Accelerator Internal Granting Program

COVID-19 update on the BrainsCAN Accelerator Program

* In the fall of 2018, the application process was amended to include an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) section. For spring 2019, we increased the space for researchers to provide a detailed description of their Full application. Please ensure you are using the current guidelines and application.

* The latest BrainsCAN Accelerator Townhall was held November 12, 2019. For those who were unable to attend, slides have been made available online.

* In January 2020, the program was changed from two streams (one year Stimulus grants and three year Full grants) to a single two year stream (documentation to follow shortly).

We are excited to be offering this internal funding opportunity arising from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) supported BrainsCAN Initiative. CFREF invests approximately $200 million per year to support Canada’s postsecondary institutions in their efforts to become global research leaders.

The Accelerator Program is purposefully designed to push the limits of cognitive neuroscience and transform its landscape by supporting high-risk/high-reward research programs and helping them move forwards to become more competitive in traditional funding channels.

Once you’ve identified your transformational research concept, you can proceed with a targeted two year Accelerator Grant. The project should be focused on the aspect of the overall research program that is both foundational and high-risk. It is the aspect with the most uncertainty. It is likely that many of the funded projects will not proceed beyond this phase. However, those projects that show success in the two years are ideally positioned to expand their research to a scale capable of producing substantial impact in the field of cognitive neuroscience, via typical external funding sources.

In summary, an Accelerator Grant addresses the key obstacle that needs to be proven to demonstrate the feasibility and allow a larger, transformative program to proceed. These full research programs raise the calibre of Western neuroscience to the highest international level, radically transform our understanding of the brain, significantly reduce the impact of cognitive disorders, and influence clinical practice and public policy through top-quality evidence.


The Program is currently chaired by Drs Prado and Pruzsynski who constitute a review panel for each call that reflects the diversity of applications submitted as LOIs.

Each application has three reviewers with at least one external (to Western) reviewer and one internal reviewer. Once the review panel has reached a consensus the rankings are anonymized and presented by the Program Chairs to the Executive Committee (EC) at an in-person meeting for approval with a recommendation for the funding line cut-off. If either Co-Chair or an EC member is in conflict, they are not party to the discussions. Once the funding line is set the EC members without COIs are unblinded. This is to address any specific concerns brought up by the panel that require grant details, as well as to confirm compliance with CFREF regulations.

Contact Information:

The competition is administered by BrainsCAN’s Support Team (
For specific questions please contact Jon Deeks, Knowledge Mobilization & Impact Manager (ext: 88596;