accelerator, including in-person boot camp in the San Francisco Bay Area, in order to develop their proposals into designs with expert mentorship.

If you have questions about your submission, watch our informational webinar here or email us at

Help us transform mood research — submit a proposal by May 22.

– The Mood Challenge Team