News Release

Milken Institute, Baszucki Brain Research Fund launch fund for bipolar disorder research

Multimillion-dollar program dedicates funds to advance understanding of bipolar disorder treatment options. Initial letters of intent due May 14, 2021.

Grant and Award Announcement

Milken Institute

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The Milken Institute's Center for Strategic Philanthropy and the Baszucki Brain Research Fund today announced the launch of a dedicated grant program aimed at advancing therapeutic discovery for bipolar disorder (BD). The goal is to fund research with the potential to improve treatment options for affected individuals.

The Fund intends to award up to ten research grants in this cycle, providing up to $200,000 over the course of one year to support pilot research in therapeutic discovery and translational efforts. Together, these grants will amount to up to $2 million in new research dollars in the space.

"The Baszucki Brain Research Fund has chosen to invest in a chronically underfunded and understudied mental health condition, providing capital that would not otherwise be available to researchers," said Melissa Stevens, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. "These grants will be a major step toward clinical research and therapeutics that could be life-changing for those affected by bipolar disorder."

Bipolar disorder affects 2.3 million Americans, and nearly 45 million people worldwide. It is a serious mental health disorder with dramatic and sometimes unpredictable shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Unlike other mental health conditions, bipolar disorder is characterized by disruptive recurrences of mania and depression that may last for weeks, months or even years. Bipolar disorder can lead to the loss of employment, strained relationships, suicide, and the feeling of powerlessness over one's daily routines and behavior.

The economic burden of bipolar disorder is estimated to be approximately $200 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Despite its prevalence and impact, bipolar disorder attracts fewer research dollars than other psychiatric conditions, a gap the Fund seeks to address.

"Bipolar disorder has been underfunded relative to other psychiatric disorders over the past 40 years," states researcher Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D. who directs the Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. "The Baszucki Brain Research Fund grant program has great potential to help fill this funding gap by providing researchers with much needed seed funding to spark innovation."

Jan Ellison Baszucki, who, with her husband, David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox Corporation, established the Baszucki Brain Research Fund added: "Those living with bipolar disorder have historically made outsized contributions to science, academia, government and the arts, yet bipolar research has been tragically underfunded. Our dream is that by spotlighting and accelerating¬¬ the work of the most promising researchers in the field, we can bring hope to patients and families who will benefit from transformative new treatments."


Grant proposals are welcome from research institutions around the world. Initial letters of intent are due May 14, 2021, and full proposals are due July 9, 2021. Funding decisions will be announced in Fall 2021. Inquiries should be directed to

To learn more about bipolar disorder and the grant program, visit:

Media Contact:

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About the Baszucki Brain Research Fund

The Baszucki Brain Research Fund invests in innovative science and technologies to advance the prevention and treatment of Bipolar Disorder and other mental health conditions. We aim to catalyze bipolar research with a focus on neurostimulation, genomics, and metabolic, circadian and computational psychiatry. We support scientists and innovators pursuing breakthrough treatments that promote vitality, stability and well-being in those at risk for or living with Bipolar Disorder.

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities. For more information, visit

About the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy advises individuals and foundations seeking to develop and implement transformational giving strategies. In addition, we provide resources and leadership to make the philanthropic landscape more effective. Our vision is for a more effective philanthropic ecosystem where dollars are spent strategically, donors realize the impact they seek, and people and the planet thrive. Visit

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