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Deadline: 2021 Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award

The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience supports innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. To this end, the McKnight Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award (formally the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award) assists scientists working to apply the knowledge achieved through basic research to human brain disorders.

Use of Award Funds

We are interested in proposals that address the biology and mechansims of neurological and psychiatric disorders. This includes proposals that provide mechanistic insights into neurological functions at the synaptic, cellular, molecular, genetic or behavioral level across different species, including humans and vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms. We are particularly interested in proposals that incorporate fundamentally new approaches and those that provide potential paths for therapeutic interventions. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary applications are encouraged.


Investigators who are conducting research at institutions within the United States are invited to apply. Investigators must be in a full-time appointment at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Professor. Titles such as Research Assistant Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor Research Track, Visiting Professor or Instructor are not eligible. Researchers who are intramural employees such as those at the Allen Institute, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and similar institutions are not eligible. Applicants may not hold another McKnight Award that would overlap with the Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award. We are interested in geographic, gender, and racial diversity, and we encourage women and communities of color to apply. Funds may be used toward a variety of research activities, but not the recipient’s salary. The candidate’s other sources of funding will be considered when selecting awards.

Selection Process

There is a two-stage selection process, beginning with a letter of intent (LOI). The selection committee will review the LOIs and invite a number of applicants to submit full proposals. Up to four awards are made annually, each providing $100,000 per year for three years. LOIs are due on March 2, 2020 (midnight in the last time zone on earth). Full proposals will be due September 7, 2020. Funding begins on February 1, 2021.

How to Apply

The application process is completely online. Click here to access the Stage One LOI form. One investigator (the primary contact for the proposal) will be required to set up a user name and password (please retain your username and password as you will need it throughout the process); then complete an online face sheet and upload a two-page project description with no more than two pages of references; any images must be within the two-page limit. Please single-space in 12-point font using one-inch margins. All applicants should arrange the pages of the PDF in the following order:

  • Two-page LOI
  • NIH Biosketch for each investigator (the new format from 2015)

Finalists will be invited via email to submit a full proposal; submission instructions will be provided at that time. Competition is very intense; applicants are welcome to apply more than once.

If you do not receive email confirmation of receipt of your LOI within a week of submission, please contact Taylor Coffin at 612-333-4220 or

Topic: The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, Memory & Cognitive Disorder Awards, Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Awards

December 2019

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