2018 NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges

Overview of NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges

ASPIRE badges: Predictive Algorithms, Electronic Chemistry Portal, Integrated Database, Biological Assays

The NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges are designed to advance innovative and catalytic approaches towards solving the opioid crisis by developing “A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration” (ASPIRE) to aid in the discovery and development of novel and effective treatments, while at the same time making the process faster and more cost-effective.  The NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges are part of the of the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. The NIH HEAL Initiative will bolster research across NIH to (1) improve treatment for opioid misuse and addiction and (2) enhance pain management. More information about the HEAL Initiative is available at: https://www.nih.gov/research-training/medical-research-initiatives/heal-initiative.

Under the auspices of the Cures Acceleration Network, NCATS developed the ASPIRE concept to aid in the discovery and development of novel and effective treatments, while at the same time making the process faster and more cost-effective. The goal of the inaugural ASPIRE Design Challenges is to design innovative and catalytic approaches towards solving the opioid crisis through development of next generation addictive-free analgesics with new chemistries, data-mining and analysis tools and technologies, as well as biological assays that will revolutionize discovery, development and pre-clinical testing of new and safer treatments of pain, opioid use disorder (OUD), and overdose. The first phase of these prize competitions is implemented through a suite of concurrent companion design challenges that comprises a separate challenge for each of four areas: chemistry database, electronic synthetic chemistry portal, predictive algorithms, and biological assays; and an additional challenge for a combined solution for two or more areas.  The NCATS will select up to 5 winners for Challenges 1-4, and up to two winners for Challenge 5, to receive cash prizes. Winners of the 2018 design challenges will be invited to present their designs so that, in the envisioned follow-up 2019 Reduction-to-Practice Challenge, an open competition, teams will be able to form multi-disciplinary collaborations to advance and integrate the most feasible and promising approaches to the multiple challenges into a single integrative platform. Innovators will be invited to demonstrate final solutions. These challenges will generate valuable contributions from many and varied stakeholders to inform the Center's strategic plan, energize the Center's research efforts, increase public awareness of the opioid crisis, and enhance the national effort to reduce the number of opioid overdoses worldwide.

Details of the Five Challenges

Challenge 1: Integrated Chemistry Database for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

Challenge 2: Electronic Synthetic Chemistry Portal for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

Challenge 3: Predictive Algorithms for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

Challenge 4: Biological Assays for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

Challenge 5: Integrated Solution for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

How to Enter

Enter the ASPIRE Design Challenge via the Solution Submission Instructions and Template.

Dates and Deadlines

Solutions must be submitted to Challenge.gov by NOON Eastern Time on May 31, 2019. 

The Challenge begins: December 31, 2018 
Submission period: December 31, 2018-May 31, 2019
Judging period: June 17, 2019-August 2, 2019
Winners announced: August 2019

For further information send an email to NCATSASPIREChallenge@mail.nih.gov