Fund Details
FY21 Harvard/MIT Joint Research Grants Program in Basic Neuroscience


The Harvard/MIT Joint Research Grants Program in Basic Neuroscience provides funding for a team of two basic neuroscience investigators (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor level) to work collaboratively to advance our understanding of nervous system development and function. Grant applications covering the spectrum of basic neuroscience research - including model system studies, the development of new tools and technologies, and the study of neural circuits and behavior - will be considered.The goal of this program is to fuel discovery that lays the foundation for new therapies for nervous system disease. 

Women and underrepresented minorities are highly encouraged to apply.

Investigators are encouraged to seek collaborations across any of the institutions listed here (please see Eligibility information below for more information):

  • Harvard Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Harvard Medical School
  • MIT
  • Boston University
  • Tufts University
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Children's Hospital Boston
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • McLean Hospital
  • Brandeis University
  • Boston College


Awards will be made up to $100,000 per year, for two years, subject to available funding. The awards are non-renewable. No indirect costs are provided (**HMS-based investigators – see below). Please note that funds can only be used for direct costs required to accomplish the project.

These include but are not limited to: 

  • Personnel/salary & benefits
  • Research materials & supplies
  • Allocable research administrative costs: 
    • support staff
    • lab space (cost per sq ft x total sq ft) used for the project 
    • information technology support used for the project

The funds may be allocated in any way between the two investigators. Please include a separate budget per investigator and be sure to clearly justify the requested amounts.

The project period for funded awards is expected to be effective July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.


A short progress report will be required after Year 1 of funding to provide assurance to the Scientific Advisory Board that a truly collaborative project has been initiated. Year 2 funding depends on submission of this progress report.


**Any HMS-based investigator must allocate 8% of their budget for allocable research administrative costs (i.e. administrative support staff, lab space, information technology, and other allowable research administrative costs).

Application Information:

The application includes the following components:

1. A project description, maximum three pages, including abstract, specific aims, experimental approach (11 point Arial font, single spaced, 0.5 inch margins. Figures are included in the 3-page limit. References are not included in the 3-page limit).


2. A statement indicating why the project is innovative and risky (1 page maximum).


3. A statement indicating the plan for collaboration, including the nature of any previous collaboration (1 page maximum).


4. A simple budget. Please complete a separate budget per investigator using the NIH PHS 398 template. Use Page 4 to show the detailed budget for Year 1 and a detailed budget for Year 2. Awards up to $100,000 per year, for two years, will be made to the team (subject to available funding).


5. A budget justification describing how the funds will be spent (salary, supplies, services, etc.).  Any HMS-based investigator must allocate 8% of their budget for allocable research administrative costs (i.e. administrative support staff, lab space, information technology, and other allowable research administrative costs). 


6. If using vertebrate animals in the proposed research, an IACUC Letter of Approval from the PI(s), including the dates of approval and approval number, will be required prior to issuing the award.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Teams comprised of two tenure-track investigators will apply for each award. Only one investigator from each team will complete the online application. 
  • The investigators must be based in departments engaged in basic neuroscience research at MIT, any Harvard-affiliated institution including Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital, as well as Brandeis University, Boston University, and Tufts University.
  • A Principal Investigator (PI) may only apply as a member of one team. Multiple applications from a PI who has paired with different investigators will NOT be reviewed.
  • The team investigators may NOT have primary or secondary appointments within the same institution. Collaborations from investigators whose primary appointments are in a medical center campus and university campus of the same institution are eligible. For example, an investigator from Harvard Medical School and an investigator from Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences would be eligible.
  • Up to 4-5 collaborations will be awarded.
  • Preference will be given to new collaborations (i.e. investigators who have not previously collaborated on a research grant or publication in the last 5 years). If the team has a history of collaboration, applications should focus on a new research area. 
  • Awardees from the FY20 Round will not be eligible to apply for this round.

Review Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated by a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of investigators from institutions across the Boston area. The Board will be chaired by Dr. Michael E. Greenberg, Chair and Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, and Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, Professor, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT.

Successful proposals are likely to describe projects that are highly innovative, possibly risky, and not yet mature enough to attract NIH funding. Because these grants are intended to encourage new lines of research, preliminary data is not essential. Applicants should provide evidence in the proposal narrative that the work is exploratory and innovative and will require the collective expertise of the collaborating laboratories.

Additional Information, Related Websites, and Proxy Instructions:

This program is supported by the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center.

Please address questions to

More information about the program, including previous winners, can be found on the following website:

Search Filters:

  • Other (Non Harvard) Institution
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Boston
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • McLean Hospital
  • Harvard Medical School (Quad)
  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Veteran Affairs Boston Healthcare System
    • Assistant Professor
    • Associate Professor
    • Professor
      Type of Competition
      • Harvard Internal Funding
        • Basic Science
        • Life Science
          Type of Award
          • Research
            Begin Accepting Applications Date:
            Deadline Date (EST Time Zone):
            4/14/2020 11:30 PM