Grant Program FAQs

Thank you for your interest in submitting an application for a Brain Foundation Research Grant. On this page, we have included answers to some of the common questions we receive about our grant programs. If your question isn’t answered on this page or in our grant guidelines, please email our grants manager, Anniek Grundy, at

Click the headings below to jump to a specific section.

Key dates

Open for applicationsMarch 27, 2024
Closed for applicationsJune 14, 2024
Notification of outcomeSeptember 20, 2024



Am I eligible for a Brain Foundation research grant?

The general eligibility criteria is outlined in our Grant Guidelines document, and is as follows: The Grants are open to competition nationally and all researchers in Australia are eligible to apply, however consideration, subject to merit, is given to:

  • Early career investigators, either clinicians or neuroscientists, to help them establish an ongoing research program;
  • Innovative projects;
  • Pilot studies to enable a research project to be developed such that it could be supported by a recognised grant-giving agency in subsequent years;
  • Bridging support for a clinician who has a valid reason for being unable to make an application to a conventional grant-giving agency; and
  • Supplementation of an existing grant from, for example, NHMRC, particularly for grant applications that were successful but funded inadequately to allow satisfactory progress to be made. In this instance applicants should submit the reports on their project from that grant-giving agency, together with ratings, details of the requesting and awarded budget, and full justification for the unfunded items.

Directors of the foundation and members of the SAC are not excluded from being co-investigators, but this is discouraged. Indeed it could count against the score for significance and innovation.

What does ‘one application per person or team’ mean?

One application per person means that a person cannot be named as Chief Investigator on multiple applications. However, a person could be named as co-investigator on more than one application (within reason), even if they are a Chief Investigator on another application. 

One application per team means that the same group of Chief Investigator and co-investigators can only submit one application. ‘Team’ does not refer to a research group or institute – for example, if multiple researchers from the same lab wanted to apply for separate projects, this would be allowed.

I am not a neurologist / neuroscientist, but my research focuses on a brain disease, disorder, or injury. Can I apply?

Our research grants are mainly for neuroscientists particularly to encourage trainee neurologists and neurosurgeons. Applications from non-neuroscientists are usually not highly ranked, however if the research was of pressing neuroscientific research it would be of interest.

Are clinical trials eligible for funding?

They are eligible, but most of the time they are of low priority in our grants program. 

Clinical trials of sufficient size to provide meaningful results are expensive and commonly sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, and usually run for a number of years. We can provide only $40k for one year, and that is normally insufficient for any meaningful trial – hence the low priority.

Can researchers from other countries apply?

The Brain Foundation only funds 1-year research projects undertaken in Australia. We do not provide travel grants or Fellowships. Our grants are for Australian citizens/permanent residents only. However, if an Australian researcher (listed as Chief Investigator (CI) on application) would like to collaborate with an international researcher, that would be okay. International researchers may be listed as co-investigators as long as the CI is Australian.


Use of funding

Can we include indirect or administrative costs in our grant application?

The Brain Foundation donates grants to support the research of successful applicants, and it is a condition of the grant that no administration fee can be deducted by the university or institution from an individual recipient’s grant award. This is listed in our grant guidelines.

Our grants are limited up to $40,000 so at best our grants would be topping up other funding sources generally. Any other funding would need to be notified to us.

Can the grant be used for the Chief Investigator’s salary?

The Chief Investigator needs to have a funded position that outlasts any grant. Grants cannot be used to provide the salary of the Chief Investigator and, in any case the maximum sum would not cover the full salary [plus on-costs].


Research categories

What do we do if the project fits into more than one research category?

In these cases, you should select whichever category aligns closest to your research. You can always select ‘other’ if you don’t feel like you can just pick one. 

Our research categories exist for several reasons: to allow donors to support research into a specific condition, to streamline the administrative process, and to help select reviewers for each application. No category is prioritised over another – you are equally likely to receive funding in any category, as long as your application is competitive.

Do you fund research into Covid-19 or Long Covid?

We don’t have specific funding or a dedicated category for this, but we welcome applications in this area. You could submit the application under the ‘Other’ category, or pick another category that is most relevant to your research. For example if you are investigating how Covid-19 infection behaves in the brain you could submit it in category 6 – infections. It just depends on the overall angle of your research.


Questions about the application form

Can I see a previous successful application as a guideline?

We are not able to share previous applications because this would be a violation of our privacy guidelines. However, you can read about our previous grant recipients on the Funded Research by Year page >>

The best guideline for what we’re looking for is simply our scoring criteria, which are as follows:

  1. Scientific Quality (40%) This includes the:
    1. clarity of hypotheses and objectives; and
    2. strengths and weaknesses of the experimental design and feasibility
  2. Significance and/or Innovation (60%) This includes:
    1. The potential to increase knowledge about neurosurgical applications and procedures and neurological disorders and diseases, including brain and spinal injuries
    2. In particular, the potential to enable earlier, more accurate diagnosis of neurological diseases and disorders, and to develop more efficient and effective treatments

It’s important to make sure that your research is explained clearly and that the potential benefit of your research is also clearly defined. We also expect applications to be neatly formatted and well-written. 

Does the $40,000 budget include GST?

No – please ensure your budget is calculated excluding GST. If you receive a $40,000 grant, the total invoice amount will be for $44,000. 

If you need to include the incl. GST total on your application, please make it very clear that the figure includes GST.

When should I declare previous Brain Foundation grants?

All members of the research team (CIs and co-investigators) should declare previous Brain Foundation grants in which they were the Chief Investigator. If you were a co-investigator on a previous grant, you are not required to declare it.

Can we have two Chief Investigators on one application?

We prefer that only once CI is named, however you may name two CIs if necessary (provided that there is only the one administering institution). Hopefully both researchers are at the same institution; otherwise you will need to nominate which one.

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.