Seed Grant Program

The AES Seed Grant Program provides support to established investigators to pursue new and innovative directions in epilepsy research, bring new research methods to their research programs, or begin new collaborations with other investigators in epilepsy or in different, complementary disciplines. These small awards are designed to enable preliminary investigations that will lay the groundwork for subsequent substantial grants from government, industry, or other funding sources for research to advance the understanding, treatment, and prevention of epilepsy.

Applications are rapidly reviewed by the AES Research and Training Council according to eligibility, scientific merit and impact, and potential for growth into a larger and ongoing research effort. Seed Grants may provide up to $20,000 for one year for direct costs only. They may not be renewed. Examples of allowable costs include research project supplies and expenses related to information and technology exchange, such as travel for postdoctoral fellows between collaborating laboratories. The number of awards made each year is contingent on available funds.

Current Round Deadline

September 22, 2017

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

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Applications may come from individual investigators or from two or more collaborating investigators. Applicants must be established investigators with at least an Associate Professor or equivalent level appointment. At least one applicant must be an epilepsy-focused academic investigator and an AES member.
  2. The proposed research must be in a new direction that could not be initiated without Seed support. Proposals are welcome across the spectrum of epilepsy research, including basic, translational, clinical, and outcomes-related research.
  3. If a project involves a collaboration between two or more investigators, preference will be given to collaborations that are new and/or involve investigators at different institutions or in different disciplines or fields of research. Preference will also be given to collaborations between academic investigators, although collaborations between academic and industry investigators will be considered.
  4. Applications that propose only infrastructure development with no primary research or data collection will not be accepted.
  5. Preference will be given to applications for research to be conducted at U.S. institutions. Depending on available funds, applications may be considered from investigators outside the U.S. who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.

Application Instructions

The following application materials must be submitted in PDF format to grants@aesnet.org by close of business on the date of the deadline.

  1. Completed cover sheet [PDF]
  2. Proposal narrative, including the following (3 pages maximum):
    • Description of the proposed research. The workplan must be appropriate for the budget and time-frame of a Seed grant
    • The significance of the line of research being initiated by the proposed work. If appropriate, please identify how the line of research will target priorities within epilepsy research identified by the Epilepsy Benchmarks or the Institute of Medicine Public Health research recommendations.
    • Overview of the research and technical expertise of the participating laboratories/clinical research sites
    • Statement describing how the proposed research represents a new direction and why Seed support is essential for its initiation
    • Future plans for the research beyond the one-year term of the Seed grant
    • Budget for the requested funding (in U.S. dollars)
  3. NIH format biosketch for all principal investigators, including present and past funding from the last 3 years
  4. When human subjects or tissues and/or vertebrate animals are to be used in a research project, it is the responsibility of the grantee to ensure that the project receives approval from his/her Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - if not submitted with an application selected for an award, documentation of necessary approval(s) must be submitted before funding can begin

Review Criteria

The following criteria will be considered during the review process:

  1. Fit for Seed: Does the proposal meet the criteria of a Seed grant as a new direction or research method for the laboratory, or a new collaboration that would be very difficult to initiate without Seed support? Special consideration will be given to new collaborations and/or those that involve investigators at different institutions and/or fields of research.
  2. Scientific Premise: As defined by the NIH, "What is the quality and strength of the prior research used as the basis for the proposed research question or project; this is distinct from the hypothesis or justification."
  3. Investigator & Environment: Does the investigative team have the resources, staff, and qualifications to carry out the proposed work? If the goal of the proposal is to bring a new method into the research program of an established epilepsy investigator, the score should not be lowered because of a lack of preliminary data unless there are significant doubts about feasibility and qualifications.
  4. Budget & Workplan: Is the budget appropriate for the proposed workplan? Is the proposed workplan feasible and appropriate for a one year $20,000 award?
  5. Innovation: As defined by the NIH, "Does the application challenge and seek to shift current [epilepsy] research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to [the epilepsy] field of research ...? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?"
  6. Significance: As defined by the NIH but broadened to consider the line of research initiated by the Seed rather than the proposed Seed work itself: Does the line of research initiated with this proposal "address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the [epilepsy] field?" such as those outlined in the Epilepsy Benchmarks or IOM Public Health recommendations? If the line of research is initiated and successful, "how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved?" Does the line of research have a chance to "change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?"
  7. Approach: As defined by the NIH, "Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (exclusion) of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
  8. Will the research be conducted at U.S. Institutions? Preference will be given to applications for research to be conducted at U.S. institutions. Depending on available funds, applications may be considered from investigators outside the U.S. who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.
  9. Does the proposal include primary research & data collection? Applications that propose only infrastructure development are not eligible for Seed awards.
  10. Collaboration status: Preference will be given to collaborations that are new and/or involve investigators at different institutions or different disciplines. Preference will also be given to collaborations between academic investigators although collaboration between academic & industry investigators will be considered