NIDA Challenges Program

Current Challenges

2023 “$100,000 Start an SUD Startup” Challenge

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced the 2023 “$100,000 Start an SUD Startup” Challenge in August of 2023, and now that the submissions have gone through the judging process, NIDA is delighted to share the results of the Challenge.

The following teams have been selected by the NIDA judges to receive the Stage 1 prize of personalized entrepreneurial mentoring for each team. Winner notification letters with instructions will be sent to the email addresses of the Team Leader.

Congratulations to all Winners!

  1. Submission #4354 
    Team Members: Barbara St. Marie, Nate Shaw, Alison Lynch, Laura Markewicz, Doug Nelson, and You Wang
    Proposal Title: Reducing Opioid Misuse and Opioid Use Disorder Through Early Identification
  2. Submission #4426 
    Team Members: Clara Guo, Aleksandra Galaszewicz, and Nicolas Kim 
    Proposal Title: Lucid.Care Labs: quantifying behavioral health
  3. Submission #4437 
    Team Members: Heidi Lynch, Charlotte Blais, and Lydie Blundon
    Proposal Title: Kadia Health Digital App
  4. Submission #4442
    Team Members: Sarah Clingan and Lori Mattingly
    Proposal Title: XR Remedy: Immersive Telehealth Designed with the Patient's Needs in Mind
  5. Submission #4444
    Team Members: Beth Stormshak, Lisa Reiter, and Milagra Tyler
    Proposal Title: A digital health tool for families to prevent substance use disorders in children
  6. Submission #4446
    Team Members: Rosita Wong, Sean Allen, Yogesh Khatri, and Michael Tong
    Proposal Title: Develop an Office of AI JayBots
  7. Submission #4447
    Team Members: Alex Hatoum and Spencer Huggett
    Proposal Title: Algorithms to Power the Next Wave of Drug Discovery for Substance Use Disorders
  8. Submission #4448
    Team Members: Kelly Vinh, Ethan Hernandez, Ben Breen, and Rachel Sloans
    Proposal Title: Vaping Cessation Device: Reimagining the E-Cigarette
  9. Submission #4453
    Team Members: David Lee, Juan Carlos Pacheco, Alan Brookhart, and Kyle Jensen 
    Proposal Title: Combatting the dual chronic pain and opioid epidemic through a machine learning software for improved medicinal cannabis care
  10. Submission #4454
    Team Members: Somilez Francis, Shawkut Ali, and Arletha Lizana
    Proposal Title: EquiCare: Bridging Health Gaps through Substance Use Support
  11. Submission #4460
    Team Members: Kaileigh Byrne, Alain Litwin, and Sab Babu
    Proposal Title: Digital App for Stimulant Use Disorder Recovery Initiation and Maintenance
  12. Submission #4461
    Team Members: Asher Varon, Mahima Srivastava, and Srinivasan Raghavan
    Proposal Title: QuikReversal: Accessible and Disposable Closed-Loop Wearable for Overdose Detection and Antidote Delivery
  13. Submission #4467
    Team Members: Lola Akintola, Yang Wang, and Luana Colloca
    Proposal Title: A Personalized Virtual Reality Environment Tool to Mitigate Opioid Use Disorder
  14. Submission #4470
    Team Members: Chandra Fincke, Jeanie Chung, and Andrew Penna
    Proposal Title: TaeSun: a convenient, portable, and all-inclusive fentanyl testing solution
  15. Submission #4472
    Team Members: Samay Shah, Huzefa Johar, Cole Olson, and Amy Pham
    Proposal Title: Cellulose Nanofiber Hydrogel Bandage to Address the Xylazine Ulcer Epidemic

NIDA sincerely appreciates all the solvers who entered the Challenge and applauds their efforts to translate their research ideas into products that address substance use disorders. If you have questions about this challenge, contact the NIDA Challenge team at NIDAChallenge@nih.gov.

Get more information on NIDA’s 2023 “$100,000 Start an SUD Startup” Challenge.

“Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care” Challenge

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is launching the “Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care” Challenge. The United States is experiencing a significant behavioral health crisis, putting substantial strain on the health care system. Primary care practices are one potential setting in which to address this crisis, but primary care providers (PCPs) face substantial barriers in identifying individuals who may be at risk for substance use and delivering evidence-based prevention interventions to reduce the risk for use. This Challenge seeks creative, visionary, and actionable plans to implement substance use prevention interventions in primary care.

Winners Announced

In February 2023, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced the “Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care” Challenge. The judging of submissions is now complete. NIDA thanks all solvers for their thoughtful primary care-based models and is delighted to share the results of the Challenge.

NIDA is thrilled to announce three winners of $25,000 prizes for their submissions to the “Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care” Challenge.

  • Submission Team: Timothy Sowicz, PhD, RN and Tarnia Newton, DNP, FNP-C, The University of Arizona College of Nursing; Carrie Ann Langley, DNP, PhD, MPH, PMHNP-BC, The University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
    • Submission Title: Community Health Worker-led Substance Use Prevention Model for Recently Incarcerated Persons (Overview, PDF, 54KB)
  • Submission Team: Deepa Camenga, MD, MHS, and Mahnoosh Sharifi, MD, MPH, Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health; Kammarauche Aneni, MD, MHS, Yale School of Medicine; Benjamin Oldfield, MD, MHS, Fair Haven Community Health Care
    • Submission Title: Making Substance Use Prevention as Easy as Vaccination! Leveraging Machine Learning to Deliver Personalized Substance Use Prevention Interventions in Primary Care& (Overview, PDF, 30KB)
  • Submission Team: Constance van Eeghen, DrPH, Michelle Shepard, MD, PhD, Gail Rose, PhD, Alyssa Consigli, RD, CPHQ, and Peter Jackson, MD, University of Vermont; and Brittany Lindsey, LMHC, HealthCentric Advisors
    • Submission Title: Clinical Screening and Peer Interventions to Prevent Substance Use in At-Risk Adolescents (Overview, PDF, 44KB)

NIDA is also excited to announce the following honorable mention winners, which will receive cash prizes of $5,000 each.

  • University of Arkansas – The Rapid Razorback Screening Campaign (RRSC)
  • University of North Carolina and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with community experts from WakeMed Children’s Primary Care, RTI International, Arizona State University, Boston University, and Kaiser Permanente – Substance Use Prevention Screening and Intervention in Primary Care: The Prevention 2U Model
  • Arizona State University, University of Utah, Bayless Integrated Healthcare, and Family Check-Up 4 Health Community Advisory Board – Family Check-Up 4 Health (FCU4Health)
  • University of Washington and Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington State – Girls advocacy and impact network +: A gender-responsive substance use prevention model for girl-identified youth

NIDA sincerely appreciates all the solvers who entered the Challenge and applauds their efforts in developing innovative models for substance use risk screening and prevention services in primary care.

Get more information on the Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care Challenge.

What is a Challenge/Prize?

  • Challenges are an appeal to a diverse array of potential ‘solvers’ to provide a solution for a particular goal.
  • Typically, Challenges are ‘crowdsourced’ to a large group of people, commonly via the internet, to obtain a needed service, idea, concept, product, etc. from sources non-traditional sources.
  • Prizes – monetary and/or non-monetary – often accompany challenges.
  • Challenges/prizes are an alternative funding mechanism to contracts or grants.
  • Challenges are specific, detailed, and actionable. They need to be formulated, posted to a wide-audience, tracked, judged and awarded.

Related Links

Past Challenges

2022 “$100,000 Start an SUD Startup” Challenge

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announces the annual “$100,000 Start an SUD Startup” Challenge. The Challenge goal is to support research ideas in the area of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) that are intended to be the foundation for the development of successful new startups. NIDA expects that the Challenge will enable the winning teams to test the premise that their research idea can be fostered into a biotech startup, and that eventually, the newly created startups will contribute to the pool of innovative small business companies that can successfully compete for NIDA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding.

Get more information on the 2022 Start an SUD Startup Challenge.

Cause of Death Elucidated (CODE) in Drug Overdose Challenge

UPDATE: NIDA sincerely appreciates all the solvers who entered the Challenge and is excited to announce the winners. See the official announcement.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is launching the “Cause of Death Elucidated (CODE) in Drug Overdose” Challenge, which is soliciting ideas for novel postmortem toxicology screening tools that would be used to inform and streamline suspected drug overdose death investigations and to improve drug specification in overdose death counts. It is not expected or required that solvers currently have working prototypes. Solvers with prototypes at any stage of development or with prototypes that may be pivoted to postmortem toxicology screening are encouraged to submit their ideas to the Challenge. Ideas submitted to the Challenge must have a strong and rigorous scientific basis and should demonstrate that the proposed solution will be technically feasible with further support for development. To complement NIDA’s efforts with this Challenge, NIDA also intends to announce separate funding opportunities, available to all interested parties and subject to applicable competitive processes, to support research and development efforts in this area.

Get more information on the CODE in Drug Overdose Challenge.

Product Prototypes to Combat Drug Craving Challenge

UPDATE: NIDA sincerely appreciates all the solvers who entered the Challenge and is excited to announce the winners. See the official announcement.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is announcing the “Product Prototypes to Combat Drug Craving” Challenge. The Challenge goal is to solicit working prototypes of multifaceted products that will help with drug craving in people who experience substance use problems or with substance use disorder (SUD). Ideally, these multifaceted product prototypes would combine several different tools or features to address drug craving, providing long-term, on-demand, and personalized comprehensive assistance that can ultimately reduce the likelihood of return to use (also known as recurrence). NIDA expects that the Challenge will inspire many different product prototypes to help people address their drug cravings and prevent recurrence of drug use.

Get more information on the Product Prototypes to Combat Drug Craving Challenge

Mapping Patient Journeys in Drug Addiction Treatment Challenge

UPDATE: NIDA sincerely appreciates all the solvers who entered the Challenge and is excited to announce the winners. See the official announcement.

The Challenge goal is to inspire the creation of actionable patient journey maps that might further the understanding of the obstacles that patients face in getting treatment for drug addiction, particularly while our country is in the middle of an ongoing opioid crisis. NIDA invites participants to identify specific points during the patient journey where patients encounter the most difficulty, enabling NIDA to focus new research efforts into alleviating those areas of difficulty in patients’ drug addiction treatment journeys. The Challenge will offer up to three awards for first, second, and third place entries of $50,000, $30,000, and $20,000 each, respectively. The total purse is up to $100,000.

Get more information about the Mapping Patient Journeys in Drug Addiction Treatment Challenge.

I Strengthen My Nation - Challenge Programs
Image
Group of indigenous teens
Courtesy of We R Native

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in partnership with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), through the We R Native program is hosting two challenge competitions to recognize the inherent strengths and resiliencies of Indigenous people and culture that foster healthy communities and protect against substance use.

  • Art Challenge: We invite youth to submit any original form of art and describe how it depicts resilience against drug abuse to win $500 (individual submission) or $1000 (group submission). We will award approximately 25 prizes!
  • Community Project Intervention Challenge: We invite youth to develop plans for a a project that they believe would augment resilience to substance abuse in communities, submitting to us a plan for the project and video description. Prizes for each proposed project will be up to $10,000 (minimum award $2000).
2021 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

UPDATE: NIDA is excited to announce the Challenge winners. See the official announcement 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announces the annual “$100,000 for Start a SUD Startup” Challenge. The Challenge goal is to support research ideas in the area of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) that are intended to be the foundation for the development of successful new startups. NIDA expects that the Challenge will enable the winners to test the premise that their research idea can be fostered into a biotech startup, and that eventually the newly created startups will contribute to the pool of innovative small business companies that can successfully compete for NIDA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding.

The Challenge will offer up to ten awards of $10,000 each and technical expertise and mentoring from NIDA biomedical entrepreneurship experts. The Challenge total purse is up to $100,000.

Get more information about the 2021 $100,000 Start an SUD Startup challenge

2020 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

Congratulations to all new Winners!

The judging of the NIDA “$100,000 for Start a SUD Startup 2020” Spring Challenge is now completed. The following startup ideas have been selected by the NIDA judges to receive a cash prize award in the amount of $10,000 per proposal plus the access to the personalized entrepreneurial mentoring for each team. Winner notification letters with instructions will be sent to the email addresses of the main applicant/proposal submitter.

  1. Applicant: Team 24: Josh Israel, team leader
    Proposal: The Hale Device, a digital therapeutic to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms
  2. Applicant: Team 35: Diana Martinez, Qi Wang and Howard Levin
    Proposal: Development of ‘On Demand Electrostimulation’ for addiction
  3. Applicant: Team 9: Marc Kaufman, team leader
    Proposal: Rapid attenuation of withdrawal symptoms in people with Opioid Use Disorder by on-demand Xe inhalation.
  4. Applicant: Team 43: Phillip Torralva, team leader
    Proposal: Drug discovery for FIRE (“fentanyl induced respiratory effects”) syndrome
  5. Applicant: Team 23: Timothy Murphy, team leader
    Proposal: Transcatheter occlusion of gastric arteries to treat Substance Use Disorders
  6. Applicant: Team 32: Beth Lambeth, team leader
    Proposal: Optimization of a container molecule technology for treating METH overdoses
  7. Applicant: Team 47: Jeff Stuewig and June Tangney
    Proposal: 13 million Missed Opportunities: Brief Computerized Interventions to Reduce Jail Inmates’ Substance Misuse and Recidivism
  8. Applicant: Team 13: Courtney Miller, Patrick Griffin, Theodore Kamenecka
    Proposal: Developing a novel medication for Methamphetamine Use Disorders
  9. Applicant: Team 61: James Lott, Vernon Gair, Nadeen Siddiqui
    Proposal: A SaaS Platform That Enables Initiation of Medication-Assisted Treatment Care at Local Community Pharmacies
  10. Applicant: Team 60: Michael Toledano, Kevin Beier, Milton Greenberg
    Proposal: Development of a novel prophylactic biopharmaceutical to prevent relapse in SUD patients
  11. Applicant: Team 16: Hugh Lee, Chi Hwan Lee, Jacqueline Linnes, Craig Goergen
    Proposal: Towards closed-loop automatic antidote delivery system for opioid overdose
  12. Applicant: Team 3: Minhee Sung, Lena Goldstein, Sol Bloomfield, Joshua Ip, Jacob Garetti, Chandra Fincke
    Proposal: EnlighteN Naloxone Sensory Injector

For Further Information Contact: 

  • Elena Koustova, Ph.D., MBA, Director, Office of Translational Initiatives and Program Innovations (OTIPI), NIDA Challenge Manager, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 6001 Executive Blvd Room 4206, MSC 9555 Bethesda, MD 20892-9555. Phone: (301) 496-8768, Email: elena.koustova@nih.gov
2019 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

The judging of the Challenge is now completed. Based upon the Challenge criteria, the judging panel has selected 9 submissions for the Challenge awards:

  1. Applicant: Biomotivate 
    Proposal: Biomotivate: A digital motivation platform for motivation to stay sober from substance use disorders
  2. Applicant: District Connect 
    Proposal: District Connect: A mobile grocery store 
  3. Applicant: Kaleidoscopes 
    Proposal: Virtual reality platform for enhancing self-regulation through biofeedback
  4. Applicant: KTO (Knowledge to Own) 
    Proposal: Affordable Housing
  5. Applicant: Neurotype 
    Proposal: Assessing drug cue reactivity (DCR) with NeurotypeDCR
  6. Applicant: PillSafe 
    Proposal: PillSafe: Addressing SUD among adolescents
  7. Applicant: PrescribeAI 
    Proposal: A platform that helps insurance companies to identify high-risk opioid prescribers  
  8. Applicant: RecoverWe 
    Proposal:  RecoverWe Platform for mapping of addition recovery resources and a peer navigation service
  9. Applicant: U-Check-IT 
    Proposal: U-Check-It™ System: A non-invasive health monitoring system to track stress and opioid usage in real-time
2018 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

Award Winners

The judging of the Challenge is now completed. Based upon the Challenge criteria, the judging panel has selected 10 submissions for the Challenge awards:

  1. Applicant:  Premedly
    Proposal: A learning platform to help rehabilitation staff add key soft skill competencies to improve patient outcomes
  2. Applicant:  We are Marcus
    Proposal: An enterprise mentoring platform for schools directed at improving student outcomes on substance abuse and increase engagement in school and youth programs
  3. Applicant: Scite
    Proposal: A Citation Analysis Platform (R-factor: the measure of scientific veracity)
  4. Applicant: SYNVENTA
    Proposal: Removing liabilities with novel FDC
  5. Applicant: GOODLER
    Proposal: Technology to build resilience in distressed communities
  6. Applicant: Sound Life Sciences
    Proposal: Second Chance: opioid overdose detection using smartphones 
  7. Applicant: Data Quality Label
    Proposal: Analytics Platform for risk management in drug discovery
  8. Applicant: Henry Heath
    Proposal: Culturally sensitive teletherapy for SUD
  9. Applicant: FMB Technologies
    Proposal: A miniaturized telemetry device for data collection and transmission
  10. Applicant: Sure Med Compliance
    Proposal: Care Continuity Program (CCP)
2017 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

Award Winners:

  • Team 1: Prapela (Frank Minella, Leslie Prichep, Alejandro Zamorano, William Koppes)
    Challenge Submission Title: Prapela – an award-winning solution for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
  • Team 2: Pillsy (Optimize Health)
    Challenge Submission Title: Connected Pharmacy Platform to Improve Adherence for Opioid Agonists
  • Team 3: Cornell University
    Challenge Submission Title: Cornell Engineering World Health – SUD Startup Challenge Proposal
  • Team 4: Yale University
    Challenge Submission Title: Test Your Addictions
  • Team 5: Mindset-SUD
    Challenge Submission Title: Mindset-SUD: A Mobile Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Tool
  • Team 6: Hey, Charlie
    Challenge Submission Title: Hey, Charlie: A Digital Platform for Social Rebuilding During Recovery
  • Team 7: OPAT (F3 Healthcare)
    Challenge Submission Title: Opioid Prescribing Awareness Tool
  • Team 8: Neurocarrus
    Challenge Submission Title: Non-addictive Pain Therapeutics by Sensory Neuron Targeting
  • Team 9: S-3 Research
    Challenge Submission Title: A Solution to Automatically Detect, Classify, and Report Illicit Online Pharmacies Selling Controlled Substances
  • Team 10: UCLA (BDH Pharma)
    Challenge Submission Title: Medication Development for Substance Use Disorders
2016 - $100,000 for Start a SUD Startup

Award Winners:

  • Team 1: PainQx Inc. (Frank Minella, Leslie Prichep, Alejandro Zamorano, William Koppes)
    Challenge Submission Title: PQX Objective Pain Measurement
    1R44 DA045385-01: Development of a Clinical Tool Utilizing an EEG Based Algorithm for the Objective Quantification of Pain
    The 1R44 DA045385-01 application was not discussed during the review meeting.
    The PainQx researchers proposed to develop a quantitative electro-encephalogram (qEEG) measure of pain. Reviewers found that validating the qEEG measure against self-reported pain in a chronic pain cohort is contradictory. It wasn’t clear that this will result in a “better” measure of pain compared to self-report. The proposal was found lacking details on the actual system prototype, pain classification algorithm, a proper control group in Phase I, discussion of factors other than age that might influence pain perception, and clear milestones to show feasibility of pain prediction and to justify progression to Phase II.
    After discussion of the Summary of Statement with OPIPI the application was submitted in December 2017 to RFA-DA-18-012 as 1R44 DA046964-01: Development of a Medical Device Utilizing an EEG-Based Algorithm for the Objective Quantification of Pain. The application is currently pending NIDA review.
  • Team 2: Vlad Verkhusha and Daria Shcherbakova from Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    Challenge Submission Title: Near-infrared biosensors and optogenetics to advance preclinical studies in neurobiology
    This team was not incorporated a small business by the end of 2017 and keeps working with OTIPI to develop MVP and SBIR application
  • Team 3: Florida International University team (Francisco R. Ortega, Armando Barreto, Jules Calella, Alain Galvan, Santiago Bolivar)
    Challenge Submission Title: Bio-Interactive Device for SUD
    This team received the OTIPI mentorship and performed significant work to develop MVP. As the result of due diligences, they determine no path of the product to the market due to the product cost and regulatory hurdles. The team was not incorporated a small business.
  • Team 4: Beacon Health. Co (Shrenik Jain)
    Challenge Submission Title: Applying Natural Language Processing to Increase Provider Efficiency in SUD group therapy setting
    Created team for the SBIR application (Jain Shrenik, Ranney Megan, Kristen Morgan, Francesca Beaudoin, Langdon, Kirsten J, Roche Dan)
    1R43 DA045402-01: Applying Natural Language Processing to Increase Provider Efficiency and Patient Engagement in SUD Group Therapy.
    The 1R43 DA045402-01 application was not discussed during the review meeting.
    Beacon Tech proposed to use a mobile app with underlying NLP for sentiment analysis to improve management of substance abuse disorders. Reviewers found that application presents underdeveloped scientific model of sentiment analysis influencing app enhancement, patient engagement, and clinical outcomes. Despite of listed extensive expertise, there was little description of project management and investigator coordination. The study design as a controlled trial was lacking a description of measurable results. The study portion of the application could benefit from involvement of a statistician familiar with clinical trials and clarifying the role of the involved personal.
    Currently, OTIPI is working with the team to address review comments, straight the team and resubmit application.
  • Team 5: Epidemic Solutions, Inc. (Joseph Insler, Scott Weiner, John Moustoukas, Ajoy Basu, Michael Gilbert)
    Challenge Submission Title: Opioid Recovery Bracelet
    1R43 DA045423-01: Overdose Recovery Bracelet: A wearable device that detects opioid overdose and automatically injects life-saving naloxone without the help of others.
    The 1R43 DA045423-01 application was not discussed during the review meeting.
    Epidemic Solutions Inc. proposed development of a wearable system that can detect episode of opioid overdose and automatically inject antidote. Review found that there are practical and safety issues associated with the proposed system, and the research approach was poorly developed. Although the research team is strong in the clinical side, there is a lack of strong engineering/technical members to ensure the success of this project. Overall, while the medical need is strong, the concerns of practicality and safety and the poorly developed research approach tempered the enthusiasm of the reviewers for this proposal.
  • Team 6: JADE Biotech (John Lowman, Randall Brenn, Elora Hilmas, Dan Charytonowicz)
    Challenge Submission Title: Developing a Solution to Prevent the Diversion, Abuse, and Addiction to Hospital Narcotic Waste
    This team received the OTIPI mentorship and performed significant work to develop MVP. As the result of due diligences, they determine no path of the product to the market due to the product cost and regulatory hurdles. The team was not incorporated a small business.
  • Team 7: University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Bodhi Inc. (Michael Wesley, Josh Lile, Arit Harvanko, David Hempy)
    Challenge Submission Title: BiOfeedback and brain stimulation DEvicE
    The team was incorporated a small business in September 2017 and submitted the proposal as a response to PHS2018-1 NIDA, the topic #164 “Development of Portable Neuromodulatory Devices for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders”. The proposal is currently pending NIDA review.
  • Team 8: Care Analytics, University of Texas Health Science Center (Benson M Irungu, Mon-Ju Wu, Phillip Beckett, Tom Lee)
    Challenge Submission Title: A software tool to predict relapse related readmissions and provide post-discharge care coordination
    During MVP development process the team joined Medical Innovators Company LLC
    1R43 DA045405-01: A software solution to provide seamless care coordination and objective risk stratification to reduce relapse in substance use.
    1R43 DA045405-01 application was discussed during the review study section and received the Priority Score of 68.
    The Medical Innovators Company proposed to develop software as a service (SAAS) technology that will be able to facilitate collection, curation and end-user co-creation of community social resource information. The tool is to identify people at risk for substance use disorder (SUD) relapse. Reviewer found that this project was lacking input from experts in SUD and statisticians. The approach discussed interviews but the participant group and the methods are not clear. There are also no specifics about how the data will be obtained from patients, and no clear methods and description of the predictive algorithm were presented. Reviewers founded also weakness in the supportive cited literature.
    OTIPI discussed the Summary Statement to address comments and propose the way to align budget efforts to actual proposed work.
    Following the significant revision of the application, the team has submitted it to the NSF SBIR program and was selected for funding in December 2017.
  • Team 9: Clare Zhu and Anin Sayana
    Challenge Submission Title: Blockchain-Based Healthcare Data Management
    The team had only junior scientists with minimal expertise for the product development who could not allocate the efforts and resources to complete MVP development. The team received the OTIPI training but decided do not incorporate a small business and do not submit a SBIR application.
  • Team 10: Viralchemy Bioscience (Trevor Gale, Tim Horton, Ben Bradley)
    Challenge Submission Title: Proteomics, Informatics, & Data Mining to Reduce Costs of Drug Development for Substance Use Disorders
    The team had only junior scientists with minimal expertise for the product development who could not allocate the efforts and resources to complete MVP development. The team received the OTIPI training but decided do not incorporate a small business and do not submit a SBIR application.
2016 - Addiction Research: There’s an App for That

The goal of this challenge was to create an app to be used by addiction researchers in future studies which will help to improve the scientific understanding of drug use and addiction. The app will: allow researchers to engage “citizen scientists” and to recruit a large and varied number of willing study participants; present informed-consent materials; collect data frequently on a broad range of variables. NIDA encourages addiction researchers to use the newly available technical capabilities of ResearchKit™ and seek collaboration(s) with app developers and engineers to create the winning research app. (Submission Period: November 3, 2015 - April 29, 2016.)  For more information go to nida.ideascale.com.

Award Winners

Based upon the Challenge criteria, the judging panel selected:

  • First place - Greg Gruse, ICF International Inc., Rockville, MD for the submission entitled “Track the Crave” 
    Track the Crave is an app developed to target smokers who are trying to quit and willing to provide detailed information about the circumstances surrounding their cravings. This app has the potential to help users in their quit attempt as well as provide a wealth of data that can inform future efforts to provide tailored and adaptive cessation interventions to smokers. The study aims to determine predictors of smoking relapse following a quit attempt, and identify if there are different patterns of quit trajectories.  Researchers will be able to use this information to better understand the nuances of the quitting process and better assist smokers in permanently quitting.
  • Second place - Joshua Song, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI for the submission entitled “Substance Abuse Research Assistant (SARA)”
    SARA is a flexible app platform that is customizable by researchers to integrate multiple data collection tools including wearable sensors, cognitive tasks, and self-report relevant for substance use research. The SARA study will focus on adolescents and emerging adults to understand initiation and escalation of drug use among youth. The app has an innovative engagement strategy providing data visualization and dynamic feedback to users.  
  • Third place - Nancy Saccone, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO for the submission entitled “Genomics of Addiction (GENA) App”.
    GENA app is a platform for adults who are participating in research programs conducted by genomic company 23andMe. The GENA study aims to integrate the existing 23andMe genetic data with substance use information to identify genetic and biological contributors to addiction. Researchers will drive large-scale human genomic studies of substance use disorders, with the goal of discovering important biological mechanisms and ultimately aiding the development of improved treatment and prevention strategies.

We appreciate all of the time and effort that went into each application, and encourage applicants to consider additional NIDA Challenges.

2015 - Harnessing Insights from other Disciplines to Advance Drug Abuse and Addiction Research

After completing a thorough review of the applications received, the judging panel found that none was sufficiently meritorious and responsive to the concept of the challenge. NIDA has therefore decided not to award any prizes. We appreciate all of the time and effort that went into each application. (Submission Period: May 26, 2015 - June 30, 2015)

2015 - Innovations in Measuring and Managing Addiction Treatment Quality

After completing a thorough review of the applications received, the judging panel found that none was sufficiently responsive to the concept of the challenge to meet the standard for a First Prize Award.  NIDA is awarding a meritorious/ honorable award of $10,000 to Jeremy Martinez, MD, Matrix Institute on Addictions, Los Angeles, CA for the submission title: “The Patient-Oriented Treatment Information Framework (POTIF)”.  We appreciate all of the time and effort that went into each application, and encourage applicants to consider additional NIDA Challenges. (Submission Period: Jan. 14, 2015 - June 1, 2015)

Challenge Program Staff

Elena Koustova, Ph.D., MBA
Director, Office of Translational Initiatives and Program Innovations (OTIPI)
NIDA Challenge Manager
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
6001 Executive Blvd Room 4286, MSC 9555
Bethesda, MD 20892-9555
Phone: (301) 496-8768