Seed Grant Program

In partnership with our rare disease partners offer seed funding to help established investigators launch new lines of research, collaborations, and/or research methods.

What types of research are competitive?

  • All fields of epilepsy research are competitive for AES funding, with a success rate of 30% from 2017-2019.
  • Specific fields of research are competitive for funding from our partners, some of whom have offered to fund a grant in full. If a proposal aligns with the priorities of a partner who will fund in full, some eligibility requirements may be waived and the proposals will compete for a separate pool of funding.

Application guidelines and instructions can be found here.


If your proposal submission is complicated by university closures, please contact to discuss options.

Seed grants provide up to $20,000 for one year, to be used to cover direct costs to fund preliminary investigation that will help researchers compete for larger grants that cover the full cost of research. They may not be renewed.

Examples of allowable costs include:

  • Research project supplies
  • Expenses related to information and technology exchange (such as travel for postdoctoral fellows between collaborating laboratories)

Roughly four awards are made each year, contingent on available funds.

Upcoming Deadlines

  • March 24, 2021

Funding decisions will be announced within eight weeks of each application deadline.

Application guidelines and instructions can be found here.

Questions? Email

Contributing Partners

The Seed Grant Program is made possible by the generosity of AES members and the support of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC.

In addition, the following funding partners will consider providing partial support for grants that both align with their research priorities and successfully compete for AES funds. AES is proud to partner with non-profit organizations to leverage resources and make dollars go further in the support of science.

The NORSE Institute aims to build a network of families, clinicians, and basic scientists focused on NORSE (new-onset refractory status epilepticus) and FIRES (febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome, now a subtype of NORSE.). Up to one full Seed grant will be funded in full in fall 2020 and 2021. Please see the NORSE Institute page here for details on their focused priorities. 

FamilieSCN2A Foundation hopes to accelerate the development of therapeutic treatments and disease-modifying advancements for those living with changes in the SCN2A gene. Up to one full Seed or early career grant will be funded in full by the FamilieSCN2A Foundation. 
The Bow Foundation is focused on supporting research into GNAO1 genetic mutations. The foundation supports research that improves medical understanding and enhances treatment options for patients with GNAO1 related neurodevelopmental disorders. They will consider co-funding a research proposal. 
CureSHANK has a singular purpose: to accelerate the development of cures and treatments for SHANK-related disorders. Our approaches are to identify and fund projects that overcome critical barriers to successful drug development and to coordinate scientific efforts to improve efficiency and speed in the field. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.
The Cute Syndrome Foundation will fund 25% of a seed grant focused on SCN8A Epilepsy.
Hope4Harper is committed to advancing research on the CDKL5 genetic disorder. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.
HHH Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartoma (HH) promotes research toward early detection, improved treatments, better living with HH, and cures. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.
Phelan Mcdermid Syndrome Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation (PMSF) is a rare disease patient advocacy group that exists to improve the quality of life of people affected by Phelan-McDermid Syndrome worldwide by providing family support, accelerating research, and raising awareness. They will consider co-funding a research proposal focused on the connection between seizures and 22q13, and/or the Shank 3 gene.
ring14 Ring14 USA funds research on Ring14 Syndrome and other anomalies originating from the 14th chromosome to improve treatments, quality of life, and the understanding of these conditions. They are particularly interested in researching any relationship between epilepsy and the 14th chromosome. They will consider co-funding a research proposal at 25%.
SLC6A1 Connect funds research that focuses on the development of therapy and biomarkers to improve SLC6A1 patient outcomes. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.
SRF exists to improve the quality of life of SynGAP1 patients through the research and development of treatments, therapies and support systems.  SRF welcomes all research that aligns with these goals but is currently prioritizing biomarkers. They intend to co-fund a proposal and will consider funding a proposal in full.
tess TESS Research Foundation’s mission is to find the best treatment options and ultimately a cure for Citrate Transporter Disorder (SLC13A5 Deficiency), an autosomal recessive epileptic encephalopathy with seizures beginning in infancy. Research priorities include disease model creation, drug screens, clinical biomarkers or surrogate endpoints, and potential treatment modalities. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.


Questions? Contact