NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today launched the Dr. Paul Janssen Project – a multi-faceted public engagement initiative that extends the legacy of Dr. Paul Janssen – one of the most accomplished industry researchers and humanitarians of the 20th century – and promotes broader engagement and appreciation for the value that science and technology innovation brings to humanity.
"Throughout his life, Dr. Paul Janssen was driven by a passion to make an impact on the world, and he did that through translating the best science to meet patient need," said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. "Today, Johnson & Johnson and its family of companies continue to live into that mission by transforming innovative ideas into new treatments and healthcare solutions, and by championing the role that science plays in the life of every person on this planet."
The Dr. Paul Janssen Project (The Project) encompasses programs that fuel the next generation of innovators, celebrate the power of science to change the world and inspire champions of science across the globe.
"Science and technology can create a healthier future for all of us. Today, more than ever, science needs champions who can engage society in a broader way," said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson. "As a global healthcare company, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to influence the popular culture narrative about the role of science in society, and engage people of all generations and backgrounds to see the unlimited opportunities that science brings in the future of health."
As part of The Project, the company will host a series of Champions of Science "What's New?" QuickFire Challenges to engage the public in re-imagining the future of science. The first Challenge, titled "The Lab Coat of the Future", will kick off in October 2017 and invite participants to transform the age-old, often stereotyped symbol of science – the white lab coat – into a symbol of breakthrough innovation in the 21st century using modern design, textile engineering and wearable technology. World renowned entrepreneur and Shark on ABC's four-time Emmy Award winning series, Shark Tank, Daymond John will serve as a judge.
"I find it amazing that the white lab coat hasn't substantially changed for over a century, while at the same time, science, technology and fashion have gone through amazing transformations," said Daymond John. "I'm very excited to be part of this Challenge to get people thinking and talking about the role that science, technology and innovation play in our lives."
Joining John as judges will include experts from science and technology, textile engineering and wearables, as well as a representative of Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. – the strategic venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson. Finalists will compete in a Facebook Live event to select the winner of the Challenge in Spring 2018.
Additionally, to continue Dr. Paul Janssen's legacy of championing science for humanity, a new initiative, The Art & Science of Ending Stigma About Mental Illness, will launch in 2018 with the mission to reduce cultural stigma of mental illness and increase awareness of the biological basis of brain disorders.
"The Art & Science of Ending Stigma About Mental Illness builds on Dr. Paul's legacy of advocating for those with mental illnesses," said Dr. Stoffels. "The program will combine the transcendent nature of art in its many forms with the rationality of science to engage the public in understanding mental illness and how we can work together to conquer stigma."
Finally, in collaboration with Scientific American Custom Media, the company has launched a new content series to share the stories of brilliant thinkers, big ideas and exciting breakthroughs that make our world a better place. See the first of the stories here.
The Dr. Paul Janssen Project will be officially launched later today at the annual Dr. Paul Janssen Award celebration in New York City. The Award honors the legacy of Dr. Paul and celebrates today's most dedicated researchers. Since its inception in 2004, the Award has recognized 15 outstanding scientists, including two who went on to win the Nobel Prize. Today, Johnson & Johnson will celebrate the 2017 winner Dr. Douglas Wallace of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for pioneering the field of mitochondrial genetics. Dr. Wallace is the first champion of science to be profiled in the Scientific American Custom Media content series, and also will serve as an advisor on select initiatives for The Project.
Earlier this year, the company launched the #ChampionsofScience campaign to encourage social media users to share their support of science with the world. The company has committed to donating $5 for each use of the hashtag through September 30, 2017 up to a total donation of $50,000, to the Biotechnology Institute. The campaign has already exceeded its goal, with a total of nearly 18,000 hashtag uses to date.
To learn more about the Dr. Paul Janssen Project and all of its initiatives, please visit www.drpaulproject.com.
About Johnson & Johnson
Caring for the world, one person at a time, inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science - bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 132,500 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world. For more information, visit www.jnj.com.
About Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS
Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (JLABS) is a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators to create and accelerate the delivery of life-saving, life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. JLABS currently has nine locations in innovation hot spots across North America and produces entrepreneurial programs and campaigns to seek out the best science, like the QuickFire Challenges around the globe. For more information about JLABS, visit www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com.
 The Champions of Science "What's New?" Challenges are managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS as part of their QuickFire Challenge platform. Learn more at https://jlabs.jnjinnovation.com/quickfire-challenges.
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SOURCE Johnson & Johnson