Last year, the Whitehall Foundation gave out over 70 grants of $225,000 each, and a lot of them had to do with the senses. The foundation exists specifically to forward research in neurobiology. It’s been around since 1937. You might say this foundation has existed as long as the science of neurobiology itself, and apparently, it’s interested in smells. Smells and sights and sleep and serotonin, just for starters.
Now it’s ready to recruit 2015’s batch of awardees, and is inviting LOIs, due April 15. Most of its awards will be three-year, $225,000 grants to established scientists who lack the opportunity to pursue other funding sources. Smaller one-year grants of up to $30,000 are also available—these grants-in-aid are designed to enable assistant professor researchers to become more established, enabling them to compete with the big boys. As with other independent foundations, Whitehall seeks researchers doing things outside the realm of what federal agencies would support. While most of its recent activities seem not particularly earth-shattering when looked at individually, cumulatively, they adds up to a lot.
In 2014, Whitehall gave several awards to researchers studying pattern recognition, like one to Ian G. Davidson of Boston University. His study was titled "Circuit Mechanisms for Learned Pattern Recognition in Piriform Cortex,” and it’s the kind of thing we’re talking about. It seems small, but also like it has a good shot at leading to something useful. Maybe not game-changer useful, but still. The award is about getting outside-the-box scientists into the lab, and giving them money to be there.
Whitehall also awarded $225,000 to Mi-Hyeon Jang of the Mayo College of Medicine, for his study titled “Activity-Dependent Regulation of Newborn Neurons in the Adult Brain.” Studying how neurons work is more of a general project, and as such, it’s more risky. What insights could be gained by looking generally at how neurons work, and how they regulate themselves as they grow? We’re glad someone is investing in an answer to that question.
And now, for the fine print:
To be eligible, applicants must hold the position of assistant professor or higher; must hold Principal Investigator status; and be considered an “independent investigator” with his/her own dedicated lab space or with lab space independent of another investigator.
Letters of Intent must be received no later than April 15, 2015. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit complete applications.
Visit the Whitehall Foundation website to learn more.