The NFL assembled a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)—chaired by Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army General (Retired)—comprised of leading independent researchers, experts, doctors, scientists and clinicians to develop and lead a clear process to identify and support compelling proposals for scientific research to be funded.
As part of the Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative, the NFL allotted $100 million for medical research and engineering advancements, including $40 million in funding for medical research primarily dedicated to neuroscience.
In 2018, the SAB reviewed 129 proposals, from which they selected eight finalists to give oral presentations, and provide additional written materials, to the SAB. After review and evaluation of the science and merit of the finalists' proposals, the SAB recommended five projects to the NFL for funding. The NFL accepted the SAB's recommendations and granted $35 million in total funding to all five projects. The league is opening a second funding opportunity to allocate $4 million 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, treatment, rehabilitation, and return-to-play following injury to the hamstring muscle group. The remaining $1 million will be allocated at a later date.
The number of winning investigative teams, and the total amount to be funded, will be determined in part based on the quality of the proposals submitted and by recommendations from the SAB. The NFL 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. More information on the SAB's evaluation process and the projects being funded can be found here.