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.

The next application deadline is October 19, 2020.

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.

Current Round Deadlines

  • October 19, 2020

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 intends to support up to two Seed Grants in full across the April and September 2020 grant cycles. 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.). Please see the NORSE Institute page here for details on their focused priorities.

A full research grant will be funded by the FamilieSCN2A Foundation. FamilieSCN2A hopes to accelerate the development of therapeutic treatments and disease-modifying advancements for those living with changes in the SCN2A gene.

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.
OCHD19 The goal of the PCDH19 Alliance Research Grant Program is to fund research directly towards understanding the expression of the PCDH19 gene and the function of the PCDH19 protein, finding therapeutic treatments, and a cure for PCDH19 Epilepsy. They are pleased to be able to support many different types of projects, each critical for advancing all phases of PCDH19 research, from basic to clinical to treatment. They will consider co-funding a research proposal.
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.
SLC6A1 Connect will co-fund a Seed Grant that focuses on the development of therapy & biomarkers to improve SLC6A1 patient outcomes.
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.


Questions? Contact