The BRAINS program has a grant renewal that is currently under review. The next cohort (and application process) is pending the renewal. If renewed, our next cohort is expected to be in 2022. Below we provide a general overview of the typical application process. 


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 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. Fellows participants are also expected to participate in online Peer Coaching Circles following the symposium.

Those invited to the Affiliates Program are expected to attend at least two of the three Affiliate Virtual Workshops. Affiliates are also expected to participate in online Peer Coaching circles.

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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.

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