New Frontiers Fund

BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Awards – Round 5


The Brown Institute for Brain Science and the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute are now accepting applications for the BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Awards. This program provides grants of up to $40,000 for one year to teams of brain scientists at Brown and its affiliated hospitals.  Teams must be led by co-principal investigators, one of whom is appointed in a basic science department and one in a clinical department.  The intention of this program is to foster the formation of new teams with the potential to become enduring collaborations funded by external grant support.  In addition to funding new projects, teams funded previously by the New Frontiers Program may apply for a second year of funding on a competitive basis.

Eligibility –The BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Awards are open to all brain scientists at Brown and its affiliated hospitals.  Each application must include co-principal investigators whose primary appointments are in different academic departments.  One co-PI must be campus based and the other must be hospital based.  Please note:

  • Applications should list only two co-PIs unless three departments or institutions are contributing funds toward the project ($5,000 each, see “Award terms” below).  In that case a third co-PI may be listed.  No more than three co-PIs are allowed.
  • Individuals cannot be co-PIs on more than one application for each submission deadline.
  • No one can be co-PI on more than one active award simultaneously.  Therefore, those with active New Frontiers Awards are not eligible to apply for a second award.
  • Previous recipients of New Frontiers Awards may apply for follow-on funding for a second year of support.  In those cases evidence of significant progress (e.g. presentations, publications grant submissions) based on the first year of support will be an important part of the evaluation process.

Award terms – The maximum allocation for each award from BIBS and NPNI will be $30,000 and it must be matched by $5,000 from the home department or institution of each co-PI.  Grant funds from other sources awarded to either of the co-PIs cannot be used as matching funds.  Thus the budget for each award cannot exceed $40,000 ($45,000 if there are three co-PIs) and the awards will remain active for one year.

Budget – The BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Awards may be used for expenditures required to complete the proposed project.  They are not designed to be equipment grants but small items (<$10,000) may be allowed, if they are essential for the collaboration to succeed.  Typical allowable expenses include:

  • Salaries for trainees and/or research support personnel
  • Supplies
  • Reagents
  • Core facility user fees

Funds cannot be used for:

  • Faculty salaries
  • Travel to scientific meetings
  • Publication costs
  • Invited speakers
  • Entertainment
  • Indirect costs

Application process – An application must include the following:

  • Cover letter – Include a letter signed by the co-PIs stating the title of the project and describing the inspiration and nature of the proposed collaboration.  Indicate the total amount of money being requested and the amount that will be contributed by the home departments or institutions of the co-PIs.  Describe plans to apply for follow-on funding from external sources, including the funding agencies and programs being targeted along with expected submission dates.
  • Biographical sketches of the co-PIs - NIH or NSF style.
  • Research proposal – Describe the background and rationale for the project, the hypothesis being tested, why it is important and the experimental approach that will be used.  Briefly outline the research plan for the year, including the contribution to be made by each co-PI.  Limit this to no more than 3 pages including tables and figures.
  • Budget – Indicate the amount of money required for the project and how the expenditures will be allocated, using the eligible categories listed above.  Provide justification for personnel, equipment and other categories of expenditures that exceed $10,000.
  • Letters of Commitment – Include a letter from the Chair, or other appropriate administrator, from the home department or institution of each co-PI verifying that at least $5,000 will be committed to the project for each co-PI, if it is approved.
  • Documentation of appropriate IACUC or IRB approval should not be included with the application but it will be required before any applications can be activated.

Application deadlinesThe next application deadline is January 8, 2016.  Applications should be submitted electronically in .pdf format to Please enter “BIBS NPNI New Frontiers Program” in the subject line.

Evaluation Criteria – Applications that meet the requirements described above will be evaluated based on:

  • The innovative nature of the project;
  • The added value provided by the collaboration between the co-PIs;
  • The potential for the collaboration to continue beyond the period of this award;
  • The likelihood that the project will be competitive for extramural funding.

Review Process – A committee of 3-5 qualified researchers appointed by BIBS and NPNI will review the applications.  This committee will rate the proposals based on the evaluation criteria and make recommendations about funding to the administrations of BIBS and NPNI.  If the review committee cannot agree, input will be solicited from the BIBS Executive Committee and the NPNI Steering Committee.

Note - If you have questions about this program or the application process, please contact John Davenport ( or John Robson (