NARSAD Young Investigator Grants


The NARSAD Young Investigator Grant provides support for the most promising young scientists conducting neurobiological research. Two-year awards up to $70,000, or $35,000 per year are provided to enable promising investigators to either extend research fellowship training or begin careers as independent research faculty. Basic and/or clinical investigators are supported, but research must be relevant to serious brain and behavior disorders such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders or child and adolescent mental illnesses.

A few NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees are selected each year to present at the foundation's annual Scientific Symposium in New York City. NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees are also eligible to be selected for the Foundation’s Freedman Prize for Outstanding Basic Research and Klerman Prize for Outstanding Clinical Research. Selection is based upon outstanding research as outlined in the final progress report of the NARSAD Grant project.

*Assistant Professors with an NIH R01 Grant are now eligible to apply for the NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant.

NARSAD Young Investigator Grants enable early career scientists to garner pilot data for innovative ideas before they have “proof of concept” for their work. Once their NARSAD Grant project is complete, Investigators usually go on to receive sustained grant support from other sources that has proven to equal as much as 50 times the original research grant amount. NARSAD Grants offer the first critical backing of these young scientists' work. Here are a few examples of NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees whose early work was initially supported with a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant and who went on to make breakthroughs in mental health research:

Helen S. Mayberg, M.D.

Helen S. Mayberg, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry, Neurology, Radiology
Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair, Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics
Emory University School of Medicine
Scientific Council member
NARSAD Young, Independent, Distinguished Investigator

  • Advanced Deep Brain Stimulation in treatment of depression, targeting ‘area 25,’ a place in the brain she earlier found to be an important locus of depression pathology
  • Since initial Young Investigator grant funding in 1991, has received related subsequent funding of $8.5 million or 140 times the original NARSAD Grant amount

Mark George, MD

Mark S. George, M.D.

Distinguished University Professor
Director, Brain Stimulation Laboratory
MUSC Director, SC Brain Imaging Center of Excellence
Medical University of South Carolina
Scientific Council member
NARSAD Young and Independent Investigator

  • Developed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a new kind of non-invasive brain stimulation as an alternative for electroconvulsive therapy in treatment-resistant depression— FDA approval received in 2008
  • Following the initial NARSAD Grant, numerous NIMH, Department of Defense and VA awards valued at several millions of dollars furthered the development of this now FDA approved treatment.

Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD

Karl Deisseroth, M.D. Ph.D.

D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering
and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Invented optogenetics, an experimental method involving the use of light to make neurons fire one at a time, opening new vistas to understand the mechanisms behind depression and other psychiatric illnesses
  • Since initial Young Investigator grant funding in 2005, has received at least $3 million in related research funding or 50 times the original NARSAD Grant amount


See how NARSAD Grants forge the path from Discovery to Recovery in mental illness:
View our Breakthroughs Timeline




NARSAD is an acronym for National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the former name of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation