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How to Apply

Application materials for the McKnight Scholar Awards are available in September each year. Applicants must demonstrate interest in solving important problems in relevant areas of neuroscience.

To apply, the principal investigator will need to follow these steps:

  • Download the “Application and Guidelines” document located on the right sidebar. These guidelines will provide further critical details regarding the steps listed below. Please reference the guidelines document throughout.
  • Set up a username and password using the “Start Application” link located on the right sidebar.

(please retain your username and password for future use)

  • Upon login, complete an online face sheet.
  • Upload the entire application as ONE PDF, including:
  1. Completed face sheet.
  2. Biographical sketch in NIH format.
  3. Description of the proposed research project. Applicants should propose experiments based on their best work. The proposal should be introduced with an abstract of 200 words or less, followed by a detailed statement of plans for the three-year research program. The proposed research does not need to present a totally new line of research, but it should not be identical to projects supported by other funders. The proposal (abstract, narrative and figures, but not bibliography) must not exceed 6 numbered single-spaced pages that follow NIH grant proposal formatting rules for fonts and margins.
  4. A one-page narrative describing how the applicant is creating an inclusive lab environment and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in neuroscience.
  5. Proposed budget. The applicant should indicate how he/she/they proposes to use the McKnight Scholar Award funds ($225,000 paid in equal installments of $75,000 in 2023, 2024, and 2025). Allowable budget items include salaries and fringe benefits, equipment, supplies, animal costs, tuition, costs for technical services, etc. The application should include itemized budgets for each year, in a tabulated column/dollar amount format; narrative budgets are not acceptable. Funds cannot be used for overhead or indirect costs.
  6. List of Active and Pending Funding (annual direct costs to lab).
  7. Statement from responsible financial officer at sponsoring institution.
  8. Supporting information from applicant’s chairperson at sponsoring institution.
  9. Links to five recent publicly-accessible publications.
  • Four references from former teachers, supervisors, or senior colleagues familiar with the applicant’s work. Letters of reference must be sent separately and in confidence by the four individuals listed as references on the face sheet of the application.

Selection Process

The McKnight Scholar Awards Review committee will evaluate the applications and select a limited number of applicants to be interviewed. Applicants will be notified in late March and interviews are scheduled for Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22, 2023 via zoom.

The committee recommends candidates to the Board of Directors of the Endowment Fund for final decision. Awards will be announced in late May 2023.


In this competition, up to ten McKnight Scholars will be selected to receive three years of support, beginning July 1, 2023.

A candidate for a McKnight Scholar 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, and must have served at that rank for less than four years at the application deadline (exceptions may be made for parental leave). Those holding other titles such as Research Assistant Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Professor Research Track, Visiting Professor or Instructor are not eligible, and time spent in service in those ranks does not count against the four years of service for determining eligibility. 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 not hold another award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience that would overlap in time with the Scholar award. A candidate cannot apply in more than two rounds of competition for a Scholar Award.

Amount and Purpose of Support

Each McKnight Scholar will receive $75,000 annually in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Funds may be used in any way that will facilitate development of the Scholar’s research program, but not for indirect costs.

Application & Guidelines

Application Overview Video
Get tips on submitting a competitive application from Leslie Vosshall, Ph.D.

Download Guidelines

Online Instructions

The application process is completely online. Click below to access the application form.

Start Application


Application due January 1, 2023.