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Our Work

Dana NextGen

Catalyzing a New Generation

The Dana NextGen program aims to catalyze a new generation of interdisciplinary experts who transform neuroscience and neurotechnology research and development by centering consideration of societal needs throughout the process. We seek to support projects that provide neuroscience and society training opportunities and workforce development at the early career stage, inclusive of undergraduate students through pre-tenure faculty or equivalent, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration between neuroscience and non-science disciplines. NextGen trainees will be demographically and intellectually diverse, bridging the divide between neuroscience and the publics it’s meant to serve. We welcome projects that go beyond traditional pedagogy and focus on experiential learning to broaden a trainee’s education such that they are equipped with the necessary resources and collaborators to answer the complex problems raised by advances in neuroscience.

Program Goal and Objectives

Strengthen neuroscience’s positive role in the world through development of the next generation of experts who responsibly apply neuroscience knowledge towards human flourishing by supporting innovative training opportunities, workforce development, and collaboration across disciplines.

  • Objective One

    Integrate societal concerns into neuroscience training at early career stages through experiential learning and innovative curricula.
  • Objective Two

    Support workforce development in academic and non-academic career tracks to grow a new generation of experts in neuroscience and society who will shepherd neuroscience’s positive role in the world.
  • Objective Three

    Encourage rigorous, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary work between neuroscience and non-science disciplines (e.g., ethics, law, humanities, arts, social sciences, policy, journalism, education, and public engagement) that promotes collaboration to solve complex problems that cannot be answered by science alone.
  • FAQs for Grant Seekers

    What is neuroscience and society? Is it the same as neuroethics, bioethics, or science and technology studies? Does my work fit?

    Neuroscience and society is the multidisciplinary study of how neuroscience informs and reflects society, and practical work to put these ideas into action. Neuroscience and 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 and society.

    While neuroscience and society is not the same as neuroethics, bioethics, or science and technology studies, there are areas of overlap.

    For further information, please visit our Neuroscience and Society page. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Foundation if they have questions.

    What does the Dana Foundation fund?

    The Dana Foundation is a nonprofit grantmaking institution that works to advance neuroscience that benefits society and reflects the aspirations of all people. Grant applications are made to a particular program. Interested applicants should read through the Foundation’s program descriptions in the Our Work section of the website carefully. Each program page includes a statement of the program’s goal and objectives, a list of recent grants, and a section with information on how to apply. Prospective applicants are encouraged to explore the grants awarded within a program to gain insight into the types of projects supported.

    At this time, the Foundation will not provide funding for indirect costs as part of our grantmaking process, unless otherwise specified.

    What does the Dana Foundation not fund?

    Across our grant programs: 

    • The Foundation does not make grants to political campaigns, to support political activities, or to lobby for or against legislation. 
    • The Foundation does not make grants to individuals. 
    • The Foundation does not generally make grants to for-profit institutions. 
    • The Foundation does not fund purely empirical or conceptual biomedical and/or behavioral research projects without a substantive, active emphasis on addressing complex societal problems. For example, an interdisciplinary team working on a purely empirical behavioral neuroscience study would not constitute a competitive application. 
    • The Foundation does not provide funding for one-off events or conference programming, unless otherwise specified. 
    • The Foundation does not fund requests to support ongoing programs or general operating support; instead, we are interested in applications proposing discrete projects that are well-aligned with our mission and our programmatic priorities. 

    Specific to the Dana Education program, we are not interested in funding: 

    • Educational or training programs that target undergraduate students.
    • Educational programs and resources that cover basic neuroscience concepts only, without exploring connections to society. 
    • Passive learning approaches, such as documentary films, videos, or podcasts, without a sustained educational component that provides opportunities for continued learning and engagement. 
    • Disease-specific public education campaigns. 

    Specific to the Dana NextGen program, we are not interested in funding: 

    • Neuroscience research without a non-science component.  
    • Development of traditional course materials such as textbooks.  
    • Development of courses that lack an experiential component.  
    • Training or education models that utilize neuroscience to improve learning for students.  
    • Educational or training programs primarily targeting high school students, professional audiences, or the public.
    • The Dana Foundation champions efforts to broaden participation in neuroscience amongst individuals from groups that have been historically excluded, however, broadening participation in neuroscience alone is not a sufficient societal emphasis. 

    Specific to the Dana Frontiers program, we are not interested in funding: 

    • Projects that primarily aim to increase awareness about brain health or specific brain-based diseases.  
    • Projects that primarily aim to remedy a “knowledge deficit” for the benefit of science or medicine. 
    • Projects that primarily produce static deliverables such as reports or websites. 
    • Neuro-art performances or exhibits, except as part of larger sustained, multidirectional and collaborative community engagement 
    • Projects that promote engagement primarily of academics and/or other experts, except as also involves other community engagement or the cultivation of skills or resources to facilitate connection between academics/experts and non-scientific communities. 

    For expanded terms, conditions, and policies, please see our General Grant Guidelines. 

    I would like more information about the Foundation’s program areas. Who should I contact?

    Visit our Contact Us section to reach the program area of choice, or visit our staff page to email a program staff member directly. To receive occasional notifications about our funding opportunities, subscribe to our Grants Email Alerts.

    I’m not sure my area of work fits under the Foundation’s program areas. Who should I contact?

    Interested applicants should carefully read through the Foundation’s program descriptions before contacting us. To connect with a program staff member about innovative ideas that align with our programmatic goals and objectives, please visit our Contact Us section and select the program area of choice. We generally do not respond to funding inquiries distinctly outside our domain—Neuroscience & Society.

    Who can apply to receive a grant?

    Applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to be eligible for a grant.

    Please note:

    • The Foundation does not make grants to political campaigns, to support political activities, or to lobby for or against legislation.
    • The Foundation does not make grants to individuals.
    • The Foundation does not generally make grants to for-profit institutions.

    For expanded terms, conditions, and policies, please see our General Grant Guidelines.

    Does the Dana Foundation award grants outside of the US?

    The Dana Foundation currently provides international funding for neuroscience and society through our partnerships with FENS and IBRO in the form of Brain Awareness Week grants. Beyond these programs, our grant-making is focused domestically, but we will consider applications from organizations outside of the US on a case-by-case basis. If you are located outside of the US and have a project idea that you believe would strengthen neuroscience’s positive role in the world in alignment with our mission, vision, and values , please send an inquiry on our Contact Us page, selecting the program topic that most closely aligns with your project idea.

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