OVERVIEW: The Gates Foundation doesn't have a grantmaking program exclusively dedicated to brain research and treatment, but it does award some pretty significant grants in this space, mainly out of its Discovery and Translational Sciences program.
IP TAKE: In order to get a brain grant from Gates, your research needs to line up with one of the foundation's global health initiatives.
PROFILE: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a fairly broad grantmaking focus: it aims to solve problems that plague the developing world, including, but not limited to, health concerns, family planning initiatives and agricultural programs. So, despite the lack of a specific brain research grantmaking program, it is possible to obtain funding for brain-related initiatives -- if your research lines up with Gates' global health goals.
Brain research and treatment projects have received very limited attention from Gates over the past decade, with only a handful of related grants awarded annually. The challenge is finding research areas where brain research and the developing world overlap. Most brain research is undertaken in well-developed, technologically advanced countries. However, the brain-related research Gates has funded in the past have often been toward the benefit of populations in developing countries.
The best bet for grantseekers for procuring a few bucks from Gates is to conduct a close examination of the foundation’s different grantmaking programs and determine which program—if any—most closely aligns with their interests.
Grantseekers with projects that are not closely aligned with a Gates strategy are unlikely to get a second glance from the foundation. Bear in mind that the bulk of Gates' programs are not only focused on the developing world, but they're public-health-minded, as well.
While the foundation does award the majority of its brain research related grants out of its Discovery and Translational Sciences program, most supported projects benefit children in less-developed countries and young children in general.