Wellcome Leap Program: The First 1000 Days - Promoting Healthy Brain Networks

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Entitat convocant:
Wellcome Trust
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Founded in 1936, the Wellcome Trust is an independent foundation that seeks to improve health by supporting researchers and addressing big health challenges. The Wellcome Leap Program aims to deliver breakthroughs in human health by providing funding at scale and within short timeframes.

Call objectives

Wellcome Leap's second funding initiative is The First 1000 Days - Promoting Healthy Brain Networks. It focuses on the early stages of life, when children develop critical cognitive abilities, such as executive function (EF) and self-regulation.

The scheme goals are to:

  • Develop a fully integrated model and quantitative measurement tools of network development in the first 1000 days, sufficient to predict EF formation before a child's first birthday, with 80% predictive validity for EF outcomes at three years of age.
  • Create scalable methods for optimising promotion, prevention, screening and therapeutic interventions to improve EF by at least 20% in 80% of children before three years of age. Of interest are improvements from underdeveloped EF to normative or from normative to well-developed EF across the population to deliver the broadest impact. Techniques that improve EF by 80% or more in 20% of at-risk children are important, but they are not the sole focus.

Call options

It is thought that quality of life for large numbers of people could be improved if accurate, scalable, early screening methods to predict EF outcomes, risk-stratify children and predict responses to interventions in the first 1000 days could be developed.

Initial abstracts are required in the following thrust areas:

  • Thrust Area 1: Data collection, measurement and assessment in infants.
  • Thrust Area 2: Developing and validating models of network development.
  • Thrust Area 3: Methods for scalable screening, promotion, prevention and intervention.

Proposers should clearly relate work in these thrust areas to one or more of the scheme goals.


Funding will be provided for work carried out over three years (with a potential additional one-year option).

Award amounts are dependent on the nature of the proposals submitted and work selected for funding. There are no pre-set number of awards. The total programme budget is $45 million.

Eligible costs are full direct and government-certified indirect costs appropriate to the execution of the research.



Application is open to universities, research institutions, companies of any size (including venture-backed), government organisations and non-profit research organisations.

Individuals or small teams are encouraged to apply in the thrust areas best aligned with their expertise and capabilities. It is not necessary to form a large consortium or team specifically to address all thrust areas or an entire goal in a single abstract or proposal.

Applicants can be based in any country around the world.



The application process starts with an abstract submission, which is then followed by a full proposal. The following key dates apply:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 8 April 2021 (23:59 ET)
  • Full proposal submission deadline: 24 May 2021.

Abstracts and full proposals should be submitted via the online application portal (open 48 hours before the submission deadline).

Multiple collaborators can be on a single submission, but only the Principal Investigator will be able to submit the application on the portal.

In case of interest, please contact lnorton(ELIMINAR)@fsjd.org