Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award

Funding Agency:
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for the second cycle of the Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Awards. This is an investigator award for early career academic investigators, especially those who are new to the field of neurodegeneration. Awards are $1.2M in total costs over 4 years. Early career investigators will benefit from mentored support and resources of the CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network.

The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NCDN) was launched in 2018 with the vision that progress in solving neurodegenerative diseases will come from bringing new people into the neurodegeneration field from diverse disciplines and expertise; supporting interdisciplinary collaborations; empowering the broader scientific community with robust tools and platforms, and creating a culture of open science.

Our aim for the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network is to bring together outstanding, innovative, forward-thinking scientists from different disciplines and ask them to think differently about how to work together to solve neurodegeneration. We encourage applications from investigators who are tackling underexplored topics as well as those addressing more well-developed mechanisms where there remain significant gaps in understanding. We are especially interested in investigators who are exploring cellular or circuit mechanisms that are broadly relevant and address these mechanisms in the context of an integrated view of human disease biology.

Deadline for LOI: April 20, 2023

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Investigators new to the field of neurodegeneration with backgrounds in basic science fields such as neuroscience, cell biology, computational biology, or immunology are encouraged to apply. Experience in disciplines outside of biomedicine that would bring new technology, resources, or intellectual frameworks to the field are strongly encouraged.

● All applicants must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or equivalent independent investigator status at a college, university, medical school or other research facility.

● Applicants should have been in their first independent position for a minimum of two years and less than six years as of the due date for the Letter of Intent application. Independence in an academic setting is typically demonstrated by a full-time faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent. Independence may be defined differently in different types of organizations. Note: an upload of the letter or proof of independence is not required at the time of application. CZI will make exceptions to these criteria in cases of institutionally approved career breaks, e.g. family or medical leave, etc. (if this applies to you, please contact

● Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign non-profit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments; and eligible agencies of the federal government. For-profit organizations are not eligible. All grants will be awarded to institutions, not individuals.

● There may be more than one application from each institution.



Amount Description

 Awards are $300,000 in total costs per year for four years ($1,200,000 total costs).

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science

External Deadline

April 20, 2023