Conrad Foundation Launches Brain Trust

conrad_foundationHOUSTON, Jan. 28, 2014 (Conrad Foundation PR) – As part of the Conrad Foundation’s ongoing commitment to developing the conscientious  leaders of tomorrow, the international not-for-profit launched its latest initiative, Brain Trust. The program was established to provide motivated young innovators with the opportunity to further develop products and services created as part of the Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge.

Services provided to Brain Trust participants include assistance with intellectual property protection, consultations with business and technical experts, and access to grants and other funding opportunities. Teams also are eligible for exclusive speaking and networking opportunities offered by the Conrad Foundation and its partners. Funding for the Brain Trust grants and services was made possible through a 2013 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign which raised more than $40,000 to launch the new program.

As part of the official launch, Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, announced the first two recipients of Brain Trust seed grants.

Mario Chris and John Reidy from Team Xavier Falcons, originally from Middletown, Conn. and now attending Stanford and Cornell Universities respectively, received the first grant of $1,500. Chris and Reidy will use the funds to further develop their adaptive leading edge droop mechanism which functions to increase stalling angles and decrease drag. Chris stated that with the incorporation of their designed mechanism on all private aircraft, such as the aircraft developed by Cessna, the savings would correlate to more than 2.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions or the amount absorbed by 60,000 trees.

Sisters MaryAnn, Lilith and Adia Bulawa from Team Chicks in Space of Ava, NY received a $1,200 grant from the Brain Trust for their microgravity hydroponic garden, the Garden of ETON.  The grant will help the team with marketing and developing a campaign to generate the resources needed to test the product in microgravity.

“We feel space exploration is important, and a renewable source of food and oxygen is essential for success in long-term missions. We believe the Garden of ETON may help solve some of the current problems of a functioning hydroponic garden in space,” said Adia Bulawa.

Both teams reached the finals of the 2012-2013 Spirit of Innovation Challenge, attending the competition’s Innovation Summit held last April. The Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge, which is made possible by Lockheed Martin, as well as PepsiCo and Battelle, provides a platform for teams of students to apply science, technology, engineering and math to develop innovative solutions to key global issues.

For more information about Brain Trust and the other programs of the Conrad Foundation or to learn how to contribute to these programs, visit or email info (at)