Rita Allen Foundation: Grants for Brain Research

OVERVIEW: The Rita Allen Foundation focuses its research-related grantmaking on early-career scientists studying cancer, immunology, and neuroscience.

IP TAKE: Allen backs a wide range of groundbreaking research in the field of neuroscience. Grantseekers looking to approach this funder should expect a good amount of competition.

PROFILE: While Rita Allen Foundation has been around for decades, it wasn’t until 2009 that it hired its first CEO and open its first office. Founded in 1953, Rita Allen has been backing big ideas “in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems.”

Foundation-wide, Allen backs research into biomedical research, prioritizing cancer, immunology, and neuroscience. The foundation does not appear to zero in on any particular area of brain research in its funding: it has supported work in neural development, brain repair, neurobiology, and neuroplasticity, to name a few.

Brain research grants are awarded out of the foundation’s Scholars Program. Grants of up to $110,000 per year for a period of up to five years are awarded to early-career biomedical scientists conducting pioneering research. The funds may be used to help scientists establish their own labs and “pursue research directions with above-average risk and promise.”

Rita Allen Foundation also awards grants for pain research. Awards are made for up to three years, at $50,000 per year. Pain research grants are made in collaboration with the American Pain Society.

Scholar program funds must be used for direct project expenses, which includes up to 50 percent of the grantee’s salary. To get a broader sense of the types of brain research Allen backs, browse its listing of recent scholars.

In general, Rita Allen Foundation takes a proactive approach to its grantmaking by identifying organizations for funding. However, the foundation reviews unsolicited letters of inquiry (LOIs) twice per year, from December 1 to January 15, and from May 15 to June 30.


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