Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Agility Project Program

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance is an interdisciplinary research initiative whose mission is to transform human health on a global scale through the discovery and translation of the principles underlying human performance. We aim to leverage an untapped reservoir of knowledge through the application of science, technology, and analytical rigor to the study of human performance, injury prevention, and injury recovery throughout life. By comprehensively studying athletes of various ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and disciplines, we aim to discover the principles that govern peak performance, from the molecular level to the whole body. The goal is to leverage these principles to optimize and sustain health throughout an individual’s lifespan.

The Agility Projects provide seed funding of up to $100,000 USD per year for two years to support early-stage projects that advance the mission of the Alliance and have a high likelihood of securing additional, larger follow-on support from other funding agencies. Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent; selected applicants will prepare a full proposal for review.

Program Priorities

Agility Projects must be related to the mission of the Alliance and one or more of the following Alliance programs:

  • The Digital Athlete Moonshot, which seeks to create predictive computational models to guide training and treatment for athletes. 
  • The Regenerative Rehabilitation Moonshot, whose aim is to synergize regenerative medicine and rehabilitation protocols to restore function to damaged tissues. 
  • The Molecular Athlete Moonshot, which is focused on mapping molecules and gene expression that occur during performance to help maximize performance, healing, and recovery.
  • The Multiscale Athlete Moonshot, whose aim is to synthesize experimental measurements across biological scales to predict molecular and cellular states of tissues and their effects on whole body performance.
  • The Female Athlete Innovation Hub, which focuses on innovating ways to improve the health of girls and women of all abilities through athletic participation and performance.
  • Other Innovation Hubs of the Alliance, which focus on direct application of science and technology in sports and medicine.

Read more about the moonshots and innovation hubs

An additional goal of the Agility Project program is to expand the network of national and international partners with the Alliance beyond its six founding institutions (Stanford University; Boston Children’s Hospital; Salk Institute; University of California, San Diego; University of Kansas; University of Oregon); thus, projects from these institutions are not eligible for funding. 

Projects working to further our knowledge of the science of human performance are welcome. It is not our intent to fund projects that focus on disease. Basic science research is also eligible for support.

Proposals for both fundamental scientific exploration and translational work are welcome. 

Projects with a high likelihood of making discoveries that will lead to follow-on support from other funding agencies are highly encouraged. Agility Projects are intended to support new projects, rather than extensions of or additions to existing projects.

Examples of previously supported projects: 2022 Awardees and 2023 Awardees

Letter of Intent

We are seeking one-page letters of intent (LOI). The submitted LOIs will be reviewed by the Leadership Council of the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance. Approximately 10-15 LOIs will be selected, and those teams will be asked to submit a full proposal. We plan to select 4-6 projects for funding.

Timeline/Key Dates

Call for Letters of Intent September 13, 2023
Deadline for Submitting Letters of Intent November 13, 2023
Notification of Selection for Submitting Full Proposal January 2024
Deadline for Submitting Full Proposals March 2024
Notification of Awards June 2024

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply, you must be eligible to be a Principal Investigator (PI) at your institution. At least 25% of your appointment at your home institution must be devoted to research. 

The PI must have a research doctorate or relevant clinical degree (MD, DPT) with evidence of outstanding research. There are no other restrictions related to prior or current funding or experience level. 

Postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and other staff can be included as personnel but cannot be Principal Investigators.

An individual may only serve as PI on one proposal.

The PI’s home institution may not be one of the founding partner institutions (Stanford University; Boston Children’s Hospital; Salk Institute; University of California, San Diego; University of Kansas; University of Oregon).


Selection Criteria

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Agility Project Committee will review proposals based on:

  • Merit of the proposal, with quality, innovation and creativity balanced by the project’s likelihood of success.
  • Potential to advance the mission of the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance.
  • The potential scientific breakthroughs and follow-on funding.
  • In addition, judged at the full proposal stage, will be the potential impact of your project for increasing diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice.

Letter of Intent Submission

LOIs are submitted via SlideRoom (portal opens September 13).

The LOI must be submitted online by the deadline: November 13, 2023, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Each LOI should have one Communicating Principal Investigator. The Communicating Principal Investigator serves as the point of contact for the project and is responsible for submitting the online application.


A complete online application consists of:

  1. Completed form for general information about the Communicating Principal Investigator and the collaborating investigator(s).
  2. A short (up to one page) description of the project (the LOI). The font must be 11-point or larger and margins must be at least 1 inch. You should include:
    1. a description of the project goals including how they relate to the mission of one or more of the Alliance’s programs, 
    2. the impact of the project on human performance research,
    3. the potential for follow-on funding for your project. 
  3. NIH-style or similar short biosketch of the PI and any other key personnel. Each biosketch must be 5 pages or less and should include a list of currently funded projects. If multiple biosketches are provided, they should be compiled into a single document.  


Submit Letter of Intent


If you have questions about the program or LOI, please email [email protected].

Preview of Full Proposal Requirements

If your LOI is selected, you will be notified to submit a full five-page proposal. Full proposals must include background leading to the proposal, specific aims, a description of proposed methods, a budget, a diversity statement, and expected outcomes. The proposal should also detail the role of each team member and the biosketches of all the faculty members involved in the proposal.


Awards will be for one-year, with the option to extend for a second year based on progress made on the project.  


Proposals may request up to $100,000 USD in total costs per year for up to two years. Indirect costs are limited to 10 percent, and must be included in the $100,000 USD.

Funds may be used for personnel (faculty, undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or staff), supplies, small equipment, travel, or seminar and symposia needs. 


  • PIs must provide an annual narrative update on progress and participate in meetings of the Human Performance Alliance. 
  • Projects must have a designated point of contact with Alliance leadership. This individual would devote time to meetings and other activities to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing across the alliance. This individual could be a faculty member or staff research scientist.

Complete details for full proposal submission will be provided after LOI selection.

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