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Orchard call for proposals for crowdfunding project for OCD

About Orchard and OCD
Orchard is a charity focusing on developing treatments for patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a serious mental illness. We work with academia, clinicians, pharmaceutical/biotech companies, government agencies, patients and other charities to fast-track the development of new and innovative treatments for OCD.

OCD is a common, chronic and severely disabling mental illness that affects at least a million people in the UK alone. It is characterised by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and accompanying rituals (compulsions) aimed at reducing anxiety and distress. A significant proportion have what is informally known as Pure O, where the obsessions and compulsions are completely internalised and cause considerable distress.

Sixty per cent of OCD patients are also depressed and many are suicidal. The lifetime prevalence of OCD is 2-3 %. It affects all population groups regardless of gender and culture.

Treatment options for OCD consist of anti-depressant medications developed primarily for other mental disorders, as well as cognitive behavioural therapy. Both of these treatments take several months to start to have any effect, and medications have significant side effects. Moreover, up to 40% of patients do not respond and 50% need further treatment.

The economic impact of OCD on the individual, family and society is significant in terms of the direct cost of extensive treatments as well as the indirect cost related to lost productivity.

There is an urgent need for the development of new and better treatments, yet the field is severely underfunded. No research is carried out by the pharmaceutical industry, and funding for academic research is scarce and difficult to obtain. This is why we have set up Orchard in order to raise much-needed funding for OCD research.

According to 2015 and 2019 reports by MQ (a major mental health charity), OCD is among the most underfunded of mental disorders, even though the World Health Organisation lists it as one of the 10 most debilitating illnesses globally.

About the call for proposals
We are seeking hard-to-fund projects that nevertheless have great potential to make a major impact for OCD.

The winning project will be chosen for an international crowdfunding campaign that will aim to raise $80,000 for the project. Orchard will prepare and run the crowdfunding campaign with assistance from the winning project’s team.

Crowdfunding is an innovative way of raising public awareness and money for an issue such as OCD. We have significant experience of doing this for other diseases. Crowdfunding also has a huge potential to increase the visibility of the researchers and is an excellent opportunity for public outreach.

Our independent Scientific Advisory Board will judge projects according to the following criteria and questions:

1. Scientific validity: how strong is the science?
2. Clinical opportunity: does the project have potential to get a treatment for OCD rapidly into the clinic?
3. Team track record: how credible is the team implementing the project?
4. Crowdfundability: is the project suitable for crowdfunding?

All scientific applications will be considered from anywhere in the world. However, the selected project must have approved ethics in place at the time of receiving the grant.

Please submit an application not more than three pages long, with the following sections:
1. Summary of the project
2. Key objectives
3. Challenges and how they will be overcome
4. The project team
5. Timeline
6. Budget breakdown

Please email your submissions (three pages max) to

Shortlisted projects will then be assessed through a phone or Skype call.

Size of grant
The grant will be a maximum of $80,000 and will depend on the success of the crowdfunding campaign.

Deadline for applications
Friday 31 May 2019 at 5pm GMT.

Further information about the call
If you have any questions about the call for proposals, please email Nick Sireau, Chair of Orchard, at

Watch a video about Orchard:

"Orchard will accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for OCD patients through its international partnerships with academia, industry, patients/families, and advocates. I strongly support Orchard's vision and commitment to help individuals suffering from OCD; I am delighted to contribute to their efforts." Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Translational OCD Research Program. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.
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