BRAINS cohorts are launched roughly every other year. The next cohort will be in 2024. Contact us to be notified when applications open again.

Application and Participation Overview

Application to the BRAINS program consists of the following:

  • short answer responses regarding your expectations of BRAINS and your prior experiences as related to BRAINS;
  • on online survey (approx. 30 minutes to complete);
  • a statement describing your research, teaching, and broader impact work.

All selected applicants will also need to provide documentation of eligibility following their acceptance to the program and meet the program participation expectations.

Your individual responses on the application are confidential and will not be shared beyond the BRAINS administrative team. Please note the following exceptions: contact information and statements of research, teaching and broader impacts work for selected BRAINS participants will be shared with other BRAINS participants in their cohort and with panelists. All other data will be presented in aggregate form only for the purposes of reporting and program evaluation. Your survey responses will be stored on a password protected server with restricted access.

Program Evaluation:

As part of the program evaluation plan, BRAINS applicants will be asked to share information from their application, complete a short feedback survey after either the BRAINS symposium or virtual workshops, and take annual web-based surveys in order to assess the outcomes of BRAINS. Participation in the evaluation is voluntary. You are not obligated to participate, and your decision not to participate will not preclude you from being selected as a participant in BRAINS. All data will remain confidential in evaluation reports.

Participant Expectations: 

All eligible applicants will be invited to participate via one of the two participant pathways: Fellows or Affiliates. All participants are expected to fully participate in their pathway Launch Event and Peer Coaching Circles. 

Fellows pathway participants are expected to attend the entire in-person BRAINS Fellows Symposium, including meals, and stay at the symposium lodging. This requirement includes participants that live locally. In the event that the Symposium must take place virtually instead, participants will still be expected to attend the entire virtual event. Fellows participants are also expected to participate in regularly-meeting virtual Peer Coaching Circles following the symposium. The 2024 Fellows Symposium will take place Fall of 2024 outside of Seattle, WA

Affiliate pathway participants are expected to attend the three Affiliate Virtual Workshops. Affiliates are also expected to participate in regularly-meeting virtual Peer Coaching Circles following the virtual workshop series. The 2024 Affiliates Virtual Workshop Series will take place Fall of 2024. 

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Application Submission

The next application cycle will be in 2024. If you have any questions about applying to BRAINS, please contact us at Some questions might be addressed on our FAQ page

The application includes responses to short prompts and a research, teaching, and broader impacts statement. We recommend preparing these items before beginning the application survey. To help you prepare, please see the short answer prompts and the research, teaching, and broader impacts statement prompt below. The application survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. 

Short answer prompts (typically 100-150 words):

  • How do you hope to benefit from participating in BRAINS?
  • How might the anticipated impact of a program like BRAINS differ from other career development support you may have already experienced?  Please specify the types of career support you have experienced (e.g., access to resources, networking, professional development programs, etc.) 
  • What have been your experiences of being mentored? Some possible areas to include could be: i) types of mentoring you have received; ii) where and how you have benefited from mentorship; iii) challenges you have faced in mentoring relationships as a mentee; and iv) mentoring needs or desires that have or have not been fulfilled through prior mentoring experiences.
  • How do you feel about your career progression and navigating a career in academia? Please include a description of your confidence about your potential for success, barriers and challenges you are facing, your interest in continuing in neuroscience, your commitment to staying in academia, etc.

A three-paragraph professional statement:

Please include one brief paragraph describing your research, one brief paragraph about your teaching and mentoring philosophy, and one brief paragraph sharing your outreach, diversity and broader impacts work. If you are invited to participate in the BRAINS program, these three paragraphs will be available to other participants and panelists. Please note that your submission of these paragraphs serves as permission to share these statements with the BRAINS community. If you have questions or concerns about the inclusion of these paragraphs, please contact us at

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BRAINS is funded by NIH with the aim of increasing diversity within the neuroscience workforce on a national basis. Applicants are eligible for BRAINS if they are (1) early career (pre-tenure) Ph.D. scientists in neuroscience-related fields who are US citizens or Permanent Residents (unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to NIH), (2) interested in academic neuroscience, and (3) are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups or are individuals with disabilities. Eligible racial and ethnic identities include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the US Pacific Islands. In addition, following NIH guidance, we recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented in their field are also eligible and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Individuals with disabilities (defined as those with physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities) are also eligible for the program. Early career includes postdoctoral researchers, assistant professors, assistant research professors, and other pre-tenure level science positions.   

Pursuant to NIH guidelines, all accepted participants will need to submit documentation from an institutional official that certifies eligibility criteria are met. Samples for documentation of eligibility will be provided following acceptance to the program.

Please email with any questions concerning eligibility requirements and documentation. Other general questions about program eligibility are addressed in our Eligibility FAQs.

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