The Richard Rainwater Prize Program

Richard Rainwater, a true visionary and leader, understood that the research he was funding might not be able to help him directly, but he knew the work was important, cutting edge and was going to inevitably lead to better treatments for patients like him in the future. He therefore dedicated funds to develop a prize program that would launch when the progress in science grew closer to helping patients. Mr. Rainwater passed away in 2015 from progressive supranuclear palsy, yet his legacy lives on in the fight to end neurodegenerative disease.

 

Nominate Online

About the Program

The Rainwater Prize Program is designed to promote four main prize categories, one of which is an annual prize, the second an early-career prize, and the last two being milestone/breakthrough prizes that are only awarded upon achievement of the defined parameters.

The objective of all the prize categories is to encourage and accelerate scientific progress toward new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases by;

  1. Enhancing awareness of the critical gaps in neurodegenerative research.
  2. Attracting researchers to work on tauopathies.
  3. Awarding scientific achievements that lead to new treatments for PSP.

The Prizes are as follows:

  • The Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research
  • The Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientists
  • The Rainwater Milestone Prize for Advances in Tauopathy Research
  • The Rainwater Breakthrough Prize for Effective Treatments in PSP

This is the first year of the prize program with the first prize(s) to be awarded in February 2020. While the Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research annual prize will be awarded in 2020, and awarded each year after, the Milestone and Breakthrough prizes may or may not be awarded based on this year’s nominations and discoveries. All awards may be awarded to individuals or shared as teams at the discretion of the selection committee.

 

The Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research

This prize recognizes investigator(s) whose work is considered a significant contribution to our understanding of Tau-related diseases.  Nominees will be considered through a non-self-nomination process for published, peer-reviewed tau-related research. The nominations are open for all researchers, from all countries, and research institutional affiliations.  Awardees will be chosen by a committee of international scientific leaders from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. The awardee will be chosen based on their scientific contributions, leadership, mentorship, and overall contributions to the scientific community.

This award will consist of a $250K prize provided through a fund started by Richard Rainwater at the North Texas Community Foundation. While it is our hope that the prize money will be used to further the recipient’s research in neurodegenerative disease, the prize recipient will only be able to use the funds for non-profit purposes.

The awardee(s) will be honored at an award presentation ceremony in Washington DC, February 2020. All reasonable travel expenses for awardee(s) will be covered by the foundation. The awardee will also be invited to present their findings at the 2020 meeting co-hosted by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

 

The Rainwater Prize for Innovative Early-Career Scientists

This prize is intended to reward outstanding achievements of a scientist either as a first author or senior author on published neurodegenerative disease research findings.  This prize aims to support exceptionally productive scientists who are in the early formative stages of their academic career (within 5 years of PI appointment) and who plan to make a long-term career commitment to research aligned with the mission areas of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.   Nominees will be considered through a non-self-nomination process for published, peer-reviewed neurodegenerative disease research.  Awardees will be chosen by a committee of international scientific leaders from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. The awardee will be chosen based on their scientific contributions, leadership, mentorship, and overall contributions to the scientific community.

This award will consist of a $150K prize provided through a fund started by Richard Rainwater at the North Texas Community Foundation. While it is our hope that the prize money will be used to further the recipient’s research in neurodegenerative disease, the prize recipient will only be able to use the funds for non-profit purposes.

Please nominate here by May 15th 2019!

After close of nominations, a follow-up email will be sent to finalist nominees to request a 1-2 page summary of their research program aims and strategy. The awardee(s) will be honored at an award presentation ceremony in Washington DC, February 2020. All reasonable travel expenses for awardee(s) will be covered by the foundation. The awardee will also be invited to present their findings at the 2020 meeting co-hosted by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

 

The Rainwater Milestone Prize for Advances in Tauopathy Research

This prize recognizes investigator(s) whose work is considered a significant contribution to our understanding of Tau-related diseases by addressing critical gaps in technology and disease knowledge that will help the scientific community develop effective treatments. Nominees will be considered through a non-self-nomination process for published, peer-reviewed tau-related research and demonstration of open sharing of data and technology or models.  The nominations are open for all researchers, from all countries, and research institutional affiliations.

Awardees will be chosen by a committee of international scientific leaders from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. The awardee will be chosen based on their scientific contributions to the specified milestones, demonstrated willingness to collaborate and share scientific resources, leadership, mentorship, and overall contributions to the scientific community.

This prize will be awarded upon milestone completion and may or may not be awarded each year. This award may be awarded to individuals or teams of scientists.

Current 2018/2019 Milestone Prize categories:

To find a better treatment, we need to better understand the disease –

Milestone Prize: Structure, Function, and Disease Mechanisms

  • Tau protein modifications and how these function in health and disease
  • Mechanism of Tau aggregation and transmission (inside and outside cell)
  • Mechanism of glial and neuronal loss

For Clinical trials to be more effective we must be able to stratify patients more accurately for clinical trials and detect tauopathies early –

Milestone Prize: Risk and Prevention

  • Genetic/Epigenetic biomarkers, Polygenic risk assessment
  • Predictors of Tau normal vs. dysfunction
  • Progression monitoring
  • Clinical trial stratification

To make the discoveries happen, we need better models and technology that can predict human response to treatments –

Milestone Prize: Advances in Drug Development Models and Technology

  • Mouse or other in vivo, clinically relevant model
  • Clinical drug efficacy prediction models
  • Advances in imaging

This award will consist of an up to $2M prize provided through a fund started by Richard Rainwater at the North Texas Community Foundation. While it is our hope that the prize money will be used to further the recipient’s neurodegenerative disease research, the prize recipient will only be able to use the funds for non-profit purposes.

If awarded in this round, the awardee(s) will be honored at an award presentation ceremony in Washington DC, February 2020.  All reasonable travel expenses for awardee(s) will be covered by the foundation. The awardee will also be invited to present their findings at the 2020 meeting co-hosted by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

 

The Rainwater Breakthrough Prize for Effective Treatments in PSP

This prize recognizes investigator(s) whose work is considered a significant contribution to the development of effective treatments for PSP. Nominees will be considered through a non-self-nomination process for published, peer-reviewed PSP-related research that led to a treatment that has significant improvement of welfare for patients.  The nominations are open for all researchers, from all countries, and research institutional affiliations.

Awardees will be chosen by a committee of international scientific leaders from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. The awardee will be chosen based on their scientific contributions that ultimately led to the development of treatments for PSP, demonstrated willingness to collaborate and share scientific resources, leadership, mentorship, and overall contributions to the scientific community.

This prize will be awarded to the basic science, translational research that led to the development and clinical use of a treatment with significant, measurable improvement of life for PSP patients. This prize may or may not be awarded each year and may be awarded to individuals or teams of scientists.

Current 2018/2019 Breakthrough Prize categories:

  • $2M – FDA approved treatment that meaningfully extends good quality of life for patients
  • $4M – FDA approved treatment that cures PSP early in progression
  • $10M – FDA approved treatment that prevents PSP and/or reverses disease damage

This award will consist of an up to $10M prize provided through a fund started by Richard Rainwater at the North Texas Community Foundation. While it is our hope that the prize money will be used to further the recipient’s neurodegenerative disease research, the prize recipient will only be able to use the funds for non-profit purposes.

If awarded in this round, the awardee(s) will be honored at an award presentation ceremony in Washington DC in February 2020.  All reasonable travel expenses for awardee(s) will be covered by the foundation. The awardee will also be invited to present their findings at the 2020 meeting co-hosted by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

 

About the Application

Eligibility of Nominees and Nominators

Eligible Nominees must:

  • Have made significant contributions to research in Tau-related diseases within the scope of the prize for which the nominee is being considered.

The following are not eligible:

  • Self-nominations
  • Past recipients of the same award

Anyone can nominate an individual or team. 

 

Application Process

Anyone is eligible to submit one nomination for an award, and only one nomination per calendar year. Self-nominations are not permitted. Nominations will be submitted through an online nomination form. Nomination will remain open until May 15th, 2019.  (EXTENDED)

Click here to nominate online

Completed applications submitted no later than May 15th, 2019 will be prescreened for continued eligibility and reviewed by the selection committee.

The nominee selected for an award will be contacted in October 2019 to confirm acceptance of the award and the terms of the award. The awardee must be able to accept the award at a ceremony in Washington DC in February 2020 and invited to give a scientific presentation. The awardee must allow for his/her photo, information of award, ceremony details and discovery contributions to be publicly available. If the award is not accepted, or the recipient no longer eligible, the nominee is required to keep all notices around their selection confidential. An awardee that accepts the award must keep all results of the prize competition confidential until the Rainwater Charitable Foundation official award announcement is released.

 

Evaluation Criteria

Nominees who have met all eligibility criteria and preliminary screening will be reviewed by the selection committee.  The following criteria will be used to evaluate the applications for the Rainwater Prize Program:

Research Discovery (Weight 70%) – The nominee must have contributed significantly to the discovery for which the award category outlines.  The scope of review will involve applicability to award nominated for, quality of peer-reviewed research findings, validation by the scientific community, research citations, significant impact for neurodegenerative disease, applicability to a tauopathy, contribution to development of technology or platform, and has the finding been incorporated into common teaching and across the scientific community.

Leadership (weight 30%) – The nominee(s) must be in good standing within their institution and within the scientific community.  The nominee(s) are evaluated based on their level of collaboration, data sharing and technology sharing, leadership, mentoring, trainee success, international recognition, their engagement in diversity and equity and their overall contributions to the scientific community through outreach and education.

A nominee’s general societal contributions will be taken in to account should all other scoring between scientific contributions and leadership among top candidates be considered equal.

For more Rainwater Prize information:

Rainwater Prize Details 2019/2020