2020 McKnight Memory & Cognitive Disorders Award

The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience supports innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. To this end, the McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award assists scientists working to apply the knowledge achieved through basic research to human brain disorders that affect memory or cognition. Please note, we take a broad view of the types of diseases that affect memory and cognition.

Use of Award Funds

We are interested in proposals that address the biology and mechanisms of neurological disorders including memory and cognition. This includes proposals that provide mechanistic insights of memory, cognition, and other neurological functions at the synaptic, cellular, molecular, genetic or behavioral level across different species, including humans. We are particularly interested in proposals that incorporate fundamentally new approaches. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary applications are encouraged.

Projects restricted to the creation of conventional mouse knockouts in candidate disease genes identified by association studies, or to broadly overexpress those genes, are discouraged. In addition, projects to perform genetic interaction screens on disease genes in model organisms (yeast, worm, fly, fish) will not be considered, unless the project includes substantive specific aims that investigate the disease relevance of any new genes discovered in human or mammalian model systems.


Investigators who are conducting research at institutions within the United States are invited to apply. Investigators must be in a full-time appointment at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Professor. Titles such as Research Assistant Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor Research Track, Visiting Professor or Instructor are not eligible. Researchers who are intramural employees such as those at the Allen Institute, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and similar institutions are not eligible. Applicants may not hold another McKnight award that would overlap with the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award. We are interested in geographic, gender, and racial diversity and we encourage women and minorities, as well as scientists from all around the U.S., to apply. Funds may be used toward a variety of research activities, but not the recipient's salary. The candidate's other sources of funding will be considered when selecting awards.

Selection Process

There is a two-stage selection process, beginning with a letter of intent (LOI). The selection committee will review the LOIs and invite a number of applicants to submit full proposals. Up to four awards are made annually, each providing $100,000 per year for three years. LOIs are due on March 25, 2019 (midnight in the last time zone on earth). Full proposals will be due September 3, 2019. Funding begins on February 1, 2020.

How to Apply

The application process is completely online. Please copy/paste the URL https://www.GrantRequest.com/SID_5768?SA=SNA&FID=35006 to access the Stage One LOI form. One investigator (the primary contact for the proposal) will be required to set up a user name and password (please retain your username and password as you will need it throughout the process); then complete an online face sheet and upload a two-page project description with no more than two pages of references; any images must be within the two-page limit. Please single-space in 12-point font using one-inch margins. Upload a single PDF with pages in this order 1) project description and references, and 2) NIH Biosketches for each PI.

Finalists will be invited via email to submit a full proposal. Competition is very intense; applicants are welcome to apply more than once.

If you do not receive email confirmation of receipt of your LOI within a week of submission, please contact Nan Jahnke at 612-333-4220 or njahnke@mcknight.org

Letter of Intent Date

Monday, March 25, 2019

Application Due Date

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Link to External Announcement