Stage I

Many novel ideas never get off the ground because they lack the initial data needed to win traditional research grants. We are therefore not trying to fund projects that are in the latter stages of research. Instead, Stage I grants seek to bridge this gap by giving disruptive approaches an initial 'push' so they can gain access to traditional funding sources. These funds can support them as they progress to translational research and clinical trials in Stages II and III. This approach means that in all six awards we are looking for proposals which:

    •Include unconventional, novel and disruptive concepts
    •Are high risk and high potential
    •Have the potential for functional recovery in chronic animal and human subjects

There are six challenge categories in which we will provide funding. There will be 12 grants available in each round, with one grant of $50,000 available in each category, and a further 6 grants, according to those categories that have the strongest applications. Round 2 of Stage I closed for applications on 21st January 2016. Round 3 of Stage I will open later in 2016. For news about winning grantees and when the next round of applications opens, please sign up to our newsletter here.

The award categories are:


New Investigator Award

Goal: Attract and support new researchers in the field of SCI with novel approaches

• "New Investigator" refers to either newly hired researchers that begin their career in SCI research after their graduate studies or established researchers who recently switched to the SCI field. The applicant who performs the majority of the work must have entered the field of SCI research in the last two years AND have finished their PhD at least one year ago.

Expand to see New Investigator Award judging criteria

Register and apply here.


The Lone Star Foundation Collaboration Award

Goal: Fund innovative, inter-disciplinary collaborations (e.g. neuro-engineering and biochemistry)

• The consortium must be interdisciplinary; at least two labs in two different fields must collaborate and at least one person per lab must work on the project.

For this award, there is at least one grant of $100,000 available as each lab collaborating will receive $50,000.

Expand to see Collaboration Award judging criteria

Register and apply here.


Cross-Over Award

Goal: Incentivize the cross-over of adjacent neurological research to the field of SCI

• Adjacent research may come from fields such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, ALS, Alzheimer's, cancer, immunology, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases

Expand to see Cross-over Award judging criteria

Register and apply here.


Translation Award

Goal: Fund projects that aim to translate research from animal experiments toward human clinical trials

• Projects must either propose the translation of a particular piece of research, or facilitate new approaches of transferring basic neuroscience to clinical application

 Expand to view Translation Award judging criteria
Register and apply here.


Out-of-the-Box Award

Goal: Provide initial funding for high-risk, high-potential research ideas

• The proposal must be revolutionary and can include high-potential risks. The major risk must be pointed out and clear scientific rationale must be given as to why the research might theoretically lead to a breakthrough

 Expand to view Out-of-the-Box Award judging criteria
Register and apply here.

Reaching and Grasping Award

Goal: Make progress towards restoring reaching and grasping function for human SCI patients through innovative research

• Due to the interconnectivity of the spinal cord, the effects of the proposed project may not be confined solely to arm/hands; however, the proposal must convince the judges that their project will help drive progress to the reaching/grasping target

 Expand to view Reaching and Grasping Award judging criteria

Register and apply here.