Scientific Innovations Award

BRF’s annual Scientific Innovations Award supports creative, cutting edge research in well-established research laboratories, under the direction of distinguished investigators.

Scientific Innovations Award Guidelines

The 2025 Scientific Innovations Award (SIA) opens on April 2, 2024.

If your institution did not receive an invitation directly from BRF via e-mail, then you are not eligible to apply. To learn more about institutional eligibility and our application guidelines, click below.



If you and your team are on the cusp of making a neurological scientific discovery that will impact society and the medical, scientific or structural approaches taken to brain disease, disorders or development and learning, you could be eligible to apply for our Scientific Innovation Award. 

Below are just some of the innovative scientific studies BRF have funded to date. 

Award Archive

Investigations supported by Scientific Innovations Awards yield high-impact findings and result in major grant applications and significant publications in respected journals.

Brain Research Foundation
Chaolin Zhang, Ph.D., Columbia University
Human-specific Alternative Splicing, Brain
Development, and Ciliopathies
Like movie frames needing to be edited to tell an engaging story, pieces of genetic information stored in DNA for each gene need to be sliced and rejoined, through a…
Brain Research Foundation
Jason Shepherd, Ph.D. University of Utah
Virus-like Intercellular Signaling Underlying Autoimmune Neurological Disorders
Dr. Shepherd’s lab discovered that a brain gene critical for memory and cognition, Arc, has biochemical properties like retroviruses such as HIV. Arc protein can form virus-like protein capsids that…
Brain Research Foundation
Yuki Oka, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Molecular Mechanisms of Osmolality Sensing in the Mammalian Brain
Animals constantly detect and process sensory signals to react appropriately. External sensory information (e.g., light and sound) serves as prominent environmental cues to guide behavior. On the other hand, our…
Brain Research Foundation
Angelique Bordey, Ph.D., Yale University
The Role of Ribosomes in Synaptic Circuit Formation and Socio-Communicative Deficits
Dr. Bordey and her lab’s proposal aims at identifying a molecular mechanism responsible for autism-like socio-communicative defects in the developmental disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a genetic disorder…
Brain Research Foundation
Adam E. Cohen, Ph.D., Harvard University
To spike or not to spike? Mapping dendritic computations in vivo.
The brain is made of neurons, and neurons convert synaptic inputs to spiking outputs. How does a neuron decide when to spike?
Brain Research Foundation
Gina Turrigiano, Ph.D., Brandeis University
Homeostatic Maintenance of Neocortical Excitation-inhibition Balance by Ciliary Neuropeptidergic Signaling
Brain circuit wiring is adjusted during adolescence to generate fully functional circuits, and this process depends on an interaction between genetics and experience. During this period of experience-dependent development, excitatory…
Brain Research Foundation
Gregory Scherrer, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mechanisms of Affective States and Drug Discovery at the Intersection of Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction
Pain is normally a sensation that we experience when our body is exposed to damaging stimuli, such as the noxious heat of an open flame. However, when chronic, pain becomes…
Apply for a Scientific Innovations Award

Scientific Innovation Awards are $150,000 2-year grants directed at projects that may be too innovative and speculative for traditional funding sources, but still have a high likelihood of producing important findings. The Principal Investigator (PI) must be an associate or full professor working in the field of neuroscience.

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