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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits, IHEs, Agencies, and Hospitals for Studies Related to Neuroscience

Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Challenge Network
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
LOI Date: 06/22/23
Deadline: 09/14/23 5:00 PM PT Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit organizations, IHEs, government agencies, and hospitals for collaborative studies related to neuroscience. Applicants are required to submit an LOI prior to a full grant application. Funding is intended for research that focuses on memory, cognition, and the neuroscience of sleep.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for the second cycle of the Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards. These grant awards support pairs of investigators and their teams to explore innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to address critical challenges in the fields of neurodegenerative disease and fundamental neuroscience. Awards for a period of 18 months, after which successful projects will be eligible to apply for additional four-year acceleration grants that build on pilot phase studies. Collaborative Pairs teams will benefit from the support, mentoring and collaborative interactions of the Challenge Network, as well as interactions with the broader CZ Science programs and grantee network.

Building on the successes of the Challenge Network and the first cycle of Collaborative Pairs, CAI is now pleased to invite applications for a new Request for Applications (RFA) that supports Cycle 2 of the Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards. For this new cycle of the Collaborative Pairs, the Foundation is excited to broaden the scope of their network to also support investigations into areas of fundamental neuroscience beyond neurodegenerative disease, in particular in areas where there is potential for complementarity or synergy with their existing work in the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network and/or other CZ Science program areas. This expanded RFA scope includes basic investigations into the cellular, molecular and circuit mechanisms of memory and cognition and the neuroscience of sleep.

The Collaborative Pairs program will be a two-phase process:

  • Phase 1 of the Collaborative Pairs grants RFA will provide seed funds for new interdisciplinary collaborations involving a pair of investigators and their labs to pursue a pilot project towards addressing a critical gap in the field (see section on scope below).
  • In Phase 2, Collaborative Pairs teams that received pilot project funding and have successfully progressed their project will be eligible to apply for an acceleration grant award to build on the work done in the pilot phase.

For additional information, see:

For examples of potential areas that would be within scope for this program, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign non-profit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments; and eligible agencies of the federal government. All grants will be awarded to institutions, not individuals.

Collaborations should include two principal investigators (PIs). There will be opportunities to work across collaborative projects, but each collaboration will be limited to two PIs.
- All applicants must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree and have an academic faculty position or equivalent independent investigator status at a college, university, medical school or other research facility.
- Independence is typically demonstrated by a full-time academic faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent. Independence may be defined differently in different types of organizations. Note: an upload of the letter or proof of independence is not required at the time of application.

For additional eligibility information, see:

For-profit organizations are not eligible.

The following groups are not eligible to apply to this Collaborative Pairs RFA:
- Investigators invited to submit full applications for the Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award (Cycle 2) RFA
- Current NDCN Collaborative Pairs Phase 2 Investigators
- Current Patient-Partnered Collaborations for Rare Neurodegenerative Disease Investigators

Meta employees, including employees of any subsidiary Meta entities, as well as employees of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, are not permitted to apply.

Examples of potential areas that would be out of scope for this program include:
- Clinical research investigations involving human research participants and patients, including human neuroimaging studies.
- Translational therapeutic or drug development research programs.
- Fundamental investigations in nervous system disease or injury contexts outside of neurodegeneration, such as neurodevelopmental diseases or psychiatric disease.

Pre-Proposal Conference
The NDCN is hosting an informational webinar about the Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards on May 24, 2023, from 9-9:50 am Pacific Time to talk more about the opportunity and answer pre-submitted questions.

Register and submit questions in advance:

Pre-Application Information
Key Dates:
- May 9, 2023: Letter of Intent (LOI) application portal opens
- June 22, 2023: LOIs due by 5 P.M. (Pacific Time)
- August 3, 2023: LOI decisions announced, Full application portal opens
- September 14, 2023: Applications due by 5 P.M. (Pacific Time)
- January 2024: Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
- March 1, 2024: Expected start date of award period (subject to change)

There may be more than one application from a given institution.

Watch the informational webinar from May 24, 2023:

Number of Grants

Estimated Size of Grant
$200,000 total costs, inclusive of indirect costs ($100,000 total costs per collaborative pair investigator over 18 months, unless otherwise stated).

Term of Contract
The award period is 18 months in duration with an expected project start date of March 1, 2024.

Contact Information

For administrative and programmatic inquiries, or other questions pertaining to this RFA, please contact

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