FAQ: Applying for Planning Grants for Future Dana Centers for Neuroscience & Society

May 16, 2022

Deadline for proposals: July 6, 2022

See description of the Request for Proposals on our Grants & Funding page

Download a PDF version of the RFP; download a .zip file of entire Application Packet (includes RFP)

Apply by sending materials to Ishan Dasgupta, idasgupta@dana.org

Sign up for email announcements of future funding and grants

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is Neuroscience & Society? Is it the same thing as neuroethics, bioethics, or science and technology studies? Does my work fit?
We encourage applicants to review the Neuroscience & Society section of the Request for Proposals. Neuroscience & Society is the multidisciplinary study of how neuroscience informs and reflects society. Neuroscience & Society includes fields where neuroscience interfaces with the world, such as ethics, law, humanities, medicine, arts, social sciences, policy, education, journalism, and public engagement.  This list is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. Other disciplines may fall within the purview of Neuroscience & Society.

While Neuroscience & Society is not the same as neuroethics, bioethics, or science and technology studies, there are areas of overlap. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to the Foundation if they have questions about fit (see below for contact information).

Am I allowed to apply if I have not been invited?

Yes, this is an open call. No prior contact with the Foundation is required for applicants.

Is the Dana Foundation considering requests for other types of funding in Neuroscience & Society

No, the current call is only for proposals for planning grants for a Dana Center for Neuroscience & Society. Please do not send requests for other funding unless specifically invited by the Foundation.

Will the Dana Foundation put out additional calls for planning grants in 2022?

We do not anticipate additional funding opportunities related to Dana Centers in 2022. However, we may solicit another round of planning grants in the future.

How many Dana Centers will be funded?

The Dana Foundation aims to fund 2-3 Centers in 2023.

Am I allowed to apply for a Center grant if I do not first apply for a planning grant?
No, only recipients of planning grants will be eligible to apply for Center grants.

If I have questions about the planning grants, who should I contact?

Inquiries about the planning grants may be made to Ishan Dasgupta at idasgupta@dana.org.


Is my organization eligible to receive a planning grant?

Any U.S.-based academic institution or nonprofit organization may apply for a planning grant. Applications may be submitted as part of a collaboration of multiple entities. Applications should still identify one principal investigator for each proposal submitted.

Are the planning grants open to international institutions?

No, planning grants are only open to U.S.-based entities. International institutions may be included as collaborators, but the principal investigator must be affiliated with a U.S.-based institution.

Who can be a principal investigator for a planning grant?

Principal investigators should be individuals who are permanently employed by their institution and have experience leading multidisciplinary teams. Adjuncts, part-time faculty, and trainees, including graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, fellows, or other time-limited employees, are not eligible to be principal investigators, but are encouraged to be listed as part of the proposal if they will serve as key personnel.

Does the Foundation provide funding to individual scientists?

No, the Foundation provides no grants to individuals. Grants are provided to research institutions, colleges, universities, law schools, medical schools, and other 501(c)(3) organizations.

Does the Foundation fund for-profit institutions?

No, the Foundation only funds Not-for-Profit organizations.

Can there be more than one application from my home institution?

No, we will only accept one application per institution. If we receive multiple applications from the same entity, we will only consider the first application received.

*Update* The Foundation has updated our thinking on accepting multiple planning grant applications from a single institution. We are willing to consider multiple applications from a single institution. However, we will be unable to fund more than one planning grant at any given institution. We leave it up to applicants whether they prefer to submit multiple applications that would be in competition with each other (and with applications from other institutions), or if they want to consider collaborating on a single proposal. (updated June 17, 2022)

May I include collaborators from one or more other U.S. institution(s) in my application? 

Yes, you may, with a description of the collaborator(s) role(s). Each collaborator at a different entity should submit a separate budget template describing relevant funding.

My institution doesn’t have some of the infrastructure listed on the cover sheet (neuroscience graduate program, medical school, law school, etc.). Should I still apply?

While having some programs related to Neuroscience & Society will be necessary for any successful Center, we encourage applications from any institutions who have a strong vision for a Center. This includes liberal arts colleges, R2 and Special Focus research institutions, minority serving institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

Where possible, we encourage applicants to identify potential collaborations with external entities that could help fill gaps in existing infrastructure.


What is the duration of grant funding for planning grants?

Planning grants will last 5 months, starting on October 1, 2022.

What amount of funding is provided for planning grants?

Up to $150,000 may be requested for the grant period.

Is an institutional match required for the planning grant?

No, an institutional match is only expected if an applicant receives funding for a Dana Center. For planning grants, the Foundation will provide up to $150,000 without a match. However, in the planning grant application, applicants should secure institutional commitment that would support future institutional matching for a potential future Center grant.

Can an institutional match include in-kind contributions such as indirect costs or office space?

The Foundation is open to exploring different forms of in-kind contributions to cover a portion of the required institutional match. For the planning grants, applicants should describe the anticipated forms of contribution.

The following contributions may be considered.

  • Space – offices, meeting rooms, collaborative areas, and laboratories outfitted with computers, phones, and AV
  • Non-Personnel – costs related to planning and hosting events and large conferences/ meetings; travel
  • Equipment
  • Assigned % of effort for personnel listed on the grant
      • Faculty leadership – supporting administrative leadership/ governance/ coordination of the center
      • Admin and staffing support
      • Faculty research – supporting the proposal’s objectives and aims
      • Student support – Can include support for graduate research assistants or students, such as stipends
      • Bridge funding/ seed funding – To support underfunded or unfunded projects in the form of actual budget or cash
      • Indirect costs (IDC) – We are currently exploring the overall approach of IDC for the center grants.

    Can Foundation funds be used toward overhead costs? Are there any budget restrictions?

    Foundation funding covers only direct costs and cannot be used to cover indirect expenses.  The Foundation does not provide support for indirect costs. The budget must reflect direct costs only.

    Does Dana support general operating budgets?



    What documents are required?
    All applications should include a cover sheet, proposal narrative, budget narrative, and completed budget template provided in the application packet.

    Are there page limits for components of the application?
    Yes, please limit the proposal narrative to 10 pages. There is no page limit for the budget narrative. Budget items, bios, CVs, biosketches, and supplemental materials will not count towards the 10-page limit for proposal narratives.

    How do we apply?

    Applicants should send separate documents for all required components (Proposal Cover Sheet, Proposal Narrative, Budget Narrative, and Budget Template) to Ishan Dasgupta by email at idasgupta@dana.org by 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time on July 6, 2022.

    Download a .zip file of entire Application Packet (includes RFP)