(GREAT NECK, N.Y. - AUGUST 29, 2013) Marking the 27th year of bestowing transformative research grants on young scientists in brain and behavior science, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly known as NARSAD, or the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) announces $11.8 million in 200 new two-year grant awards.
The Foundation has awarded 3,497 two-year research grants to Young Investigators since the inception of its "NARSAD" Grants program in 1987. This $204.4 million investment in early career scientists' bold, outside-the-box research ideas has reached across the world to 33 countries in an unprecedented effort by a privately funded philanthropy. "The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is unrivaled in its innovative and expert approach to funding the most promising ideas in brain and behavior research," says Nobel Prizewinner and Foundation Scientific Council member, Dr. Eric Kandel. "Its funding decisions are steered by the best scientists in the field and the research sponsored has consistently led to important advances. The Foundation has made an enormous impact in our collective attempt to discover the biological basis of psychiatric disorders."
The Young Investigator program is highly selective, and this year a record-breaking number of 1,199 applications were received. Applications are reviewed by members of the Foundation's Scientific Council, comprised of 138 brain and behavior research experts who volunteer their time to select the most promising research to lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treating mental illness. The Young Investigator Selection Committee of the Council is led by Herbert Meltzer, M.D. of Northwestern University.
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, Foundation President and CEO, commented, "NARSAD Young Investigator Grants enable early career scientists to garner pilot data for innovative ideas before they have "proof of concept" for their work. After our initial funding, they usually go on to receive sustained grant support from other sources that has proven to equal as much as 50 times the original NARSAD Grant amount. Our grants offer the first critical backing of their work." The Foundation also awards NARSAD Independent Investigator Grants for established researchers and NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grants for particularly novel ideas from seasoned researchers.
The 200 new NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees will conduct basic and clinical research studies to understand what happens in the brain to cause mental illness, utilize or develop new technologies to advance possibilities for studying the brain and work toward developing next generation therapies for various psychiatric disorders.
Dr. Herbert Pardes, President of the Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at New York-Presbyterian Hospital said, "In this era of flourishing neuroscience, technology and brain mapping, we are closer than ever to understanding the brain and how to treat, and even prevent and cure, its illnesses. Support from the private sector is crucial to sustain the momentum in the field and we are thrilled with the quality of grant projects we are funding this year."
Since 1987, the Foundation has invested over $300 million in research to identify causes, improve treatments and develop prevention strategies for a broad range of psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, attention-deficit hyperactivity and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
All overhead costs for the NARSAD Grants programs and operational expenses of the Foundation are underwritten by two family foundations: 100% of all donor contributions for research are invested in NARSAD Grants.