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About Us

UCLA researchers across many disciplines are world leaders in advancing the understanding of the brain and improving brain health. It was natural for UCLA leadership to look to the neuroscience community when exploring the idea of creating a university-led grand challenge effort. UCLA decided on depression as the focus, motivated in significant part by the World Health Organization’s staggering prediction that by 2030 depression will be the leading contributor to the global burden of disease. 

UCLA launched the Depression Grand Challenge in 2015 with the conviction that UCLA was uniquely poised to catalyze the research and collaborations needed at an unprecedented scale across multiple domains. We set a goal to cut the global burden of depression on health and well-being in half by 2050, committing our preeminent expertise in multiple disciplines, and our commitment to establish multi-sector collaborations that would facilitate the success of the Depression Grand Challenge.

There are a number of distinguishing characteristics of our work that set us apart from other university research initiatives:

  1. Our origin: We began as a start-up with no committed funding and a declaration by UCLA that we would embark on solving this global societal problem that required massive scope, scale and attention of the likes never seen before.
  2. A SMART goal: The Depression Grand Challenge is not a typical university research initiative focused singularly on discovery and the creation of new knowledge or understanding. We commit to staying engaged until we find a foothold for solutions and their application in the world.
  3. Cross-sector collaboration: We collaborate with industry, universities, government entities, philanthropists, advocates and people with lived experience, all aligned to reach our goal. Collaboration and funding are essential to our success.
  4. Discipline and agility: We recognize the need to be both disciplined and agile. We continuously assess our projects and approaches to ensure they are the most effective path to our goals and objectives. 

Read more about who we are, our advisors, the core values that guide our priorities, decision and actions, and our history.

If you are interested in learning more about UCLA’s approach to grand challenges, please visit the UCLA Grand Challenges website