FAHS Innovation Challenge


The FAHS Innovation Challenge is your opportunity to develop that “Big Idea” that will advance the practice and profession of systemic family therapy. The purpose of this challenge is to encourage Marriage and Family Therapists to think of an innovative advancement that benefits MFTs, consumers or other stakeholders invested in systemic family therapy. This Challenge asks MFTs to think outside of the box, and submit innovative new ideas that, if brought to fruition, can answer a question in a compelling way, but are not yet commercially available.

Innovation Award Criteria
The intent of this challenge is to advance the practice and profession of systemic family therapy through the use of innovation/technology.

  • What we are looking for are truly innovative ideas that might turn the profession a bit upside down. Some questions to consider about your potential project:
  • What is an innovation that can bring awareness of systemic related family therapy?
  • Does the project or process demonstrate service to advance the practice and profession of systemic family therapy in an innovative way so as to bring awareness of family therapy to the varies communities around us?
  • Is the idea relevant to Marriage and Family Therapy?
  • Will it either benefit clinicians or consumer or maybe both?
  • Do you have enough evidence that it could actually succeed?


  • AAMFT member in good standing for individual submissions.
  • A group of no more than five (5) individuals to a “team”, with one team member being the principal author and being an AAMFT member in good standing.
  • Open to United States and Canadian membership.
  • Incomplete registration forms will disqualify an individual or team from eligibility, so please be sure to complete the form before submitting. Do not submit more than one form per team.
  • Project leader of each project chosen will need to submit a W-9 and 1099 Form.
  • No Corporations need apply.
  • Any taxes are the responsibility of the project leader. By submitting an application, participants consent to the use of their name in AAMFT Research & Education Foundation publications and for their submissions to be posted on AAMFT Research & Education Foundation’s website. Competition is void where prohibited. Awards not payable where prohibited.      

Evaluation Criteria:
Submission to the Challenge will be judged by a diverse panel of Clinical Fellows of AAMFT, spanning a variety of expertise. (See breakdown of variables below)

  • Originality/Desirability (60%) – How original or unique is this idea? Has this already been tried? How desirable is this idea? Is this an idea that is clearly needed or desired by someone specific? If it comes to fruition, would it be valuable to someone and is that someone clearly defined?
  • Plan/Feasibility/Impact (40%) – How clear, logical and likely are the steps outlined in the submission to demonstrate the potential of the idea? How feasible is it to implement the project or process to the community? What are the metrics for evaluation?

What if my project or process is chosen?

  • The Research & Education Foundation will award up to a $10,000 grant to assist in implementing the project or process.
  • Once, the winner is announced they will have till one year to complete implementing the project or process.
  • In order to maximize the effect of these grants on innovation and to track the project or process development, winners will receive half of the funds ($5,000) in the beginning and will be required to submit a preliminary report on the status and updates of the project, before receiving the remaining grant money ($5,000).

Key Dates:
December 1, 2021 – Call for Applications
April 29, 2022 –Application Period Closes at 11:59 pm EST
June 2022 – Project winner is announced

Elements of the Application:
The following information will be requested in the application portion of your submission that will not be considered part of your ten pages:

1. Application Information - Each team or individuals must fill out the appropriate application , which will include the contact information of those working on the project, with at least one principal author being an AAMFT member.

2. (Upload)Budget Information - For the application, be prepared to provide information about the proposal project including a detailed budget on how you plan on utilizing the funds should your project or process be chosen.

3. (Upload)Using the 2021 FND Submission template , which can be found on the website, please make sure to address the following mandatory sections. You may write up to ten pages, double-spaced.

  • Title and purpose of submission: state the innovation objectives concisely
    • Submission overview (100 words or less) on how the project or process meets the challenge question provided above. If selected this may be used for publicity purposes.
  • Names of Submitter or Submitters 
  • Description of the program or process
    • Goals
    • Research methods, research questions, data collection procedures and methods of analysis.
    • Specific deliverables accompanying final report
  • Integration/Accounting of AAMFT’s Diversity and Inclusivity policy - which can be found on the website.  
  • Timeline and work plan to accomplish objectives

Specific Variables that will be considered:

The challenge question specifically asks for “an innovation that can bring awareness of systemic related family therapy,” and originality and desirability carries the highest weight of our criteria because we want groundbreaking ideas. Entries should be unique and not something that has already been attempted elsewhere or expanded upon. The point of the challenge is to identify innovative ideas that have not been tried and rewarding the best ones to push the project into something that can be tested. We encourage participants to do a quick search to see if their project is already floating around somewhere.
The challenge question also includes the word “serve” because we want projects that are valuable to someone. Entries should clearly define how the project fills a need or is desired by someone. For a project to move past the idea stage, it has to provide value. If the idea were to move forward and become tangible, would someone want it and find value in it?
Our winner will be expected to move their project forward in a meaningful way and we want to see how they plan to do so. Participants should include the steps they will take to move the project forward in the application. Judges will review the plan to make sure the steps outlines are relevant, appropriate and achievable to move the project ahead.
How feasible is the project or process? Can it be done within a budget up to $10,000? What are some possible roadblocks? There is no room for the Foundation to award more funding if the project or process cannot be completed with the $10,000 maximum.
Projects or process should provide meaningful impact. Projects that disrupt organizations, processes, or models are very welcomed. Projects should be far reaching and have appeal to systemic family therapists throughout the world.

End Note
The Foundation operates within the overarching values of AAMFT and will not engage in the following:

  • Contribute or participate in funding for programs, projects, or activities that are not aligned with the AAMFT Strategic Goals.

Please note intellectual capital plagiarism is strictly prohibited.

2021-2022 Application

Any questions on the Innovation Challenge should be submitted to foundation@aamft.org