Brain Research Foundation 2015 Seed Grant Guidelines
Download a PDF version of the 2015 Seed Grant Guidelines.
The Brain Research Foundation has invited 29 US institutions to nominate
faculty to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the Fay/Frank Seed Grant Program.
Invited institutions outside of Illinois may submit up to 2 LOI’s per
institution. Invited Illinois institutions may submit up to 4 LOI’s.
The Brain Research Foundation’s Annual Seed Grant Program was initiated in
1981. The purpose of our Program is to provide start-up monies for new research projects in
the field of Neuroscience that will likely lead to extramural funding from the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) or other outside funding sources.Click here to read about current and past research
projects we've helped support.
The Brain Research Foundation’s Scientific Review
Committee will review the Seed Grant 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 the Brain Research
Foundation are also present when the Committee meets.
You must be invited by the Brain Research Foundation to participate in this
funding opportunity. If your institution was not invited, your submission will not be
considered.The invited institutions were determined by the Brain Research Foundation. The
determined list is not negotiable. Please do not contact the Foundation to request an
Funding and award period
Utilization of funds
Animal and Human subject assurances
The objective of the BRF Seed Grant Program is to support new and innovative
projects, especially those of junior faculty, who are working in new research directions. The
BRF Seed Grant awards are not intended to supplement existing grants.
Funding and award period
Based on the quality of applications, the Brain Research Foundation
anticipates the Seed Grant Program will fund a total of $800,000 in grants. Each total award
is limited to $80,000 (direct costs) for a two year grant period from the specified dates
only (January 2015-December 2017). Exact dates will be provided by the BRF upon application
approval. The first grant payment of $40,000 will be made upon completion of the Seed Grant
Acceptance Form. The final payment of $40,000 will be made contingent upon receipt of a
Preliminary Progress and Financial Report, which will be due one year prior to the end date
of the grant period.
Fundsmust be utilized within the grant period.Financial and
progress reports, including a lay summary, will be required within 30 days of the end
of the grant period.
Funding is to be directed at pilot research projects that are both
innovative and will likely lead to successful grant applications to NIH and other public
and private funding entities.
Assistant Professor – Junior faculty
with a new research project that will generate pilot data that will lead to RO1 funding or
a comparable outside grant will be first priority.
Associate Professor – Faculty who are
pursuing new research directions. Must explain how the project is a new research direction.
Must provide abstract for current grant(s). (Note: A new technique is not
considered a new direction unless it pertains to a different area of study.)
PI can receive a maximum of 2 consecutive years of funding. PI may reapply
after one year of not receiving funding.
Seed Grants are NOT to be used for bridge funding between grants.
Note: The Brain Research Foundation may fund up to five renewals of Seed
Utilization of funds
100% of these Seed Grant funds must be utilized for direct
Costs that may be covered by Seed Grant funds include:
Purchase and care of laboratory animals
Small pieces of laboratory equipment, totaling $5,000 or less
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
Indirect costs, including university fees associate with salary,
Publications resulting in projects funded in whole or part by the BRF seed
grant will acknowledge the BRF as a funding source.
To be eligible, PI must be a full-time Assistant or Associate Professor
at an invited institution, working in the area of studies of brain function. 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.
PI is ineligible if they arenot a full-time faculty member at the
institution in which they are applying under.
PI is ineligible if they are a Full Professor.
PI is ineligible to submit more than one BRF Seed Grant proposal in
a funding period.
PI is ineligible if they have BRF funding that will overlap this grant
PI is ineligible if they have been awarded prior BRF funding, but have
failed to submit scientific and financial reports at the end of their one year grant
PI is ineligible if they are a member of the BRF Scientific Review
PI is ineligible if they are a relative of BRF a representative,
including the SRC, as defined by the Foundation.
The Brain Research Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race,
sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, ethnic origin, and age.
Applications must be submitted electronically via the BRF grants website
(http://research.theBRF.org) as a single, combined electronic document
(PDF) using the BRF LOI and Application forms (provided on the website upon registration).
Documents may be combined into a single document using Adobe Acrobat. A version of this
program is downloadable on the BRF grants website. BRF will only accept up to two LOI’s
per institution outside of Illinois, and up to four LOI’s at Illinois
The application process will be conducted in two
Phase I: Letter of Intent (LOI)The first step in applying for a BRF Seed Grant is
to submit a Letter of Intent. The purpose of the LOI is to determine worthy projects that
will be asked to submit a complete Seed Grant application for further review. The LOI and
invited application must be submitted by a single investigator.
LOI submission must include an institutional signature to verify
nomination. LOI’s submitted without an institutional signature
will not be accepted. The LOI should be submitted by the PI online at
http://research.theBRF.org. A lay summary and keywords will be requested
The LOI submission includes:
- BRF LOI form, including the following information:
- Name and academic title of PI
- Contact information, including mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and
- Title of program project
- PI Signature
- Signature of institutional representative (Office of Research, Office of Sponsored
- Brief summary of program project (1 page maximum, single spaced, ½ inch margins, Times
New Roman 11 pt. font minimum)
- Biographical sketch (using current NIH format) with other support page (4 page
For Seed Grant Renewals Only
If the PI wants to renew their current Seed Grant to continue their
research, PI must include a Progress Report with the submission of this Letter of Intent
(Note: A Seed Grant may only be renewed once):
• Summary of research progress (1-2 pages)
• Financial report from PI’s institution
• List of publications/manuscripts resulting from this project, if
• Why PI wants to continue the current project for another
Submit completed LOI electronically via http://research.theBRF.org. Faxed, emailed, or mailed applications
will NOT be accepted. Consideration will be given only to those Letters of Intent completed
according to instructions and with no missing information.
**An automatic email is generated upon submission of the electronic
application. If PI does not receive a confirmation, please contact info@theBRF.org.
Deadline for the LOI is January 8, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. PST. LOIs will not
be accepted after the deadline. No exceptions will be made. Submitted LOI's that have not
been nominated by their institution will not be considered.
Phase II: Application–If the LOI receives a favorable review, the PI will
be invited to submit a grant application. (Note: Approximately 50% of
invited applications will be awarded funding.) Submit completed application
electronically via http://research.theBRF.org.
The 5 page grant proposal deadline is April 1, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. PST.
Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. No exceptions will be made.
LOI submissions are reviewed and rated by the BRF Scientific Review
Committee. So there is not a conflict of interest, the proposals will not be reviewed
by committee members from the same institution as the applicant. (Note: Review procedures and
guidelines will be followed according to NIH Conflict of Interest, Confidentiality and Non
Grant applications are subject to a two-stage peer-review process. In the first
stage, proposals are reviewed and rated by senior scientists from the BRF Scientific Review
Committee. The second stage includes further review and discussion of the scores and comments
resulting from the initial review process. This process is also carried out by the BRF
Scientific Review Committee.
In order to keep administrative costs of review minimal for the Foundation,
no feedback can be provided to applicants.
Animal and Human Subject Assurances
The Brain Research Foundation requires animal welfare and human subject
certifications that apply to your specific project. The certifications are not required for
the LOI, but are required when submitting a completed grant application.
For more information about seed grant application process, please visit our
Frequently Asked Questions page. You may also contact the Brain
Research Foundation by email or by
calling (312) 759-5150.