Applications for the 2019 BRAINS cohort are now closed. Please check back in spring 2021 for updated information on the next cohort.


General Application Information

Application to the BRAINS program consists of the following:

  • short answer responses regarding your expectations of BRAINS and your prior experiences as related to BRAINS;
  • on online survey (approx. 30 minutes to complete);
  • a statement describing your research, teaching, and broader impact work.

All selected applicants will also need to provide documentation of eligibility following their acceptance to the program and meet the program participation expectations.

Your individual responses on the application are confidential and will not be shared beyond the BRAINS administrative team. Please note the following exception: contact information and statements of research, teaching and broader impacts work for selected BRAINS participants will be shared with other BRAINS participants in the cohort and panelists. All other data will be presented in aggregate form only for the purposes of reporting and program evaluation. Your survey responses will be stored on a password protected server with restricted access.

Program Evaluation:

As part of the program evaluation plan, BRAINS applicants will be asked to share information from their application, complete a short feedback survey after either the BRAINS symposium or webinars, and take annual web-based surveys in order to assess the outcomes of BRAINS. Participation in the evaluation is voluntary. You are not obligated to participate, and your decision not to participate will not preclude you from being selected as a participant in BRAINS. All data will remain confidential in evaluation reports.

Participant Expectations:

All eligible applicants will be invited to participate in the 2019 BRAINS program via one of the two participant pathways: Fellows or Affiliates.

Those invited to the Fellows Program are expected to attend the entire BRAINS Fellows Symposium, including meals, and stay at the symposium lodging. This requirement includes participants that live locally. The tentative time frame for the 2019 Fellows Symposium is 2:30 pm on Thursday, September 12, 2019, through 12:00 pm on Sunday, September 15, 2019. Please note this time frame does not include travel time to the symposium site, which takes an average 2-3 hours from the Sea-Tac airport. We recommend selected Fellows plan to arrive to Sea-Tac airport by 11:30 am on September 12, 2019 and depart Sea-Tac airport after 4 pm on September 15, 2019. Fellows participants are also expected to participate in online peer mentoring circles following the symposium.

Those invited to the Affiliates Program are expected to attend at least two of the three Affiliate Virtual Workshops (to occur in Summer/Fall 2019). Affiliates are also expected to participate in online peer mentoring circles.

back to top

Application Preparation

We recommend preparing the short answer responses and your research, teaching, and broader impacts statement offline before beginning the online application survey. Once you begin the application survey, you will not be able to save and return to the application. It must be completed in one sitting. To help you prepare, below are the short answer prompts and the research, teaching, and broader impacts statement prompt.

  • Short answer prompts (typically 100-150 words):
    • How do you hope to benefit from participating in BRAINS?
    • How might the anticipated impact of a program like BRAINS differ from other career development support you may have already experienced? Please specify the types of career support you have experienced (e.g., access to resources, networking, professional development programs, etc.)
    • What have been your experiences of being mentored? Some possible areas to include could be: i) types of mentoring you have received; ii) where and how you have benefited from mentorship; iii) challenges you have faced in mentoring relationships as a mentee; and iv) mentoring needs or desires that have or have not been fulfilled through prior mentoring experiences.
    • How do you feel about your career progression and navigating a career in academia? Please include a description of your confidence about your potential for success, barriers and challenges you are facing, your interest in continuing in neuroscience, your commitment to staying in academia, etc.
  • A three-paragraph professional statement: Please include one brief paragraph describing your research, one brief paragraph about your teaching and mentoring philosophy, and one brief paragraph sharing your outreach, diversity and broader impacts work. If you are invited to participate in the BRAINS program, these three paragraphs will be available to other participants in the cohort and panelists. Please note that your submission of these paragraphs serves as permission to share these statements with the BRAINS community. If you have questions or concerns about the inclusion of these paragraphs, please contact us at

back to top

Application Submission

Applicaitons for the 2019 cohort are now closed. 

The application survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. In addition to the short answer responses and professional statement noted in the application preparation section, the survey includes questions on a number of topics relevant to BRAINS. We strongly recommend reviewing the application preparation section before beginning your application 

If you have any questions about applying to BRAINS, visit the FAQ page or contact us at​.

back to top


BRAINS is funded by NIH with the aim of increasing diversity within the neuroscience workforce on a national basis. Our funding mechanism (PAR 13-256) states:

"...for this NINDS Diversity R25 program, diversity includes individuals currently underrepresented in neuroscience research on a national basis (for example see surveys conducted by the Society for Neuroscience Committee on Neuroscience Departments and Programs), including: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups or individuals with disabilities...”

Data about underrepresented groups can be found at See also NIH's 2018 notice on "NIH’s Interest in Diversity".

Thus, eligible BRAINS participants will be both:

  1. US citizens or permanent residents unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to NIH and approved by our funding agency; and
  2. from a group recognized as underrepresented in neuroscience. At the postgraduate level and beyond, this includes certain race, ethnicity, and disability statuses, specifically:
    • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the US Pacific Islands. In addition, NIH recognizes that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; thus individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented are also eligible and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • Individuals with disabilities (defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities).

Pursuant to NIH guidelines, all accepted participants will need to submit documentation from an institutional official that certifies eligibility criteria are met. Samples for documentation of eligibility will be provided following acceptance to the program.

Please email with any questions concerning eligibility requirements and documentation. Other general questions about program eligibility are addressed in our Eligibility FAQs.

back to top