Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation in Mental Disorders

Established by Fondation FondaMental and Groupe Dassault in 2012, the Marcel Dassault Prize has already rewarded thirteen laureates. Endowed with 100,000 euros, it is awarded annually to a researcher and their team selected by an international jury for research on mental illnesses. Since 2022, the Marcel Dassault Prize has evolved to reward a researcher with an innovative project in precision psychiatry.
Prix Marcel Dassault 2024

Context and description

Mental illness has become an urgent public health challenge. Mental health disorders represent the leading cause of disability worldwide (WHO 2021). They affect individuals of all ages and are associated with chronic disability and substantial loss of quality of life for patients and their families. They also entail a heavy economic burden for the community.

It is of paramount importance to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in psychiatry. There is an urgent need to improve the quality of life and prognosis of patients battling with mental health issues and to support their families. It is also time to anticipate future needs by pooling human and financial potential towards the development of new approaches and tools for the prevention, early diagnosis and clinical management of mental health disorders, and to invest in therapeutic innovation.

It is in this context that the Dassault Group has decided to promote for the eleventh year, progress in psychiatry through an annual Prize. Since 2022, the aim of this prize is to support entrepreneurial product innovation in the field of Mental Health and Mental Disorders, to attract new talents to the field of psychiatry and to contribute to the development of the PsyTech ecosystem.  

The amount allocated to the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation in Mental Disorders is 90 000 € (ninety thousand euros). The Scientific Advisory board of the Foundation FondaMental  will be in charge of selecting the best project aiming either at adapting an innovation from another field towards mental health or mental disorders or at the development and/or validation of an innovation.

The innovation can belong to the following fields:

  1. The management of mental disorders, from prevention to care: medical technology (devices); treatments (drugs, probiotics, psychosocial therapies, brain stimulation); platforms, etc.
  2. The discovery of new markers of mental disorders: blood biomarkers, brain imaging biomarkers, electrophysiology, gut microbiome biomarkers, algorithms, etc.

Applications are opened to entrepreneurs, engineers, medical doctors and basic or clinical scientists who:

  • have created or in the process of creating a start-up in the field of Mental Health
  • have an idea or are in early-phase development of an innovation with clear marketing potential, including those adapted from another environment.

The jury of the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation in Mental Disorders is composed of the members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation FondaMental.

Description of the Award

In addition to the Marcel Dassault Prize for innovation in Mental Disorders (90 000k€), the awardee will have continuing access to the support of the multidisciplinary project development teams of the Foundation’s “Lab’FondaMental”, as well as support from the communication team of Fondation FondaMental which will enable a continuous communication campaign for the duration of the project

Eligibility criteria:

Applications must fulfill the following criteria

  • The applicant must be a researcher, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, a psychologist or an entrepreneur who has or is in the process of creating a start-up and/or whose innovation is close to the market.
  • The innovation must apply to the field of mental health and/or mental disorders: major mood and anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Applicants from all disciplines and nationalities may apply, provided they reside in France.
  • The innovation must be developed in France or another European country.
  • The proposal must be written in English for independent evaluation.

The Foundation FondaMental reserves the right to decline all applications that do not comply with the rules and objectives of the Prize and the missions of the Foundation.

Award criteria and submission guidelines:

All applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria

  • The originality of the innovation and its relevance to mental disorders and mental health in general
  • Project feasibility and impact (social, economic and medical)
  • Relevance to the missions of the Foundation FondaMental
  • The innovation should target one or several of the following:
    • Mental disease management ranging from prevention to care: digital tools and platforms, medical technology (devices); treatments (drugs, probiotics, dietary complements, psychosocial therapies, brain stimulation); platforms, etc.
    • The discovery of new diagnostic of prognostic biomarkers of mental diseases: blood biomarkers, brain imaging biomarkers, electrophysiology, gut microbiome biomarkers, algorithms etc.

► Any questions can be sent to the following email: prix-projet@fondation-fondamental.org

Deadline for submission to 17th June 2024, at 3pm CET (15h00 CET)

Selection of the winner

  • First phase: Administrative check to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria set out in the call for projects; scoring and prioritization of the applications by the FondaMental Research Committee.
  • Second phase: Ranking list delivered by the Scientific Advisory Board to the Executive Committee of the Foundation FondaMental, established according to the criteria described above. 
  • Third phase: Final decision and approval of the awardee by the Executive Committee of the Foundation FondaMental, based on the recommendations addressed by the Scientific Advisory Board.

Notification

The final funding decisions will be announced by the Executive Committee of the Foundation FondaMental in autumn 2024. Notification by e-mail will be sent to the candidates. Notification will also be sent to the Research Institution concerned by the administration of the project’s funding, as provided by the awardee on his/her information form.

All allocated funds are to be specifically dedicated to the funded project. The funds will be sent by the Foundation FondaMental to the awardee’s Research Institution, and the Research Institution will assume responsibility for their management.

The awardee’s obligations

  • Ensure written acceptance of the award within 1 month of notification of the decision.
  • Facilitate interaction with the relevant contact(s) within his/her Research Institution towards implementation of the contractual agreement to be established between that Institution and the Foundation FondaMental.
  • Participate in person and give a talk to present the innovation at the award ceremony.
  • Participate and give a talk at the award ceremony of the following year, to provide a progress report and explain how it was made possible by the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation on Mental Disorders.
  • Submit progress reports to the FondaMental Foundation and the Dassault Group upon request.
  • Participate in communication activities, as requested by the Foundation
  • Cite and acknowledge the Foundation FondaMental and the Marcel Dassault Prize in all scientific and other publications, interviews and other communications related to the project, throughout its lifespan.

Dissemination of information

Call for applications will be circulated by the Foundation FondaMental on its website and social media accounts, and via its network of members and industrial partners (France Biotech, Alliance FondaMental, etc.). The Dassault Group will also contribute to disseminate information and to promote the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation in Mental Disorders.

The awardee and the Foundation FondaMental will acknowledge the Dassault Group in all communications and publications related to the project according to the Awardee’s obligations cited above.

Award announcement and ceremony

The winner of the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation in Mental Disorders will be officially announced during a press conference organized by the Dassault Group, with the Foundation FondaMental.

The Prize will be presented during an award ceremony to be held at the Dassault Group headquarters in Paris in October-December 2024 ). The Prize will be presented by the Communication and Sponsorship Director of the Dassault Group.  Prominent guests will be invited to attend the ceremony and to mingle with leading representatives of the Dassault Group and the Foundation FondaMental during a cocktail party that will close the evening.

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