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Postdoctoral Scholar Awards Application and Eligibility

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute


Key Dates for 2023 Scholar Awards
Application Deadline Friday, October 14, 2022 at 11:59pm PT
Including faculty sponsor statement(s) and recommendation letters
Notification of Awards December, 2022
Award Start Date Funding may begin between February 1, 2023 and June 1, 2023
Funding Period Two years of funding from start date
To Apply

Apply here

Carefully review the detailed information below if you are interested in applying to the Wu Tsai Neuro Interdisciplinary Scholars Award program or the Knight Initiatve Brain Resilience Scholars program.


Eligibility Criteria


Review Process, Selection Criteria & Guidance


Eligibility Criteria


  • Applicants must hold an MD, PhD and/or DVM/VMD degree(s).
  • The applicant must be appointed as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University at the time the award begins — Interdisciplinary Scholar Awards are not to be used for recruiting purposes. If the applicant is not an appointed scholar at the time of the application deadline, the applicant must submit their job offer letter, signed by them and their PI, for their upcoming position at Stanford to Jill Wentzell before the application deadline.
  • Instructors and Research Associates may not apply.
  • Citizenship is not a selection factor - international postdocs are encouraged to apply. Foreign scholars may have J-1 visas (receiving stipends) or H1B visas (receiving salary).
  • Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is committed to offering equal opportunity employment and encourages applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, cultural or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Faculty sponsor(s)

  • A co-sponsor is not required.
  • The faculty sponsor and co-sponsor (if any) must be appointed at Stanford University. Acting and consulting appointees are not eligible to be a sponsor or co-sponsor.
  • The primary faculty sponsor must be the faculty who is sponsoring that postdoc’s appointment at Stanford University.
  • The faculty sponsor and co-sponsor must be Wu Tsai Neuro faculty affiliates. Any interested Stanford faculty member is invited to become an affiliate.
  • A faculty sponsor may not have more than one active Wu Tsai Neuro Interdisciplinary Scholar Award recipient at a time.
  • A faculty member may sponsor one application and/or serve as a co-sponsor on no more than two applications per cycle.


  • Funding is restricted to support research activities that are focused in the interdisciplinary neurosciences, which may include basic science, translational and applied sciences or the social sciences or brain resilience, and that are conducted under the direction of a Stanford University faculty member.
  • If the applicant currently has other fellowships, or has applied to fellowships that may be awarded during the Award period, they must make full disclosure of the names, amounts and dates of the other award(s) in their application.
  • This award is intended to provide primary fellowship support to the scholar, but sponsors may supplement stipends from research awards with prior approval from the Neurosciences Institute. If a postdoc is awarded another fellowship, the Institute should be notified immediately by e-mail to the Program Coordinator, Zulema Garibo and Associate Director for Programs, Jill Wentzell. Refer to the Terms and Conditions for more details.
  • The Award funding is to be utilized for payments toward tuition, salary and health benefits.​


  • Please carefully review the Eligibility Criteria section above before beginning your application and contact Zulema Garibo if you have any questions.
  • All application materials must be submitted online by the application deadline. Please begin the online application with enough time to solicit the required letters prior to the deadline.
  • The Selection Criteria & Guidance section below includes advice that will help you craft your application.

Launch application

Application components

In addition to basic questions about the applicant, their postdoctoral appointment and sponsor(s), the application requires the following information:

  1. Total months of postdoctoral experience: The total number of months of postdoctoral training that you have had to date at Stanford or other institutions. How to calculate postdoctoral months of experience.
  2. Research title: Title of your research proposal
  3. Abstract in lay language: A lay abstract is a short account of your research targeted at the general public. It should reveal the purpose of your research, the approach you will employ and the importance or significance of the project. Avoid jargon and acronyms. 300 word limit.
  4. Research collaboration and roles: Describe the collaborative process between you, your sponsor and co-sponsor (if any) in the development, review, and editing of this research training plan. Discuss the respective roles in accomplishing the proposed research. 300 word limit.
  5. Contribution to diversity: The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute believes diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are essential to the advancement of science and to the development of a vibrant intellectual community. The institute is committed to identifying ways that we can ensure that all voices are heard and all have equitable opportunities to thrive in the neurosciences. We value the contributions of all community members towards this effort. How will you contribute to diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice at Stanford? This statement should describe your past efforts, as well as future plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in interdisciplinary neurons. To the fullest extent possible, it should demonstrate an understanding of the importance of inclusive research environments. 300 word limit.
  6. Proposal: Upload a pdf version of your research proposal, which must be written by the postdoc and reviewed by the faculty sponsor. Page limit: 3 pages with figures and tables + 1 additional page for references. These two or three pages should include a brief statement of proposed investigation in the following sections: Background, Goals, Hypothesis, and Experimental Methods. Formatting guidelines: at least 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, left and right; 12 point or larger font (Times New Roman, Times Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana). Include the title of the project and your name on all pages, and number the pages. If the applicant chooses to include references, please include DOI links for all references to allow the reviewer to look up the paper.

  7. Current and potential funding: List all sources of your current postdoctoral funding (fellowship, grant support, other) and any fellowships to which you have applied. Include the names, amounts and dates of the other award(s).
  8. Curriculum Vitae: Upload your current CV formatted using the Postdoctoral Scholar CV Template. Other CV formats will not be accepted.
  9. References: In lieu of a typical letter, your faculty sponsor must submit the Postdoctoral Scholar Primary Sponsor Statement. Your faculty co-sponsor (if any) must submit the Postdoctoral Scholar Co-Sponsor Statement. Additionally, request 1 or 2 letters of recommendation for a TOTAL of exactly 3 references. At least 1 letter should be from a scientist not directly engaged in the proposed research. All references must be requested and submitted through Slideroom. Do not skip this portion of the online application form — you cannot return to the page to add the information later, and your letter writers will not be contacted.

Review Process, Selection Criteria & Guidance

Review Process

  • All applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty who have expertise in neuroscience.
  • Applicants will be notified of results in December. The committee does not provide feedback on individual applications.

Selection Criteria & Guidance

The review committee will consider the following criteria:

  • Stage of training: Anybody who will be appointed as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University between January and June of 2022 is encouraged to apply, but the Interdisciplinary Scholar program usually gives preference to applicants in the first two years of their post-residency or postdoctoral training. 
  • Scientific merit: A strong research proposal defines how the proposed work would address an interesting and important question or technical challenge in the neurosciences broadly defined, advance justified hypotheses or address a technological gap, state clear goals with well-structured aims that will address the goals, and demonstrate creativity or innovation in identifying or addressing the problem. Strong proposals may be hypothesis-driven, exploratory, or primarily focused on technology development and communicate the general approach to readers.
  • Interdisciplinarity: A strong application would clearly demonstrate interdisciplinarity in multiple ways. One is through proposed research that brings together two or more distinct disciplines. Another is that the applicant seeks to establish themselves as an interdisciplinary scholar by proposing research in a discipline that is significantly different from the scholar’s PhD work. Strong applications will also demonstrate the applicant’s potential for performing interdisciplinary research by including strong mentorship and training plans from faculty sponsor(s), and/or by showing past successful interdisciplinary research. A co-sponsor is not a requirement in order to meet the program’s expectations for interdisciplinary neuroscience research.
  • Contributions to diversity: A strong statement of contributions to diversity would include knowledge about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), or a track record in advancing DEI, or future plans for advancing DEI. We acknowledge that everybody is at a different stage in their knowledge of the role diversity of experience and knowledge has in innovative research, and in their engagement in advancing DEI in neuroscience research, and we encourage all applicants to consider how they may contribute to grow and contribute to this effort. Engagement in DEI may occur at several levels: at a personal level, within the lab, or within Stanford or the broader community. Learn more about ways you can get engaged.
  • Applicant qualifications: Strong applicants will demonstrate productivity, independence, creativity, collaborative mindset and promise for innovation in neuroscience research based on information in the CV, sponsor statements and reference letters. Strong applicants will be able to convey independence and their collaborative mindset in their description of their role and that of the sponsor in developing the research project.
  • Training: A strong application will convey a coherent and realistic training plan through (1) the applicant’s research proposal, (2) their description of their role in carrying out the research project, and (3) their sponsor(s) statement(s). The sponsor(s) statement(s) will include specific ways in which the applicant and their sponsor(s) will address the applicant’s individual technical and professional goals, thinking broadly about the skills needed to prepare the applicant for their desired career path.


If you have any questions about the Wu Tsai Neuro Interdisciplinary Scholar Award application process, please contact Jill Wentzell.