Limited Submission Opportunity: 2023 Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant Program

Applications due Nov. 7

This is a joint competition for VU and VUMC investigators. All investigators should follow these instructions


Vanderbilt (VU and VUMC, collaboratively) may nominate one candidate for the Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant Program for 2023. This award provides $80,000 (direct costs) over two years to support 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 neuroscience projects, especially those of junior faculty, who are working in new research directions. Funds must be utilized within the grant period.


  • PI must be a full-time assistant or associate professor 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.
    • Assistant professor – Junior faculty with a new research project that will generate pilot data that will lead to R01 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.
    • Associate professor – Faculty who are pursuing new research directions. Must explain how the project is a new research direction. A new technique is not considered a new direction unless it pertains to a different area of study. Must provide abstract and specific aims for current grant(s) and indicate if there is any overlap.
  • Research assistant professors, research associate professors and full professors are not eligible.
  • The grant proposal must detail a new research project that is not funded by other sources.

All applicants should verify their eligibility in advance by consulting the 2023 Seed Grant Guidelines on the foundation website.

Internal application process

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s potential nominee must submit the following (in PDF format) to by 5 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2022. 

  1. Brief research plan including summary budget (2-page max. including budget);
    • Include closing paragraph that explains how this research will develop (next steps)
    • Refer to the funding specifics in the 2023 Seed Grant Guidelines for allowable costs
  2. Letter of support from department chair/center director;
    • Letter must additionally acknowledge that this grant does not allow indirect costs.** This statement can be used/modified within the letter: “The department recognizes that this grant does not allow indirect costs and will commit to covering any associated indirect costs per applicable school/institutional policy.”
  3. NIH Biosketch (5-page max.)
    • Biosketch should contain “other support page”

**Process for cost sharing typically coordinated at the departmental level and approved by department chair and/or dean. Please consult for further guidance.

Submissions should reference the program name in the subject line of the email.

Vanderbilt’s nominee will submit a required LOI to the foundation by Dec. 23, 2022.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to