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The Raynor Cerebellum Project was launched in 2022 by the Once Upon a Time Foundation, a $250 million private foundation based in Fort Worth, TX. The Foundation started the Raynor Cerebellum Project with the goal of finding the shortest path to improving the lives of people suffering from cerebellar disorders. The Raynor Cerebellum Project will be known as the greatest collaboration of minds and resources solving the issues of cerebellar dysfunction and disorders.

About the Raynor Cerebellum Project

“The goal of the Raynor Cerebellum Project is to empower novel interdisciplinary research aimed at impacting the lives of people with cerebellar disease within five to seven years.”

Filling the Gap

Existing cerebellum research has suffered from a piecemeal approach, which has necessitated a need for focus and a streamlined path to treatments for those suffering from cerebellar dysfunction. Alongside our many partners, we are focused on identifying those who are uniquely qualified to take on a project of this magnitude, which will demand collaboration from the best minds with a Manhattan Project-like focused, results-oriented approach. The Raynor Cerebellum Project is committed to finding the shortest path to improving the lives of people suffering from cerebellar disorders. Timing is critical as these people cannot wait.

To accomplish this, we will:

  • Prepare a battle plan for solving cerebellar dysfunction, including major goals, key experts, and technologies required to carry out the vision.
  • Launch research efforts at Raynor Cerebellum Project sites with regular communication and in-person meetings at least once a year in order to critically evaluate progress and update research goals to reflect experimental results.
  • Seek out the best experts in cerebellar dysfunction from around the world.
  • Convene Cerebellum Summits and Symposia. Learn more about our past and upcoming events HERE

Background & Vision

Mission Plan

  • To fund truly new research initiatives — not simply a continuation or extension of labs’ current research programs. Investigators must be able to explicitly “connect the dots” from what they propose to RCP’s strategic goal.
  • To fund well-reasoned endeavors that are too risky for traditional funding agencies because they may lack preliminary data, contradict dogma, or propose unprecedented technical ideas. These are the ideas you are actually nervous about sharing because they are so outrageously ambitious.
  • To create a new research culture with collaborations between labs at multiple institutions and across multiple disciplines…“collaboration” instead of “competition.”
  • There will be entirely new mechanisms for acquiring funding, accountability and reporting. Needless paperwork will be discarded. To paraphrase the late Ross Perot, “When you see a snake — just kill it, don’t form a committee on snakes.”
  • The RCP governing board will work alongside researchers and clinicians at all steps of every project, sharing expertise and skill sets in person to cross-fertilize existing ideas and improve and troubleshoot to generate unexpected new directions.
  • This is an experiment in “goal-oriented science.” Success is defined by whether we improve patients’ lives, without necessarily knowing why therapies are working in the time frame we have set. The “why” can (and should) come later.
  • Teams must be selfless in a singular pursuit of the common goal.

What We Are Not

  • We are not another funding source akin to the NIH.
  • We are not doing research for the sake of only learning more about the cerebellum nor knowledge for the sake of knowledge. While that is a worthy endeavor, we are seeking a more direct link between the research we fund and the end goal of seeing a noticeable difference in patients’ lives within 7 to 10 years.
  • We are not seeking to fund researchers whose primary purpose is publishing, obtaining tenure, supporting a lab, speaking at conferences, or obtaining additional grants. These outcomes should be logical byproducts of a focus on our primary goal — improving patients’ lives in seven to ten years.
  • We are not funding siloed laboratories that optimize their own positions over deeply collaborative work that integrates across fields.

The Vision: A Man on the Moon

We liken our goal to putting a man on the moon — improving the lives of cerebellar patients within seven to ten years. Our success will require the collaboration across multiple specialties, across departments, across institutions, across oceans which will include cerebellar experts, neurosurgeons, clinicians, basic scientists, imaging experts, data scientists, technologists, and a host of other specialties using artificial intelligence, gene therapy, imaging, neurophysiology, invasive and non-invasive neuromodulation, and hopefully a host of as yet unimagined techniques.

Transformations happen at the cross-section where two or more fields meet. We are seeking those who collaborate, who are willing to present their ideas in the service of our end goal, and then adapt and pivot as what is needed in service of the primary goal becomes clearer over time. We are not afraid to take risks and fail. We did not put a man on the moon without making mistakes along the way.

Collaborative Research & Initiatives

An important dimension of this Project will be funding promising areas of collaborative research and initiatives. These initiatives will be an integral component of the overall Raynor Cerebellum Project, complementing other project efforts to advance its overall goals.

Philanthropy is essential to realizing the tremendous promise of putting all the greatest neuroscience minds together focused on one thing: improving the lives of people with cerebellar dysfunction and disorders.

The Raynor Cerebellum Project has committed to the following:

$30 million to fund research projects around the world within the Raynor Cerebellum Project Network

Funding will be allocated to researchers whose work has great promise to advance the understanding necessary to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by cerebellar dysfunction under an expedited timeline.

An additional $14 million already funded to UT Southwestern Medical Center

to launch the Raynor Cerebellum Lab and to support other RCP initiatives.

Supporting and coordinating gatherings to inspire collaboration and innovative research

including Cerebellum Summits, RCP symposia, and subsequent meetings of the Raynor Cerebellum Project participants.

Raising an additional $50 million through additional commitments

from the Once Upon a Time Foundation as well as building outside partnerships with other funding sources.

RCP Initiatives

Grants & Funding

RFA Info

Summits & Symposia

Learn More