Launched today: The Mood Challenge for ResearchKit

What if the key to understanding mood was in your pocket? We believe it is.

The Mood Challenge for ResearchKit calls on researchers and technologists to submit proposals for ResearchKit studies that will further our understanding of mood and how it relates to daily life. The Challenge, a New Venture Fund program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and powered by Luminary Labs, will award $500,000 and provide finalists with expert mentorship and piloting opportunities.

Despite decades of study, the full complexity of human mood is still a mystery. Mobile devices provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate mood through the collection of active and passive data. ResearchKit, an open source software framework designed by Apple, turns iPhone into a powerful tool for medical research by helping doctors, scientists, and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants anywhere in the world. Now, with the announcement of CareKit, insights gathered from these studies will be used to help people manage their well-being on a daily basis.

Entrants are encouraged to go beyond measuring the surface level of what we call emotion and mood to explore contextual factors and social determinants that relate to mood, such as weather, pollution, access to food, sleep, and social connectedness.

“We think platforms like ResearchKit have the potential to revolutionize how research is conducted, and we’re launching this competition to help explore that,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa-Lavizzo-Mourey. “We know that mood is one of the keys to health, but much more can be learned about the relationship between mood and the many social and economic factors that affect it, and our health. We’re thrilled to help advance research in this field that will help build a Culture of Health in America.”

Interested? Proposals for ResearchKit studies will be accepted until May 22, 2016. Five semi-finalists will receive $20,000 each and have the opportunity to develop their proposals into app designs during the Virtual Accelerator, which includes an in-person boot camp to help with the development of their designs. Following the Virtual Accelerator, two finalists will receive $100,000 and move ahead to the Finalist Incubation and Testing phase, during which teams will fully develop their designs into prototypes. Following testing, one winner will be chosen to receive $200,000 to continue development and, finally, submit to the App Store.

We are excited to see how entrant proposals will help transform mood research!