Scientific Innovations Award 2020

The Brain Research Foundation has invited eligible U.S. institutions to nominate one senior faculty member to submit a Letter of Intent for the Scientific Innovations Award (SIA). SIA provides funding for innovative science in both basic and clinical neuroscience. This funding mechanism is designed to support creative, exploratory, cutting edge research in well-established research laboratories, under the direction of established investigators.

Brain Research Foundation's Scientific Review Committee will review the SIA proposals and make recommendations for funding to the Foundation. The Committee consists of senior scientists broadly representing the various neuroscience-related programs. Two or more representatives of Brain Research Foundation are also present when the Committee meets.

Based on the quality of applications, the Brain Research Foundation anticipates the SIA program will fund a total of $450,000 in grants. Each total award is limited to $150,000 (direct costs) for a two year grant period from the specified dates only. Exact dates will be provided by the BRF upon application approval. The first grant payment of $75,000 will be made upon completion of the SIA Acceptance Form (January 2020). The final payment of $75,000 will be made contingent upon receipt of a Preliminary Progress and Financial Report (January 2021). Funds must be utilized within the grant period.

The objective of the SIA is to support projects that may be too innovative and speculative for traditional funding sources but still have a high likelihood of producing important findings. It is expected that investigations supported by these grants will yield high impact findings and result in major grant applications and significant publications in high impact journals.

Funding Preferences:

  • Funding is to be directed at projects that may be too innovative and speculative for traditional funding sources but still have a high likelihood of producing important findings. This should be a unique project for senior investigators who are encouraged to stretch their imagination into areas that can substantially change an area of research.
  • Funding of research projects that will likely lead to successful grant applications with NIH and other public and private funding entities.

Allowable costs under this award:

  • 100% of the SIA funds must be utilized for direct costs.

These costs may include:

  • Purchase and care of laboratory animals,
  • Small pieces of laboratory equipment, totaling $5,000 or less,
  • Laboratory supplies, or
  • Salary for scientific (including postdoctoral fellows) and technical staff (including laboratory technicians).

Costs not permitted:

  • Facilities and administrative costs,
  • Salary recovery for the PI,
  • Domestic and foreign travel,
  • Conference or seminar fees,
  • Personal computers, computer hardware or software,
  • Large laboratory equipment,
  • Tuition reimbursement,
  • Indirect costs, including university fees associated with salary, equipment, etc., or
  • Charges or other costs that support the infrastructure an institution provides researchers.

Publications resulting from projects funded in whole or part by Brain Research Foundation SIA will acknowledge Brain Research Foundation as a funding source.

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

$150,000 ($75,000/yr x 2 yrs; direct costs only)


Applicants are encouraged to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and their projects meet stated program objectives.

The nominated candidate must be a full-time professor or associate professor working in the area of studies of brain function in health and disease. Current major NIH or other peer-reviewed funding is preferred but evidence of such funding in the past three years is essential. Studies should be related to either normal human brain development or specifically identified disease states. This includes molecular and clinical neuroscience as well as studies of neural, sensory, motor, cognitive, behavioral and emotional functioning in health and disease. The grant proposal must detail a new research project that is not funded by other sources. This grant is not to be used as a source of bridge funding.

Investigators at institutions that are affiliated with a medical school or university are eligible to apply only through the institution where they hold a full-time faculty position.

Scientists that have previously received a Brain Research Foundation Scientific Innovations Award may not receive the award for a second time until five years have elapsed since the beginning date of the prior award. Grant requirements from all previous awards must be met. Only one PI may apply per application.

Submission Process

Step 1

In ONE PDF, please provide:

  1. A one-page cover letter with one-inch margins and 12-point-font including:
    • PI Name
    • PI Department/Division and School/College
    • Project Title
    • Brief Summary of Project
  2. Federal-grant-style Biosketch (usually NIH or NSF)

Please send these documents as a single PDF to Stephanie Endy ( by April 26, 2019.

Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by May 3, 2019.

Step 3

Final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration by June 18, 2019, at 5:00 pm EST.

Step 4

Final proposal must be received by the sponsor by June 25, 2019, at 5:00 pm EST.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
04/26/2019 05/03/2019 06/18/2019 06/25/2019 CLOSED