The McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience supports research initiatives at Washington University. Two funding opportunities are supported by the Center: small grant proposals and new resource proposals.

Small Grant Proposals

Overview: The Small Grants Proposal (SGP) mechanism is open to all faculty at WU. The SGP is designed to support promising new research projects within the WU systems neuroscience community. This program is intended to promote pilot projects, collaborative ventures and significant new research directions that are not readily supported by standard grant sources. The research should fit within the Center’s overall mission, which is to improve our understanding of information processing and other integrative functions of the brain in health and disease. The Center encourages interdisciplinary approaches that enhance interactions between clinical and basic researchers and between theorists and experimentalists.

Eligibility: Applicants must be faculty (instructor level or above) at WU. If the applicant is an instructor or on a non-tenure track (clinical or research track), the application must include a letter of support from the applicant’s Department Head stating the department’s commitment to the applicant’s research career development at WU.

Budget: Grants can be for 1-2 years, with a maximum budget of $40,000 per year, starting July 1 of the award year. The budget can include equipment, operating expenses, and/or salary for personnel, including Postdoctoral Research Associates, but not for faculty. Travel requests are not allowed, unless critical to the scientific goals of the project. Funds must be used within WU and cannot be sent to other institutions.

Additional Review Criteria: The review committee favors proposals with evidence that the project will lead to new or expanded outside funding, projects that involve multiple WU investigators, and new collaborations. The application should make clear how the proposed research fits within the mission of the Center. Priority is given to applications from faculty who have not been recently funded by either McDonnell Center.

Submission: Application forms can be found here, and one deadline is announced each year in the spring. Applications should be a single PDF sent to the Center Administrators (Carmen Horn, horn_c@wustl.edu). The PDF should include the full application and an NIH biosketch and Other Support for faculty, as well as any supporting letters and/or documentation. Applications that meet the eligibility criteria and follow the application instructions will be reviewed by the Operations Committee. Decisions typically are made by June 1st and notification will come from the Center Director or Administrators.

Fiscal Year 2020 Application Process

The FY20 grant application process is now closed. FY21 grant application will open in January 2020.

For additional information, contact Carmen Horn.


New Resource Proposals

Overview: The New Resource Proposal (NRP) mechanism is open to all faculty at WU. Proposals should enhance or enable Systems Neuroscience research at WU, broadly defined and should ideally include a new collaboration, new line of research or new resource that will benefit systems neuroscience at WU. These requests should include documentation of the potential impact on stakeholders in the neuroscience community and, ideally, shared financial or in kind support from departments, cores or other sources at WU. Review and funding is meant to be flexible, opportunistic and rapid.

Eligibility: Applicants must be faculty (instructor-level or above) at WU. If the applicant is an instructor or on a non-tenure track (clinical or research track), the request must include a letter of support from the applicant’s Department Head stating the department’s commitment to the applicant’s research career development at WU.

Budget: Requests can be of any size within the available resources of the Center, and are not bound by any fixed amount requirement. However, requests above $40,000 for a single year and/or for multiple years receive more scrutiny and face a higher threshold for funding. Funds may be used for relevant expenses of the project including salary support for personnel. Salary support for faculty is not typically allowed. Travel requests are not allowed, unless critical to the scientific goals of the project. Funds must be used within WU and cannot be sent to other institutions.

Additional Review Criteria: NRPs are not designed to provide bridge funding for a lab or project. The review committee favors NRPs with evidence that resources will lead to new or expanded outside funding, projects that will benefit multiple WU investigators, and new collaborations. Priority is given to requests from faculty who have not been recently funded by either McDonnell Center.

Submission: There is no application form and no fixed deadlines. NRPs should be a single PDF sent to the Center Director, Tamara Hershey, PhD (Tammy@wustl.edu). The PDF should include a 1-2 page description of the proposed work that addresses the criteria described above, a brief budget and justification, NIH biosketch and Other Support for faculty, as well as any supporting letters and/or documentation. The Director will contact the applicant with any questions or initial feedback. If appropriate for an NRP, it will then be reviewed by the Operations Committee. Decisions typically are made quickly and will come from the Center Director or Administrators.