2023 Allen Discovery Center for Neuroimmnue Interactions Open Call

Funding Agency:
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

We are excited to announce a 2023 Allen Discovery Center (ADC) initiative to support research that will answer large, paradigm-shifting, and fundamental biological questions at the intersection of immunology and neuroscience that may ultimately change the way we think about normal physiology. Up to one award will be made for up to $10 million in total funding support provided over four years.

We welcome submissions from researchers who are innovative scientists and effective leaders with the vision and drive to create an agile, action-oriented team focused on hard problems and frontier territory with transformational potential across a broad landscape. We look forward to reading your innovative and ambitious project ideas.

Letters of Intent (LOI) submissions are open between 12 noon Pacific Time on June 22 and 12 noon Pacific Time on July 7, 2022. Selected LOIs will be invited to submit full proposals to be considered for an ADC award in 2023. 

Interested Duke applicants should contact Jennifer Gallina or Vera Luck (jennifer.gallina@duke.edu; vera.luck@duke.edu) in Foundation Relations to ensure smooth internal coordination.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Continuing advances in immunology and neurosciences have highlighted intriguing cross talk between these systems and their adaptive changes in health and in disease. We seek a project with an innovative team and approach that would allow for breakthrough insights and understanding of immune–nervous system interactions.  

Proposed research with a strong focus on one or several of the following is encouraged: peripheral immune and nervous system interplay (e.g., neurotransmitters and peripheral immune system interactions); two-way communication between the immune and nervous system (including inter-organ interactions, the peripheral and central systems, etc.); and human biology. Projects can be inclusive of additional actors (endocrine system, microbiome, etc.). Approaches could include and leverage systems biology and/or technology development.  

The core research program should focus on fundamental biological mechanisms and normal physiology (homeostasis). Proposed research programs may include work on a specific disease or diseases as a way to elucidate fundamental mechanisms. Lesser preference will be given to proposals focused primarily or solely on central nervous system–immune system interactions. 

Eligibility Requirements

US or international scientists associated with nonprofit research organizations are eligible to apply. Leaders must possess at least seven years of independent research experience (e.g., level of associate professor or similar positions). PIs may not currently hold significant leadership positions in other centers or similar efforts. Current Allen Institute employees or advisors are not eligible to apply during their tenure at the Allen Institute. Eligible research organizations are nonprofit institutions with current 501(c)(3) Public Charity status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), non-federal government entities, IRS-recognized tribes, and other organizations that conduct charitable activities. Applicants may not be private foundations as defined in Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. We believe that diverse perspectives are vital to science. We encourage researchers who are members of underrepresented groups and/or have followed less-traditional career paths as well as teams that include members from across career stages to apply.

We ask that the leader of an Allen Discovery Center commit 50% effort to the Center leadership and research activities. If the Center organizational structure has shared leadership, the expectation would be a commitment of 40% effort for the primary and a minimum of 25–30% effort for the other PIs, given that acceptable descriptions of the shared leadership roles and an articulation of how such an organizational structure would work in practice are provided. If other organizational structures are being considered, please contact the Frontiers Group for further discussion. 



Amount Description

There will be up to one award made for up to $10M in total funding support provided over four years. 

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Minorities encouraged


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 7, 2022