Official Rules for Scientific Advisory Board Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity For Innovative Preclinical, Translational, and Clinical Research on the Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Return-to-Play of Hamstring Injuries

This funding opportunity is now closed. Please check back for future updates and funding opportunities.



1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The National Football League (the "NFL" or "Sponsor") has developed a funding program (the "Program") for the purposes of inviting research proposals and providing funding for innovative preclinical, translational and clinical research being conducted by leading investigative teams related to the prevention of, treatment of, rehabilitation for, and return-to-play following injury to the hamstring muscle group.

The goal of this Program is to provide funding support for research proposals from leading investigative teams in the field of the biology and rehabilitation of muscle injury, specifically hamstring strains. The Program will evaluate proposals that focus on either biologic therapies or primary and secondary prevention, rehabilitation, and return-to-play following hamstring strains.

2. SPONSOR; ADMINISTRATOR: The Funding Opportunity for Innovative Preclinical, Translational, and Clinical Research in connection with the Program on the Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Return-to-Play of Hamstring Injuries (the "Funding Opportunity") is sponsored by the NFL, with offices at 345 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10154.

3. AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES: Participation in the Funding Opportunity constitutes an Investigative Team's (as defined below) full and unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, the terms and conditions set forth herein (these "Official Rules"), which are binding on each team of persons desiring to participate in the Funding Opportunity (each, an "Investigative Team") and each such Investigative Team's team members, including without limitation the principal investigators (each such team member, a "Investigative Team Member"; each Investigative Team and Investigative Team Member may herein be referred to as a "Participant").

4. ELIGIBILITY: The Funding Opportunity is open to all individuals over the age of eighteen (18) years old who have not been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude and to all validly formed legal entities that have not declared or been declared in bankruptcy. Each Investigative Team Member must be a legal resident of the country in which he or she resides and must not be a resident of Crimea, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, or any entity under U.S. export controls or sanctions (see Participation is subject to all U.S. federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations. Participants should check to ensure that participation in skills-based competitions does not violate any local laws. If acting on behalf of a company or institution, Investigative Team Members are also responsible for confirming that participation in the Funding Opportunity does not violate any policies set by that company or institution.

Employees, and/or immediate family members (e.g., spouse, parents, siblings, children) and/or household members (whether or not related) of such employees, of the following entities are not eligible: Sponsor, Sponsor's respective parent companies, officers, directors, subsidiaries, affiliates, including the NFL's member professional football clubs ("Member Clubs"), licensees, sponsors, service providers, prize suppliers, or any other person involved in the production, development, implementation or handling of the Funding Opportunity, including, but not limited to, the SAB (as defined below), and/or any agents acting for or on behalf of Sponsor (collectively, the "Sponsor-Related Entities"). Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

If any Participant is, at any point, discovered to be ineligible, Sponsor reserves the right to take any or all of the following steps:

a. Terminate its (or the SAB's) review of the ineligible Investigative Team's Submission;

b. In the event that the ineligible Investigative Team was invited to participate in additional rounds of the Funding Opportunity, revoke the Investigative Team's invitation to participate in such additional rounds; or

c. In the event that the ineligible Investigative Team was selected for an Award (as defined herein), revoke and/or reclaim any such Award and confer such Award on another Investigative Team as may be selected by Sponsor according to the process otherwise described below.

5. HOW TO ENTER / SUBMIT A PRE-PROPOSAL: Each Investigative Team shall submit a short executive summary ("Pre-Proposal") that outlines the general goals of the research project, the qualifications of the team members, research progress made to date, anticipated and clear clinical endpoints, and an anticipated timeline with expected milestones. Pre-Proposals must be submitted by completing the form at between September 17, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and November 30, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time. The following rules and limitations shall apply to the submission of a Pre-Proposal:

a. Investigative Teams are limited to one (1) Pre-Proposal per team. Further, each Participant shall also be permitted to be part of an Investigative Team for only one Pre-Proposal.

b. Each Pre-Proposal should be structured as an Executive Summary of the intended research plan. Each Pre-Proposal must be submitted on 8½" x 11" paper, using Times New Roman, 12-point font, single spaced, with 1" margins and must be limited three (3) pages, which contain the following sections:

  1. Project title with affiliations of the research team members
  2. Specific aims of the research project
  3. Experimental design (limit to one (1) paragraph)
  4. Qualifications of the research team members
  5. Research progress made to date (if any)
  6. Defined pre-clinical and/or clinical endpoints
  7. Innovation and deliverables
  8. Anticipated timeline with milestones

6. INVITATION TO SUBMIT A FORMAL PROPOSAL AND ATTEND THE ORAL PRESENTATION: All Pre-Proposals shall be reviewed and evaluated by the NFL's Scientific Advisory Board ("SAB"). The SAB shall, based on the judging process described below, invite certain Participants to submit a more detailed proposal and present such proposal orally (which may, at Sponsor's discretion, be held virtually) at an SAB meeting expected to be held in March 2021. Each Investigative Team's Pre-Proposal, together with any and all documents or presentations submitted, requested or required in the event that such Investigative Team advances to additional rounds of the Funding Opportunity may hereinafter be referred to as a "Submission".

The more detailed proposal (the "Formal Proposal") shall include a budget (inclusive of the specific request and use of NFL funding); biosketches of team members; specific aims; background and significance section; experimental design, including methods and statistical analyses; and an investigative team management plan. The requirements for submitting a Formal Proposal and the requirements and limitations (e.g., time limitations) of the oral presentation of such Formal Proposal ("Oral Presentation") shall be provided to the invited Participants or Investigative Teams when the SAB invites them to submit their Formal Proposal.

Each Investigative Team shall be responsible for all costs associated with attending the Oral Presentation (including but not limited to all hospitality costs and expenses, if any).

7. JUDGING PROCESS: The SAB shall evaluate each Pre-Proposal, Formal Proposal and Oral Presentation using the National Institute of Health's Scoring Guidance (available at Following the evaluation of the Formal Proposals and Oral Presentations, the SAB shall recommend to Sponsor certain of the Formal Proposals for funding and the recommended amount of funding. Based on those recommendations, Sponsor shall determine which, if any, of the recommended Formal Proposals shall receive funding (any such amount, an "Award"; any such recipient, an "Awardee"), and the amount and schedule of the funding.

The total amount to be funded to each Awardee, and the tranches or payment schedule of an Award, shall be determined by Sponsor (and the actual payment of any tranche of an Award may depend upon progress made by each Awardee). Investigative Teams selected to receive funding shall be notified within thirty (30) days following the meeting of the SAB. Investigative Teams that receive funding are solely responsible for any and all applicable fees and taxes associated with prize receipt and use. Investigative Teams (or a subset thereof, as mutually agreed by the Investigative Team and Sponsor) shall be required to attend an annual conference to report their findings and progress as it pertains to the milestones outlined in their Formal Proposal.

8. TIMELINE: The below table outlines the anticipated timeline for the Funding Opportunity. The timeline set forth below (or elsewhere in these Official Rules) is subject to change by Sponsor and/or the SAB.

Table inside Article
September 17 – November 30, 2020Submission window for Pre-Proposals
December 1 – January 8, 2021The SAB will review all Pre-Proposals
January 11, 2021Selected Submitters will be notified of their invitation to submit a Formal Proposal and attend Oral Presentation
March 1, 2021Submission deadline for Formal Presentations
Week of March 15, 2021Oral Presentations to be held

9. AWARDS; FUNDING DECISIONS FINAL: The anticipated total amount to be funded for this Program is $4,000,000. The number of winning investigative teams, and the total amount to be funded, will be determined initially based on the quality of the proposals submitted and by recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) (see below). Sponsor will make the final decision as to which proposals are funded and to what degree based on the number of proposals recommended by the SAB.

All judging, eligibility and funding decisions are at the absolute discretion of Sponsor and the SAB and are deemed final and not subject to review or explanation. All Participants hereby release Sponsor, all Sponsor-Related Entities, and the SAB from any and all liability regarding those decisions. The anticipated number and amount of the Awards for the Funding Opportunity may be set forth as part of an announcement related to the Funding Opportunity; however, Sponsor and the SAB reserve the right, in their absolute discretion, to award fewer than the anticipated number of Awards (or no Awards) in the event an insufficient number of eligible Submissions meet the judging criteria for the Funding Opportunity. All potential awardees will be notified by the e-mail address for the primary contact provided in the Pre-Proposal and will be required to complete further documentation confirming their eligibility. Return of any notification as "undeliverable" or if an Awardee is unable for whatever reason to accept their prize, then the NFL reserves the right to award the prize to another Investigative Team or not to award the prize at all. After execution of such further documentation and verification of eligibility, Awards will be distributed in the form of a check addressed to the primary contact. The primary contact will have sole responsibility for further distribution of any award among its Investigative Team.

The Award shall be used exclusively for research purposes as outlined in the Submission. Awardee agrees that, in the event the actual expenses incurred in connection with the Submission are less than amounts budgeted and the amounts of the Award, Awardee will, unless approved in writing by the NFL, return pro rata any remaining part of the Award not expended in connection with the Submission. In connection with any Award, no more than ten percent (10%) of any Award may be allocated for indirect costs (e.g., overhead costs) of institutions to which an Investigative Team belongs or are with which they are affiliated.

10. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY RESULTS: A list of the Investigative Teams selected to receive an Award shall be posted on the Program Website (as defined below) on or about April 2021.

11. DECLARATION OF ELIGIBILITY: Except where prohibited, prior to receiving an Award, each Awardee shall be required to sign and/or return, as applicable, to Sponsor, by a deadline to be determined, a declaration of eligibility (which may include any additional requirements for receiving an Award (e.g., reporting requirements, milestones to be met)), a W-9 form and any additional documents that may be reasonably required by Sponsor. Failure to return required documents as specified may result in disqualification.

12. PERSONAL INFORMATION: Each Participant acknowledges and agrees that his, her or its (as applicable) name and contact information shall be collected as part of participating in the Funding Opportunity. Sponsor may, in its absolute discretion, use or disclose this information and any other information contained in the Submission (A) to their agents or affiliates, (B) as may be required to conduct and manage the Funding Opportunity, including, but not limited to, confirming the eligibility of a Participant or Investigative Team and communicating with Participants and Investigative Teams regarding the status of a respective Submission, (C) to contact Participants via email for promotional purposes related to the operation of this or future health and safety initiatives of the Sponsor-Related Entities, and (D) to exercise Sponsor's rights under these Official Rules, including, but not limited to, any further contact with a Participant in connection with any future use of the Submission.

13. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: By participating in the Funding Opportunity, each Investigative Team agrees that no part of its Submission includes any confidential or proprietary information, ideas or products. Since the Sponsor-Related Entities do not wish to receive or hold any submitted materials "in confidence," it is agreed that, with respect to each Submission, no confidential or fiduciary relationship or obligation of secrecy is established between Sponsor, all Sponsor-Related Entities, and the SAB, on one hand, and any Investigative Team or Participant, on the other hand. If any Submission is selected for further evaluation by any Sponsor-Related Entity, such party may (but is not obligated to) offer to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of further discussions about the Submission and/or the technology/method/idea/treatment protocol/solution it describes.


(a) Ownership: All intellectual and industrial property rights, including, without limitation, any patents, trade secrets, know-how, copyrights or trademarks (collectively, "Intellectual Property Rights") belonging to an Investigative Team or any Sponsor-Related Entity prior to the Funding Opportunity shall remain vested in such party. Any Intellectual Property Rights created or otherwise developed by an Investigative Team during the course of the Funding Opportunity shall vest in such party. Any Intellectual Property Rights created or otherwise developed by a Sponsor-Related Entities during the course of the Funding Opportunity shall vest in such party.

(b) Warranties: By submitting a Submission, each Participant represents and warrants that all information entered on the Submission is true and complete to the best of such Participant's knowledge, that the Investigative Team has the right and authority to submit the Submission on its own behalf or on behalf of the persons and entities specified within the Submission, and that the Submission (both the information and materials submitted in the Submission and the underlying technology/method/idea/treatment protocol/solution described in the Submission): (i) is the Participant's(s') own original work, or is submitted by permission with full and proper credit given within the Submission, or, if a part of those products and services are not original to or solely owned by the Participants, then the Participant(s) has (have) all necessary rights and licenses from any third party in order to incorporate such part into the products or services discussed in the Submission and contemplated in these Official Rules; (ii) does not contain confidential information or trade secrets (whether the Investigative Team's, any Participant's or anyone else's); (iii) does not violate or infringe upon the patent rights, industrial design rights, copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity; (iv) does not contain malicious code, such as viruses, malware, time bombs, cancelbots, worms, Trojan horses or other potentially harmful programs or other material or information; (v) does not and will not violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance, rule or regulation; and (vi) does not trigger any reporting or royalty or other obligation to any third party.

(c) Other Businesses and Funding Recipients: Each Participant acknowledges that any consideration by any Sponsor-Related Entity of a Submission is not an admission by such Sponsor-Related Entity of the novelty, propriety, originality or value of the Submission, or the research, ideas, products or services discussed in the Submission. Each Participant further acknowledges that a Sponsor-Related Entity may be creating, have previously created or may in the future independently create, or already may have received or in the future may receive from another third party, products, projects, ideas, designs and other materials that are substantially similar, identical, or otherwise related to the products or services discussed in a Submission, which such Sponsor-Related Party may use for any purpose without any liability or compensation to such Investigative Team. Each Participant further acknowledges that due to the nature of the Funding Opportunity, there is a possibility that similar proposals may be submitted by multiple Investigative Teams. Any similarity between proposals shall in no way entitle any Participant to any consideration or compensation from any Sponsor-Related Party, including in the event a project similar or identical to the Investigative Team's is selected for an Award. By entering the Funding Opportunity and submitting a Submission, each Participant specifically acknowledges this possibility and agrees to the terms stated in these Official Rules. The Sponsor-Related Entities are further under no obligation of any kind to any Participant unless such obligations are specifically undertaken pursuant to a written agreement fully executed by such Participant and the applicable Sponsor-Related Entity. For clarity, nothing in these Official Rules restricts any Sponsor-Related Entity from using, disclosing, publishing or otherwise exploiting any ideas, suggestions or feedback (e.g., any matters discussed outside of the specific Submission) provided by a Participant during the Funding Opportunity for any legitimate purpose related to Sponsor's health and safety priorities. If any Sponsor-Related Entity is interested in licensing or acquiring any Intellectual Property Rights or other interests in the products or services discussed by a Participant during the Funding Opportunity, the a Participant may, in its discretion, negotiate in good faith with the Sponsor-Related Entity to provide such license or other interest (individually and together with other contributors, as applicable). Except pursuant to a separate written agreement with any Sponsor-Related Entity, a Participant may not use any trademark, brand, logo or other corporate identifier of any Sponsor-Related Entity or any of their affiliates for any purpose whatsoever without the prior written consent of Sponsor in each instance.

(d) Non-Exclusive Right to Use Name & Entry: BY PARTICIPATING IN THE FUNDING OPPORTUNITY, EACH PARTICIPANT HEREBY GRANTS THE SPONSOR-RELATED ENTITIES THE UNLIMITED RIGHT TO USE, RECORD AND/OR DOCUMENT HIS, HER OR ITS (AS APPLICABLE) NAME, PHOTO, VOICE, VIDEOTAPE, LIKENESS, STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO PARTICIPANTS OR INVESTIGATIVE TEAMS, BIOGRAPHICAL, PROFESSIONAL AND OTHER RELATED INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH ANY INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL HEALTH AND SAFETY INITIATIVES OF THE SPONSOR-RELATED ENTITIES (E.G., WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANNOUNCEMENTS OF FINALISTS OR WINNERS), WITHOUT COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND TO PARTICIPANT. Each Participant understands that these items may be broadcast, displayed, reproduced, stored, edited, exhibited, used and distributed by Sponsor over the Internet and/or any other communication medium now existing or hereafter created, for promotional, revenue-producing and/or any other purpose as Sponsor determines in its sole and absolute discretion.

15. RELEASE AND LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: By participating in the Funding Opportunity, each Participant agrees to release and hold harmless, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Sponsor, all Sponsor-Related Entities, and the SAB from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Funding Opportunity or receipt or use of any Award, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Funding Opportunity; (b) the processing or judging of applications and/or presentations (c) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; (d) printing errors; (e) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (f) errors in the administration of the Funding Opportunity or the processing of entries; (g) injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from each Investigative Team's participation in the Funding Opportunity or receipt of any prize; (h) other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, technical, network or electronic, or errors which may occur in connection with the administration of the Funding Opportunity; (i) any Submission or other material uploaded or provided by a Participant that infringes any third party proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, personal or moral rights or any other rights, including without limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, privacy, publicity, or confidentiality obligations, or defames any person; (j) any non-compliance by such Participant with these Official Rules or any applicable law or regulation; (k) claims brought by person or entities other than the parties to these Official Rules arising from or related to such Participant's involvement in the Funding Opportunity; or (l) the awarding or announcement of the winners or Finalists or in any other Funding Opportunity-related materials. Each Participant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages. Each Participant further agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Sponsor, all Sponsor-Related Entities, and the SAB from and against any and all third party claims or causes of action arising out of or in any way related to such Participant's product or research, if any, and the parties' use thereof as authorized herein, including, without limitation, any claims of infringement of intellectual property rights.

16. MODIFICATIONS: Sponsor reserves the right to make changes to the Funding Opportunity, including these Official Rules, from time to time. Sponsor shall also have the right to remove any content from the any website (including without limitation the Program Website) in its sole and absolute discretion.

If for any reason the Funding Opportunity is not capable of running as planned, including, but not limited to, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Funding Opportunity, Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Funding Opportunity. Sponsor further reserves the right to disqualify any Participant who tampers with the submission process or any other part of the Funding Opportunity.


18. WAIVER: By participating in the Funding Opportunity, each Participant waive all rights to seek injunctive or equitable relief, or to claim punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, or attorneys' fees.

19. SURVIVAL: All provisions that, by reasonable construction of their terms or nature, would require survival beyond the termination of these Official Rules will survive such termination. These Official Rules constitute the entire agreement with respect to its subject matter and supersede any prior agreement or understanding between parties and will not be modified or amended except by an instrument in writing signed by the party to be charged.


20. CONTROLLING DOCUMENT. In the event there is a discrepancy or inconsistency between disclosures or other statements contained in these Official Rules or in materials arising out of these Official Rules, these Official Rules will prevail, govern and control.

21. CHOICE OF LAW: Except where prohibited by law, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of any Participant or any Sponsor-Related Entity in connection with the Funding Opportunity, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of New York, USA. All parties hereto forever and irrevocably agree to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state or federal courts located in the City of New York, County of New York, State of New York, USA.

For more information on the Funding Opportunity, please visit the following website (the "Program Website"):

Last Updated: September 17, 2020