Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Announces 30th Annual Young Investigator Grants Valued Over $13 Million to 196 Scientists Pursuing Innovative Mental Health Research

Posted: November 2, 2017

NEW YORK CITY (November 2, 2017)—The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation announced the 30th annual awarding of its Young Investigator Grants valued at more than $13.6 million to 196 of the world’s most promising young scientists, with the release of the 2017 Young Investigator Grant Program booklet. The $70,000 grants ($35,000 a year for two years) support the work of young scientists with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments, and develop prevention strategies for psychiatric disorders that affect one in five people. This year’s Young Investigators are studying conditions that include addiction, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, eating, mood and autism spectrum disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and psychosis.

Recipients of this year’s Young Investigator Grants are from 108 institutions in 15 countries. They were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 177 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including two Nobel Prizewinners; two former directors and the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 26 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions; and 52 members of the Institute of Medicine. Over the past 30 years, members of the all-volunteer Scientific Council have reviewed more than 25,000 grant applications.

“For 30 years, the Foundation’s hallmark grant program has supported young scientists pursuing the most innovative research into mental illness,” says Foundation President and CEO Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D. “The research our grantees conduct provides tremendous hope for continued advancements in our understanding of the brain and continued improvements in treatment and ultimately, cures and methods of prevention.”

According to Dr. Borenstein, the Foundation’s successful model for funding brain research not only supports scientists throughout their careers, but can make a huge difference for young investigators, permitting them to garner pilot data for innovative ideas to develop “proof of concept” for their work or begin careers as independent research faculty.

Once the grant project is complete, these young investigators usually go on to receive subsequent funding valued at 11 to 19 times the original grant amount. In many cases, Foundation Grants offer the first critical support for a young scientist’s work that may not otherwise receive funding.

“The Young Investigator program represents the intersection of cutting-edge brain and behavior research and innovation,” says Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “The grants enable outstanding scientists to pursue bold new ideas to answer important questions or help identify potentially game-changing targets for treatment. The awards function as seed funding for new directions which would otherwise be highly unlikely.” 

Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $257 million in Young Investigator Grants around the world.


This year, the Scientific Council reviewed more than 850 applications to select the 196 Young Investigators. The breakdown of funding for Young Investigator Grants is as follows: about three quarters of the grants fund basic research to understand what happens in the brain to cause mental illness; about one-quarter of the grants fund next-generation therapies to recognize early signs of mental illness and development of new technologies to advance or create new ways of studying and understanding the brain.

For more detailed information on the Young Investigator Grant recipients, click here.

About the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

For the past 30 years the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has been committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. The Foundation funds the most innovative ideas in neuroscience and psychiatry to better understand the causes and develop new ways to treat brain and behavior disorders. These disorders include addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, borderline personality disorder (BPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded $380 million to fund more than 5,500 grants to more than 4,500 leading scientists around the world. This has led to over $3.8 billion in additional funding for these scientists. The Foundation is also dedicated to educating the public about mental health and the importance of research, including the impact that new discoveries have on improving the lives of those with mental illness, which will ultimately enable people to live full, happy and productive lives. For more information, visit