Dana Foundation: Grants for Brain Research

OVERVIEW: Also known as the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the Dana Foundation funds pilot research into brain and immuno-imaging while also supporting clinical neuroscience research.

IP TAKE: Would-be grantees can expect some serious competition when applying for a Dana Foundation grant. It accepts fewer than 10 percent of applications and awards between 10 and 20 grants per year between its two areas of interest. 

PROFILE: The Dana Foundation gives exclusively to researchers who are affiliated with major medical research centers. While it does accept applications from individuals working with those universities and hospitals in the clinical neuroscience research area, the application process for the brain and immuno-imaging area is more stringent. The foundation solicits applications from the deans of American medical schools and a select few research institutions each year. 

The foundation’s David Mahoney Neuroimaging Program supports innovations in imaging that shed light on how the brain functions normally, how it functions after injuries and disorders, and brain function after post-injury therapies are administered. RFPs for this program are typically announced annually, toward the end of the year. Grant amounts range between $100,000 and $300,000 and are generally dispersed over the course of two to three years.  

Dana’s second major grantmaking effort is its Clinical Neuroscience Research Program. Here, the foundation supports “first in man” research on brain diseases. First in man studies involve a few patients that are suffering from a traumatic brain disease for which there is currently no effective treatment. Grants out of this program are for up to $300,000 and are distributed over the course of three years.  

Grantseekers can explore the Dana Foundation’s excellent grants database to get an idea of the types of projects and programs to which it offers its support.

The foundation also supports a few educational programs, focused on outreach beyond the scientific community. It does not accepted unsolicited applications for educational grants, however.

Would-be grantees should keep in mind that the Dana Foundation tends to fund researchers who are working on innovative, off-the-beaten-path projects. The foundation also views itself as a springboard to help just-starting-out scientists develop the pilot data they need to pursue larger funding sources.

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