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How to Apply

The first step is to submit a two-page letter of intent describing how the McKnight award would permit new approaches and accomplishments toward the development of translational research.

The letter should address the following questions:

  1. What clinical problem are you addressing?
  2. What are your specific aims?
  3. How will the knowledge and experience you have gained in basic research be applied to improving the understanding of a brain disorder or disease?
  4. How are you fostering an inclusive and equitable lab environment?

The letter should clearly describe how the proposed research will uncover mechanisms of brain injury or diseases and how it will translate to diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure.

The letter of intent should include the email addresses of the principal investigators and a title for the project.

LOI Details

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 (images must be within the two-page project description); please limit references to two pages (in addition to project description). Please single-space in 12-point font using one-inch margins. In this order A) project description and references, and B) NIH Biosketches for each PI should be uploaded as a single PDF.

Finalists will be invited via email to submit a full proposal. 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 Joel Krogstad.

Selection Process

A review committee will evaluate the letters and will invite a few candidates to submit complete proposals.

Following review of the proposals, the committee will recommend up to four awards to the Board of Directors of the Endowment Fund. The board will make the final decision.

The Endowment Fund will fund up to four awards, each providing $100,000 per year for three years. Awards will be announced in July and begin in August 2024.

A candidate for a McKnight Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award must work as an independent investigator at a not-for-profit research institution in the United States, and must hold a faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. Those holding other titles such as Research Professor, Adjunct Professor, Professor Research Track, Visiting Professor or Instructor are not eligible. If the host institution does not use professorial titles, a letter from a senior institutional official (e.g., Dean or Director of Research) must confirm that the applicant has his/her own dedicated institutional resources, laboratory space, and/or facilities.

A candidate may submit separate applications to both Scholar Awards and Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Awards during the same cycle. If the applicant receives a Scholar Award and becomes a finalist for NBD, their application to NBD would be rescinded as they cannot hold two awards simultaneously.

There is no limit to the number of times that a candidate may apply for a Neurobiology of Brain Disorders Award.


Application reopens July 1, 2024

Application Timeline

Next LOI Deadline is November 4, 2024

For Current 2023 LOI Pool:

  • LOI deadline was November 6, 2023
  • Finalists selected to submit full proposals notified by early March 2024
  • Full Proposals are due in mid-April 2024
  • Applicants notified in mid-June 2024
  • Funding begins in August 2024