The $9.8 Million Neuromod Prize and why its not great with Arun Sridhar

The $9.8 Million Neuromod Prize and why its not great with Arun Sridhar

Arun Sridhar is a cohost of the Skraps podcast which talks about some of the behind-the-scenes stories in science and technology. JoJo Platt is the other cohost and she has been on the show before as well.

Today, Arun and I are talking about the recently unveiled $9.8M Neuromod Prize which aims to reward those that are able to come up with a precisely controllable neuromodulation treatment. Arun thinks the prize could've been made better and I (Ladan) think that it is nice to see other forms of grant money.

Here is the NIH announcement

Here is the GSK Bioelectronics R&D challenge from 2014 that Arun had worked on

 

Top 3 Takeaways:

  • "The truth of the story is that none of the solutions was  deemed to be good enough to warrant a phase two of the study, simply because those were all efforts that were already ongoing and the initial phase one did not result in an appreciable kind of jump in the technology. So people were basically taking the phase one money, they were retooling, rejigging it in a small way, resubmitting a proposal, five months down the line to actually get the bigger pot of money."

  • "When you're always running against a clock that is an inefficient way to develop a therapy. Because when you're developing a therapy, you should be focusing on the right things. And therefore, because you are always on a race against the clock I'm not saying that people are going to cut corners, but just that it's actually an inefficient way, because just because somebody is getting their first, it doesn't necessarily mean that's the best solution"

  • "How is somebody going to come up with a proposal to put in for a neuromod prize to develop a therapy focused on a novel neuro target that controls more than one function with the ability to selectively modulate it and to take that into the clinic? It just seems like very wishful thinking.

0:30 "How are you doing?"

2:30 This could be a more efficient way to distribute money, what do you think?

10:15 "I always believe in actually copying right and copying left"

14:45 "It sounds like a lot of money. But then when it comes down to it, it's actually not that much."

20:00 "If somebody loses a million dollars of their own money by not winning a prize, that's on them. So what's the harm in that? "

26:30 "What would you recommend? What would be another system?"

36:15 "if they don't meet the criteria, you don't have to give that money. You could just keep repeating that prize, potentially every two years, every four years and save that money"

38:00 "When do you think it would make more sense to do something like this?"

38:45 "Do you want to talk about your podcast?"

42:30 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"

 

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