BrightFocus Foundation: Grants for Brain & Mental Health

OVERVIEW: Formerly known as the American Health Assistance Foundation, BrightFocus supports research into Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

IP TAKE: BrightFocus is on the lookout for researchers that can translate their ideas into practice. The foundation is open to funding innovative and experimental studies that may get overlooked by other funders due to the largely unproven nature of their work.

PROFILE: Based in Clarksburg, Maryland, BrightFocus Foundation has been supporting brain and vision research since 1973, focusing on early-stage research conducted by scientists and researchers all over the world. Its one important goal is to “end brain and eye disease in our lifetime.” To that end, it offers educational materials, outreach, and resources for researchers and patients. Its research grants have three main focus areas: Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

BrightFocus offers a substantial amount of grants to Alzheimer’s disease research every year. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded “nearly $120 million to support promising research in fields ranging from molecular biology to genetics to epidemiology.” The foundation’s Standard Award is aimed at “researchers who have already generated some amount of preliminary data, but are often required to demonstrate additional, significant progress before they can apply to governmental or industrial funding agencies.” BrightFocus also offers Postdoctoral Fellowships for “young researchers in their final stages of mentored training.” These fellowships are intended to support “projects in an established laboratory that will serve as the basis for the applicant's own independent research career.”

BrightFocus’s grants and fellowships for Alzheimer’s research typically award up to $100,000 per year for a two to three year period. Grantseekers may search the foundation’s Grants Database for more information on the type of research it tends to support.

The deadline for the Alzheimer’s program generally falls in October of each year; applicants may apply online.

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