Internal Deadline
Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 9/5/2023

Seed Grant Program

Brain Research Foundation invites eligible US institutions to nominate one faculty member (Assistant or Associate Professor) to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the BRF Seed Grant Program.    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.    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. BRF Seed Grant awards are not intended to supplement existing grants.    Each total grant is limited to $80,000 (direct costs) for a two year grant period. The first grant payment of $40,000 will be made upon completion of the Seed Grant Acceptance Form (June 2024). The final payment of $40,000 will be made contingent upon receipt of a preliminary progress and financial report (June 2025). Funds must be utilized within the grant period. 


  • Duke Internal:  Oct. 29, 2023
  • Required Letter of Intent: Nov. 21, 2023
  • Invited Applications: March 7, 2024


Areas of Interest

1.) 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.

2.) 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.

• Must provide abstract and specific aims for current grants and indicate if there is any overlap.

3.) Associate Professor – Faculty who are pursuing new research directions.

  •  Must explain how the project is a new research direction.
  •  Must provide abstract and specific aims for current grant(s) and indicate if there is any overlap.

4.) A new technique is not considered a new direction unless it pertains to a different area of study.

5.) Grants are NOT to be used for bridge funding between grants.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, PI must be a full-time Assistant or Associate Professor at an invited US academic 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. This grant is not to be used as 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 BRF Fay/Frank Seed Grant may not receive the award for a second time unless all grant requirements from all previous awards are met. Only one PI may apply per application.


1.) PI is ineligible if they are not a full-time faculty member at the institution in which they are applying under.

2.) PI is ineligible if they are a Full Professor.

3.) PI is ineligible if they are a research assistant professor or research associate professor.

4.) PI is ineligible to submit more than one BRF Seed Grant proposal in a funding period.

5.) PI is ineligible if they have BRF funding that will overlap this grant period.

6.) PI is ineligible if they have been awarded prior BRF funding, but have failed to submit progress and financial reports at the end of their grant period.

7.) PI is ineligible if they are a member of the BRF Scientific Review Committee.

8.) PI is ineligible if they are a relative of BRF a representative, including the SRC, as defined by the Foundation.

Amount Description

Allowable costs under this award:

100% of these Seed Grant 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
  • 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 (including fringe benefits) equipment, etc.
  • Charges or other costs that support the infrastructure an institution provides researchers
Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

  • A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
  • Brief summary of program project (2 page maximum, 10 pt. font minimum)
    • Include closing paragraph that explains how this research will develop (next steps)
    • References may be included on an additional page(s)
  • Biographical sketch (using current NIH format) with other support page (5 page maximum)
    • Due to limited space, you can supply a link to your full list of publications

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code: ILN)

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials:

Funding Type