Today, together with our partners Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN), we have the great honor of opening the Conquer Paralysis Now Challenge; An ambitious, multi-year program of prizes and grants which is designed to stimulate inventive researchers to drastically improve the lives of Spinal Cord Injury patients.
There are over a million people living with SCI in the US alone, and ultimately, CPN’s mission is to help them carry out every day functions that the rest of us take for granted like drinking a glass of water or getting up from a chair. The Challenge Program incentivizes researchers by offering grants to fund promising work, prizes to recognize progress, and incentivize cross-discipline collaboration and failure-sharing. The $10 million Grand Prize will be awarded for research that shows functional recovery in at least two areas for human patients, with more specific criteria forthcoming as the program is rolled out over the coming years.
I encourage you to take a look at the CPN portal: watch the video testimonials of those affected by SCI, read about why CPN has chosen to run a Grand Challenge, and explore the various grants already open for year 1. Whether you’re a scientist eager to enter the Challenge, or an SCI advocate looking to spread the word to your network, we welcome everyone’s support.
We began working with CPN in 2011, and I have had the pleasure of being part of the project team since day one. In the three years that have passed, we’ve seen a lot of change. More people have been affected by Spinal Cord Injury. Research has progressed. CPN even changed its name, from the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, after its determined and inspirational founder. Through these changes, the one thing that has remained constant is the incredible commitment of Sam Schmidt, foundation CEO Ida Cahill, and the entire CPN board and team to working towards a cure of Spinal Cord Injury. We’ve witnessed first-hand their optimism, and continue to be inspired by their unfailing resolve. We hope this determination to tackle Spinal Cord Injury will be contagious!
Siobhán Gibney Gomis, Vice President, Business Development for Canada, Pacific Northwest and Global Nonprofits at InnoCentive