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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Pioneering Ideas – Technology, Infrastructure, and Health

Deadline: October 17, 2018

Pioneering Ideas can help anticipate the future and consider new and unconventional perspectives and approaches to building a Culture of Health. The goal of the Pioneering Ideas is to explore; to look into the future and put health first as the Foundation helps to design for changes in how people live, learn, work and play; to wade into uncharted territory in order to better understand what new trends, opportunities, and breakthrough ideas can enable everyone in America to live the healthiest life possible.

Within the Pioneering Ideas program area, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is seeking proposals on technology, infrastructure, and health. Where people live, how they get around, and how they work and play are increasingly influenced by technology. As RWJF looks to the future, it anticipates changes to infrastructure, spurred by technological innovation, that could significantly impact health.

Whether considering how driverless transportation will reshape cities or how large data centers might impact rural communities, RWJF is interested in understanding how emerging technologies will transform infrastructure in ways that might help or hinder opportunities for everyone in America to live a healthier life, now and in the future.

With regard to technology, RWJF is primarily interested in digital technologies—the electronic tools, systems and structures that generate, store, and interpret data. These range from sensors and server farms, to virtual reality, and more.

When RWJF talks about infrastructure, it means physical infrastructure, like roads and electrical grids, as well as data infrastructure, which generates, collects and supports the flow of information, and human infrastructure—the network of people—that supports the functioning of society.

Through this exploration RWJF is looking for projects that explore the relationship between technology, infrastructure, and health and examine how technology’s impact on infrastructure in the near future (5-10 years) could influence our efforts to improve health equity in the United States. Projects should be future-oriented, cultivating lessons that will hold relevance in the years to come, and can include, but are not limited to:

  • Explorations of how data-driven infrastructure will enable or constrain access to healthy choices in everyday life.
  • Frameworks for how we support design, decision-making and governance of infrastructures that will ensure more equitable health outcomes for all in America.
  • Meta-analyses of how patterns of technology use influence decisions about the use and value of physical spaces.
  • Projects that document the ways in which Internet of Things-based sensor networks and surveillance infrastructure are increasingly embedded in public spaces with varying impacts on health and well-being.
  • Applied research projects that identify new ways to govern and regulate the development and application of data-driven technologies that have an impact on infrastructure and health.
  • Historical analyses of the technology industry’s impact on health via infrastructure—translating these lessons into best practices for various stakeholders.

Amount: A total of $2,400,000 is available to make awards that range from $200,000-$400,000 and have a project term of between 12-36 months.

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations and public agencies will be the primary recipients.

Link: https://www.rwjf.org/en/how-we-work/submit-a-proposal.html

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