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Psychosocial Research (PSR) Grants

Fellowships and Grants to USA and Canada IHEs
and Rehabilitation Facilities for Medical Research

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/29/20 5:00 PM ET


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Fellowships and grants to USA and Canada nonprofit academic institutions and rehabilitation facilities for medical research. Applicants must submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full application. Research should focus on psychological, biological, and social factors affecting individuals living with spinal cord injuries (SCI).

The goal of the funding portfolio is to develop sound data to inform and disseminate best practices that produce better outcomes, improving quality of life for people living with SCI. This research explores the interrelation of behavioral, social and psychological factors that influence participation, health practice, lifestyle, and support systems in community and clinical settings. 

Emphasis is placed on research directed towards:

  • Increasing understanding of psychological (behavioral, emotional, cognitive) and social (interpersonal, community, environmental) factors that affect health, functioning and quality of life;
  • Testing the effectiveness and/or feasibility of rehabilitation and habilitation interventions to improve psychological and social functioning, including participation in work, school and other community activities;
  • Improving measurements of psychological, social and environmental risk factors, protective factors, processes and outcomes; and
  • Identifying critical service gaps, needed data and/or new areas of exploration, within a psychosocial or socioecological context, as defined by or with input from people living with SCI.

PSR topics can address issues that reflect the diversity of people with SCI across the lifespan, including targeted SCI subgroups or specific aspects of psychological, environmental and social support factors that impact health, functioning or quality of life. The PSR portfolio areas of emphasis include, but are not limited to, research on aging, caregiving (formal and informal networks), employment/work, health behaviors and fitness, independent living/lifestyle, self-management/selfcare, and technology access. Research can involve qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies.

For examples of relevant research topics that could have widespread impact on the field, see

Applications to this portfolio must be research-oriented and psychosocial in their focus. The Neilsen Foundation encourages submissions across a wide range of disciplines; however, it is strongly encouraged that relevant SCI and psychosocial expertise are represented on the project team.

Research grant funding categories:

  • PSR Postdoctoral Fellowships: This funding is designed to encourage specialization in the field of SCI; Fellowships are intended to provide mentored training in SCI research to early-career investigators. The Fellowship Applicant (Fellow) should be mentored (or co-mentored) by an investigator experienced in SCI psychosocial research. For information on Postdoctoral Fellowships, see:
  • PSR Pilot Grants: This funding is intended to support pilot studies that lay essential groundwork, allow the Applicant to test the feasibility of novel methods and procedures and/or collect new data that can lead to or enhance larger-scale studies. Proposed pilot projects should indicate how they will establish a new investigational program or take on “risk” balanced by high potential impact. For more information on Pilot Grants, see: see:
  • PSR Studies and Demonstration Projects: This funding is intended to support substantive studies that fill important gaps in the SCI field, that open new areas of SCI psychosocial research, or that develop and evaluate interventions to address psychosocial issues after SCI. Submissions in this category should facilitate, expand or improve the translation of knowledge and/or the adoption of interventions and practices that will have a positive impact for those living with SCI. Based within a psychosocial framework, PSR Studies and Demonstration Projects can range from SCI epidemiological studies to interventions that will enhance clinical treatment, rehabilitation, habilitation and/or other related quality of life outcomes

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182500

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Funding for Fellowships is $75,000 per year, for up to two years; $150,000 total costs.
- Funding for PSR Pilot grants is for up to two years, $200,000 total costs.
- Funding for PSR Studies and Demonstration Projects is for up to three years, $400,000 total costs.

Term of Contract:

Grants from the Neilsen Foundation may be multi-year awards. Funding for each subsequent year will be contingent on a favorable review of an annual progress and expenditure report.

- Funding for Fellowships is for up to two years.
- Funding for PSR Pilot grants is for up to two years.
- Funding for PSR Studies and Demonstration Projects is for up to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The following applies to all funding categories:
- Applicants must have a doctoral degree or an equivalent terminal professional degree (e.g., PhD, MD, DVM). Non-fellowship applicants must demonstrate appropriate experience to serve as an independent Principal Investigator (PI). The Neilsen Foundation encourages submissions from eligible PIs who represent a wide range of disciplines; however, it is required that relevant SCI expertise is represented on the proposed research project team.
- The grantee must be a nonprofit academic/research institution or rehabilitation facility located in the United States or Canada with a demonstrated capability to conduct grant-funded research.
- The PI is not required to be a citizen of the United States or Canada; however, the PI must be employed by an eligible grantee institution.
- Neilsen Foundation grants are not awarded to individuals, private foundations or non-functionally integrated Type III supporting organizations.
- The Applicant named in a grant application must be deemed eligible by his/her organization to apply for a grant, and is expected to be responsible for conduct of the research. Each application must include the appropriate endorsement of an institutional official who is responsible for the administration of grant funds (hereafter known as the “Grants Administrator”).
- A PI may only submit one application in a given portfolio cycle
- The Neilsen Foundation does not allow Co-Principal Investigators on its research grants. If two or more investigators are working together on a research project, one must serve as the PI; the other(s) should be listed as collaborator(s). Collaborators and/or consultants do not need to be affiliated with the same institution as the PI; a subcontract may be used to support a domestic or international collaborator or consultant.
- Multiple PIs from an institution may submit concurrent, independent applications in a given grant cycle. In such cases, each project must be distinct, with non-overlapping Aims.
- The Neilsen Foundation discourages Postdoctoral Fellows and their mentor(s) from submitting concurrent applications with overlapping Aims to multiple funding categories within this portfolio.
- It may not be necessary to provide preliminary data. Neilsen Foundation funding may be sought to allow the PI to obtain data to establish a line of research if the proposal provides strong rationale (e.g., support from the literature or use in an indication other than SCI) that justifies testing the hypotheses with the proposed experimental design. However, if feasibility issues add unacceptable risk of failure, reviewers may note that preliminary data to address this risk should be provided.

Postdoctoral Fellowships: Fellows must have attained their doctoral degree or an equivalent terminal professional degree by the FGA submission deadline and have held that degree no longer than five years prior to the FGA submission deadline. For Fellows with an MD degree, the five-year period begins after completion of their residency program. Unique circumstances related to this criterion must be communicated to the Neilsen Foundation for approval prior to submission.

Pilot Grants: Applicants must have a doctoral degree or other equivalent terminal professional degree, be beyond the postdoctoral level at the time of the FGA submission, and demonstrate appropriate experience to serve as an independent PI.

Studies and Demonstration Projects: Applicants must have a doctoral degree or other equivalent terminal professional degree and demonstrate appropriate experience to serve as an independent PI.

Pre-Application Information:

- February 12, 2020: Letter of Intent opens for 2021 cycle
- March 25, 2020: Letter of Intent closes for 2021 cycle
- June 12, 2020: Letter of Intent results announced for 2021 cycle
- July 29, 2020: Full Grant Applications due for 2021 cycle
- December 31, 2020: Awards announced for 2021 cycle

For each cycle, the application process begins with an LOI. FGAs will only be accepted from Applicants invited through the most recent LOI competition. The Neilsen Foundation uses the web-based grants system, proposalCENTRAL, to review and manage its grants.

Applicants will be notified via email whether they are invited to submit an FGA, or if the LOI has been declined. An LOI must be approved by the Neilsen Foundation in order for the Applicant to move to the next step of the grants process, submitting an FGA.

Applicants are strongly recommended to begin the application process in proposalCENTRAL well in advance of all deadlines.

- ProposalCENTRAL has a tutorial section on its website that may be helpful in completing the application: or click on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


- For technical questions regarding the online submission process, contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Service at (800) 875-2562 or via email at, during business hours, Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). There is no technical support available on weekends or holidays.
- For questions regarding an application’s submission status, contact Ehrica Hernandez, Grants Management Associate, at
- For questions regarding the PSR portfolio contact, Joy Guihama, MPH, Program Officer, at
Note: Applicants are strongly discouraged from contacting any member of any Neilsen Foundation Review Board once an application has been submitted. Such contact will result in disqualification of the LOI or FGA.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon

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