Application and Eligibility | Seed Grants

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is invested in sparking new collaborations between neuroscience researchers from across the university and invite applications for seed grants to fund innovative, collaborative research projects in the neurosciences. We seek focused, intense collaborations between 2-3 faculty members piloting a novel idea.

Key Dates for 2023 Seed Grants
Application opensApril 7, 2023
Proposals dueJune 5, 2023 at 5pm (Pacific Time)
Notification of AwardsLate August 2023
Funding Start DateOctober 2023 to January 2024
To ApplyOnline Application

All application materials must be submitted online.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should be Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Affiliates. Any interested Stanford faculty member is invited to join the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.

  1. Teams of at least 2 Stanford faculty with PI eligibility [those with tenure line (UTL), University Medical Line (UML) or research (NTLR) faculty appointments] may submit a proposal for a collaborative project. 
  2. Clinician Educator (CE) Faculty at the rank of clinical assistant professor and above who are full-time Stanford employees with 100% CE faculty appointments are eligible to apply for seed grants. No waiver is required. Clinical Instructors in the Clinician Educator (CE) line are not eligible to apply.
  3. Each PI may participate in only one letter of intent.
  4. We encourage interdisciplinarity in all applications. Interdisciplinarity can be indicated by Co-PI's using different methodologies/approaches and/or working in different disciplines. Interdisciplinarity is required for teams of two or more senior faculty.
  5. The proposed project should be new, and should have the potential to generate data that can be used for grant applications to extramural funding sources in neuroscience fields.
  6. Proposals that involve disciplines outside traditional basic and clinical neuroscience (e.g. law, education, business, public policy) are strongly encouraged.

Selection Criteria

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Seed Grant Committee will review proposals based on:

  1. Scientific merit of the proposal, with quality, innovation and creativity balanced by the project's likelihood of success.
  2. Collaborative potential of the project. It will be important to document how the novel collaborative effort of the co-PIs will be stronger than the sum of two independent projects.
  3. The potential impact of your goals for increasing diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice at Stanford.
  4. Projects led by two or more senior faculty are expected to be highly interdisciplinary. 

In addition to these criteria, the selection committee will take into consideration previous funding from Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute as well as current available resources/funding.


Seed Grant proposals must be submitted via the online application service at by the deadline: June 5, 2023, 5:00 pm Pacific Time.  The online application will only be visible during the application period of April 7 through June 5, 2023.

Each proposal should have at least 2 co-PIs, with one designated as the communicating co-PI. The communicating co-PI serves as the point of contact for the project and is responsible for submitting the online application. 


Please carefully read the Eligibility Criteria and the Selection Criteria sections of this page before starting the application process.

A complete online application consists of:

  • Project title
  • List of faculty participants
  • Brief (1 paragraph) summary of the project vision in lay language
  • Brief (1 paragraph) description of the novelty of this collaboration

Research Plan (4 pages, including figures, tables and graphs, but not including references)

  • Background leading to the proposed research
  • Specific aims
  • Proposed approach and methods
  • Plan for dissemination of results, data management and data sharing
  • Novelty, impact and outcomes (including how outcomes might be measured)
  • Interdisciplinary scope (encouraged but not required unless the team has two or more senior faculty).

Diversity statement (1 page)
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is committed to diversifying neurosciences both intellectually and in continuing to grow and support our community of diverse individuals.

  • Describe your team members' goals for increasing diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice at Stanford, and how you plan to move toward those goals. We will ask reviewers to consider the potential impact and likelihood of success of your plan as one component of their review.
  • To learn more about diversity and ways to advance it, we recommend the Anti-Racism toolkit and Anti-Racism resources for faculty.

An effective diversity statement might demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge about DIBEJ.
  2. A track record in advancing DIBEJ.
  3. Plans for advancing DIBEJ.

Engagement in diversity may occur at several levels:

  1. At the personal level of the individual team members.
  2. Within the labs of member faculty or across the collective labs of the collaborators.
  3. At the broader level of Stanford University or beyond.

Teamwork and resources (1 page)

  • Describe each team member's contribution and why this is the right team for the proposed research, including pertinent experience/accomplishments.
  • A list of resources that could be leveraged (core facilities, existing equipment, other resources)
  • A description of how this funding mechanism (as opposed to traditional funding opportunities) will allow the project to move forward.
  • the project to move forward.

Biographical Sketches
A single PDF with the NIH or NSF style biosketches and list of other support for each participating faculty.

Budget Template and Justification
Present budget broken-down by PI and high-level expenditure type
Up to $150,000 per year, for a maximum of two years
Complete this budget template for budget and justification

  • Option 1: Download an excel version, enter the details for your project and upload the completed document into SlideRoom.
  • Option 2 (preferred): Make a copy of the google doc on your own google drive, enter the details for your project and submit the link in SlideRoom.

All proposals must meet the following requirements:

  • Maximum of 4 pages for the research plan
  • Font size of 12 pt, 1 inch margins, and single-spaced


Grants are for two years. The second year of funding is dependent on submission of a progress report and progress made in year one. 


Grants may be requested for up to $150,000 direct costs per year for two years. The funds can be used for personnel (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral students, research assistants or associates), supplies, small equipment, travel, or seminar and symposia needs. Faculty salaries are generally not allowed on seed grants.


Please send questions to with the phrase "2023 Seed Grants" somewhere in the email subject.