Graduate Awards in Brain Science

Applications accepted now. The deadline is April 23, 5 p.m. EST

The Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science invites applications for Graduate Awards in Brain Science. These awards recognize outstanding and productive mid- to late-stage Ph.D. candidates conducting brain science-related research in a Brown graduate program.


Applicants must have chosen their dissertation advisor and must have passed their qualifying examinations and have advanced to candidacy for the PhD. We encourage applications from students from underrepresented groups in their fields. International students are eligible to apply.

We accept applications in any research area of brain science. However, some funding for Carney graduate awards is directed toward specific research areas. For consideration for funding from the Daniel Cooper Graduate Student Fellowship Fund, we encourage applications for research related to brain circuitry, neurotransmitters, and neuromodulation in psychiatric illness and human behavior. For consideration for funding from the Dr. Achilles Frangistas Fund, we encourage applications for research related to neurodegeneration. All applications will be evaluated together, it is NOT necessary to state special consideration for a specific fund.

Award Terms

Awards cover full costs for two academic semesters plus one summer, beginning in Fall 2021, up to $60,000 in total support.

Application Process

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 23, 2021, at 5 p.m. EST.

Applications will be accepted through UFunds. Search for “Carney Graduate Awards” – “Academic Year 2021/2022.” Applicants must complete the application form, including:

  • Applicant information – The UFunds form will request the applicant’s name and program, and mentor’s name and department.
  • Project – Upload a 2-page pdf document describing the candidate’s research project (file name should start with applicant's last name). This document should be accessible to a general scientific audience. Please include title, abstract, project relevance to brain science, specific goals, approach, progress to date, and anticipated progress during the fellowship year.
  • CV – Upload a 2-page pdf document including publications, abstracts, educational history, and other professional experience (file name should start with applicant's last name).
  • Contributions to Brown’s brain science community – UFunds form answer limited to 400 words. Description of how the candidate and their research will contribute to the collaborative environment at the Carney Institute. This may relate to the project itself (interdisciplinarity of the research, collaboration across fields, etc.) or to other activities (methods or tool workshops, mentoring, or other activities of interest to the broader brain science community).
  • Contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion – UFunds form answer limited to 400 words. Description of how the candidate will contribute to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in their field, now and in the future.
  • Career impact – UFunds form answer limited to 400 words. Description of how the candidate imagines the impact of their research and career. Applicants should describe not simply what they will do (i.e. type of position) but how their work, regardless of sector, will benefit science and society.

Applicants must also arrange for at least two letters of support. The letters should address the candidate’s academic record, scientific maturity, independence, and provide field-specific context for the applicant’s scientific productivity. Through UFunds, applicants indicate the email address and name of the recommenders. A request will be sent to each of them with a link to fill out a separate form and upload the letters.

  • Faculty Mentor - 1-page statement of support, including source of funding for the candidate’s project (mentor funding levels will be considered only to the extent that they allow the candidate to perform their research). The mentor’s statement of support should also assess the student’s productivity relative to other students at the same point in training in the same or similar field.
  • Member of the student’s thesis or advisory committee - 1-page statement of support

Please note that following submission, we will contact all applicants’ Directors of Graduate Studies to confirm that they are in good academic standing.

Evaluation Criteria

Responsive applications will be evaluated based on the following review criteria:

  • Scientific merit (Project)
  • Research productivity and independence (CV and letters of support). This could include, for example, number and quality of papers and presentations, generation of shared datasets and research tools, evidence of intellectual contribution to the applicant’s own project as well as other projects in the laboratory.
  • Potential contributions to the Carney community
  • Potential contributions to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Independence and scientific vision (Career impact and letters of support)

Reviewers will be asked to review and score each candidate according to the evaluation criteria, as well as provide an overall ranking. Final rankings and funding decisions will be based on a holistic assessment of the student’s scientific accomplishments and future career potential, rather than a sum of scores of the individual criteria. Where appropriate, we will also consider how applications meet the goals and purposes stipulated for specific funds that support Carney graduate awards.


Questions about the Graduate Awards in Brain Science should be directed to David Sheinberg, Carney Director of Graduate Training.

2019/2020 Results

2020/2021 Results