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BetterUp’s Center for Purpose and Performance Announces Call for Submissions for Inaugural Research Prize

November 15, 2023 - 10 min read

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Panel of Judges Join Chair Adam Grant to Unlock New Insights and a Deeper Understanding of Leading for Purpose and Performance in the Workplace

SAN FRANCISCO — November 15, 2023 - BetterUp®, the human transformation platform, today announced its open call for submissions for the first annual research prize bestowed by the Center for Purpose and Performance, chaired by renowned organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant. The Center was founded in 2022 to deepen the understanding of the intersection of well-being, purpose, and performance. The prize will recognize and fund research that introduces original ideas, exhibits cutting-edge scientific methods, and demonstrates significant potential for meaningful advancements in the workplace. An expert panel of luminaries—including pioneering psychological safety expert Amy C. Edmondson (Harvard Business School), thought leader James Clear (Atomic Habits), and senior vice president and chief people officer Tiffanie Boyd (McDonald’s USA)—will join Grant in judging research submissions and selecting winners of the prize. Submissions will be accepted from November 15, 2023 to February 15, 2024.

The theme for this year’s research prize is “Leading for Purpose and Performance” with a focus on insights that:

  • Rethink purpose and performance: Developing and analyzing structures and models that advance organizational effectiveness through innovation, collaboration, and adaptation in dynamic and complex work environments. 
  • Reimagine cultures of inclusion and well-being: Using novel sources of data on human and organizational behavior to improve our understanding of the barriers and facilitators of psychological safety, vitality, and mattering in the workplace. 
  • Revolutionize management’s relationship to machines: Demonstrating new and effective approaches for exploring AI-mediated communication, collaboration, and management to enhance productivity and flourishing.

The Center’s prize will recognize and award peer-reviewed research that introduces novel applications, exhibits rigorous methods, and demonstrates significant potential for transformative advancements in the human experience of work. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that build upon their published research and demonstrate how their findings can be practically applied and extended in real-world settings to promote purpose and performance at the individual and organizational level.

The winning researchers will conduct their research in partnership with BetterUp Labs, coaches and customers that represent some of the world’s largest organizations. 

“We launched the Center to advance science and practice around excellence and well-being at work,” said Adam Grant, Chair of BetterUp’s Center for Purpose and Performance. “Our goal with this research competition is to motivate and support research that is both novel and useful for improving the world of work. We look forward to funding rigorous studies that have real relevance to the workplace.”

To make a meaningful impact on advancing the understanding of purpose and performance in the workplace, the Center convened a community of researchers, psychologists, and executives. This includes an expert panel of judges with backgrounds in behavioral science, leadership, and management. In addition to selecting the winner of the Center’s Prize, the panel will facilitate conversations and dialogue between the academia and business communities at several events throughout the year. The panel consists of:

  • Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at Wharton and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again. His expertise centers on how people can find motivation and meaning and lead more generous and creative lives. His books have sold millions of copies, his TED talks have been viewed over 30 million times, and his TED podcasts WorkLife and Re:Thinking have been downloaded over 65 million times.
  • Amy C. Edmondson is a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, best known for her groundbreaking work on psychological safety and learning. She is the author of The Fearless Organization and The Right Kind Of Wrong.
  • Tiffanie Boyd is the Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer for McDonald’s USA and a member of the US Senior Leadership Team. In this role, she is accountable for people strategy, alignment, talent management, performance management, leadership development, and diversity, equity, & inclusion.
  • James Clear is a writer and speaker focused on habits, decision making, and continuous improvement. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits,” which has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

On December 7, 2023 in New York City, the Center will host its inaugural event, The Collaborative. The private event will bring together a diverse community of executives and senior leaders, academics, practitioners, coaches, and thought leaders committed to elevating purpose and performance in the workplace. 

The Center’s Prize recipients will be announced in Spring 2024. The Grand Prize winner will receive $100,000 and two Distinction Award winners will receive $50,000 each to bring their research proposals to life. The winners will partner with BetterUp Labs for 18 months to facilitate the translation of their research findings into tangible workplace implementations. 

Researchers and academics interested in submitting their work for the Center for Purpose and Performance Prize can do so by visiting

About the Center for Purpose and Performance  

The Center for Purpose and Performance’s mission is to unlock powerful insights about human potential. We facilitate bold conversations with scholars and practitioners, fund innovative research, and use science to enhance and promote the tools, practices, and interactions that improve the quality of life and work. The Center is chaired by Adam Grant, one of the world’s leading researchers, writers, and thinkers on work and psychology.

About BetterUp

Founded in 2013, BetterUp® is the human transformation company driving peak performance in individuals and organizations through unparalleled access to coaching, content, community, and AI. BetterUp is the inventor of virtual coaching and the largest mental health and coaching startup in the world, with the world’s largest network of over 4,000 Coaches offering support in 64 languages across over 70 countries. Trusted by more than 600 organizations including NASA, Google, Chipotle, Salesforce, Hilton, and other leading Fortune 1,000 companies, BetterUp delivers on key impact areas – transformational leadership, resilience and readiness, and manager effectiveness – all with the vision to inspire people everywhere to live with greater clarity, purpose, and passion. BetterUp’s Science Board is composed of leading researchers and luminaries in the fields of positive psychology and human performance including Martin Seligman, Shawn Achor, Quinetta Roberson, and Adam Grant who also serves as the Chairman of the BetterUp Center for Purpose & Performance. BetterUp has been recognized by Inc. 5000, Fortune’s Great Places to Work, and PEOPLE Magazine’s Companies that Care. Investors include Wellington Management, ICONIQ Growth, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Threshold Ventures, PLUS Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Mubadala Investment Company, Morningside Group, SV Angel, Freestyle Capital, Crosslink Capital, and Tenaya Capital. To learn more, visit

About BetterUp Labs 

Launched in 2018, BetterUp Labs is a $20 million investment and a first-of-its-kind behavioral research lab bringing together business, academia, and science. With a team of more than 40 PhDs, embedded across the BetterUp organization, Labs brings expertise and innovative research techniques in organizational psychology, behavioral neuroscience and social psychology. The Labs team is dedicated to conducting validated and peer-reviewed studies, and to understanding lasting behavior change from the world’s largest real-time dataset on coaching and personal and professional growth. BetterUp Labs has published cutting-edge research on the topics of Meaning and Purpose, Belonging, Connection, and Future Minded Leadership (prospection), and how they relate to human transformation. To learn more, visit

Published November 15, 2023

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