BRAINS 2022 Grant Renewal

The UW BRAINS program enters its second decade of advancing diversity in neuroscience. 

Seattle, March 7, 2022 -

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) recently awarded a 5-year $1.35M renewal grant to the BRAINS Program (Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience). This NINDS support will enable BRAINS to expand its reach and impact on the careers of postdoctoral and pre-tenure underrepresented neuroscientists in critically important ways. Continued NINDS funding will further allow BRAINS to discover new insights regarding factors that support the retention of minoritized neuroscientists in their careers. BRAINS Principal Investigator Dr. Sheri Mizumori remarks that “This work is essential in order to truly move the needle forward in terms of diversifying the neuroscience and biomedical workforce at a national level.” 

This University of Washington-based, national program is led by UW Psychology Professor Sheri Mizumori in collaboration with Dr. Joyce Yen, Director, UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change and Dr. Claire Horner-Devine, Founder, Counterspace Consulting LLC. The program uses a unique cohort-based professional development approach to explicitly address the inclusion, retention, and advancement of early career (post Ph.D. and pre-tenure) neuroscientists from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. 

Since 2011, BRAINS has connected almost 150 early-career neuroscientists across five cohorts to skill development opportunities and a dynamic network of professionals in the biomedical workforce. Based on the most recent data from 2020, 90% of participants remain in neuroscience careers. Moreover, 50% are currently in tenure track positions, compared to 24% at time of joining BRAINS. BRAINS participants are advancing through their careers to become successful in a range of research areas and leadership positions, including full professor, department chair, and provost positions. Shares Dr. Tanea Reed, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, Eastern Kentucky University, “When I learned I would be a part of BRAINS inaugural cohort, I was thrilled. I felt like I did not have adequate mentoring at my institution especially as an underrepresented minority. I was going up for tenure and floundering. The BRAINS community is more than a community; it’s a family. With their support and guidance, I started to flourish. I received not only tenure and promotion, but also my institution’s second R15 grant! Words cannot express how thankful I am to be a part of this wonderful program.”

With this new NINDS grant, BRAINS will add two new cohorts of early career neuroscientists from underrepresented groups to the program and expand its activities to deepen community connections, support skills implementation, and ultimately foster retention and career progression of BRAINS participants. “The BRAINS team has had a tremendous impact on diversifying the neuroscience workforce, not only by offering unique and creative programming leading to the professional advancement of future leaders, but also by sharing best practices with the field. Renewal of the grant assures that science will continue to benefit from this remarkable program.” notes Dr. Keith Trujillo, Professor of Psychology at California State University San Marcos, BRAINS Advisory Board Member, and prior Fellows Symposium Senior Panelist.

A particularly novel and exciting aspect of this new grant is that it affords a unique opportunity to not only better understand  the program’s longevity and its impact on active community engagement, but also to gather insights that can inform the future development of new programs and policies aimed at increasing retention of neuroscientists from underrepresented and minoritized groups in the biomedical workforce Specifically, this new grant will explore the most impactful program features, which program elements enhance participants’ long-term engagement, and whether these outcomes differ by program pathway. This evaluation will continue to be led by Dr. Cara Margherio, Assistant Director of the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity. 

Applications for the 2022 program are now open. For more information about BRAINS or to apply to the next cohort, please visit: