How One Funder Expanded its Commitment to Early-Career Neuroscientists

As we've noted before, the early stage of a medical researcher's career is sort of a funding wasteland. Years of academic training and post-docs may be over, but the major federal funding that signals and supports them as full-fledged scientists won't kick in for several more years. Scientists at all levels bemoan the delays in scientific progress and individual careers caused by this funding gap.

Since 1981, the Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund has addressed the gap in the neuroscience field with an early-career fellowship, funding up to 10 recipients each year. That made it one of the oldest neuroscience fellowships.

While the feds finally increased the NIH budget for the current year, years of research scrimping means there remains more than ample need for support in this transitional career period for neuroscientists, who study everything from basic biology of the brain and neurons, to neurological and psychiatric disorders.

So two years ago, Klingenstein partnered with Simons Foundation to expand the program. Now, the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences has just announced opening of the 2016 competition for the $225,000, three-year grants.

"Aimed at advancing cutting-edge investigations, the awards are presented to highly promising, early career scientists," according to the RFP. "At this critical juncture in young investigators’ careers, when funding can be a challenge, the fellowship awards promote higher-risk, and potentially higher-reward, projects."

The partnership with Simons enabled Klingenstein to bump its award up to a three-year, $225,000 commitment, for up to 12 grants each year. 

To be eligible, investigators must be a permanent resident of the US, and work at an institution in this country, hold a Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree. Interested researchers can check the full eligibility details on the Klingenstein website, and find an application.