The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced the awarding of its Young Investigator Grants valued at more than $13.8 million to 200 of the world’s most promising young scientists. The grants, awarded annually, support the work of early-career scientists with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments and develop prevention strategies for psychiatric disorders. This year’s Young Investigators are studying conditions that include addiction, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention.
Recipients of this year’s Young Investigator Grants are from 110 institutions in 17 countries. They were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 172 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including two Nobel Prizewinners; two former directors and the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 26 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions; and 52 members of the Institute of Medicine.
“One in five people in the United States is living with a mental illness,” says Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO, of the Brain & Behavior Researcher Foundation. “The research our grantees conduct provides tremendous hope for continued advancements in our understanding of the brain and continued improvements in treatment and ultimately, cures and methods of prevention.”
Dr. Borenstein notes that the Foundation’s successful model for funding brain research not only supports scientists at different phases of their careers, but can make a huge difference for young investigators, permitting them to garner pilot data for innovative ideas to develop “proof of concept” for their work or begin careers as independent research faculty.
Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, says, “Young Investigator Grants enable outstanding scientists to pursue bold new ideas that expand our understanding of psychiatric illness and help identify potentially game-changing targets for treatment. In many cases, Foundation Grants offer the first critical support for a young scientist’s work that may not otherwise received funding.”
Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $271 million in Young Investigator Grants around the world. Grant recipients usually go on to receive subsequent funding valued at more than 10 times the original grant amount.
This year, the Foundation’s Scientific Council reviewed more than 815 applications to select the 200 Young Investigators. The breakdown of funding is as follows:
- 69 percent of the projects funded (139 grants) are basic research — the wellspring of innovation in brain research as in all sciences
- 14 percent of the grants (27 grants) fund projects that specifically aim to develop next-generation therapy
- 11 percent of the projects funded (22 grants) are diagnostic tools/early intervention that aim to prevent brain and behavior disorders
- 6 percent of projects (12 grants) fund the development of new technologies that will power both basic research and new developments in the clinical settings