The Kavli Foundation invites letters of intent (LOI) for one-year project proposals to develop and/or use novel technologies to observe or control neural activity using photonic methods to analyze or probe neural function. The proposal should be for a new collaboration between two to four attendees of the Sculpted Light in the Brain 2022 conference.

The Sculpted Light in the Brain Innovation Grant has three key goals:

  1. Seed new interdisciplinary collaborative research projects,
  2. Support innovative, high risk/high impact projects that focus on basic science (as opposed to translational or clinical applications), and
  3. Accelerate development and/or use of new optical approaches used to measure and observe function in the living brain.

Letters of intent will be reviewed and those that are both compelling scientifically and meet eligibility criteria will be invited to submit a grant proposal. Applications will be kept confidential to the extent possible, except as necessary for processing and evaluation. Full anonymity cannot be guaranteed, due to the eligibility constraint of meeting attendance.

  • These grants are intended to provide seed funding for collaborative projects between two to four attendees of the Sculpted Light in the Brain 2022 conference, for novel ideas.
  • Proposals must be for new projects or ideas. Currently funded projects are not eligible.
  • Grant awards will be $50,000 direct funding per scientist.
  • Preliminary data are not required.
  • Scope of projects should be appropriate given budget and duration. The expectation is that these grants will kickstart well-designed preliminary projects or analyses, that could lead to future grant applications for larger, federally funded projects.
  • LOIs must be submitted electronically by 5pm PT July 8, 2022 through the application portal.
Application and Funding Specifics
  • The application process is a two-stage process: Letter of Intent (LOI) and Project Application (if invited).
  • Applications can request funding for $50,000 USD for one year per participating scientist (maximum four collaborators and $200,000), excluding up to 15% for indirect/overhead costs.
  • A detailed budget is not required for the LOI.
  • Appropriate expenses should be included in the Project Application, such as salary support, travel, equipment, supplies and other research expenses.
  • All collaborators (or co-applicants) must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree. Ph.D. student applicants will be considered with letter of support from their lab head, required during the Project Application stage. (Note: A lab head does not need to attend the Sculpted Light in the Brain conference.)
  • All collaborators must have attended the Sculpted Light in the Brain 2022 conference.
  • Only new collaborations are eligible; the scientists must not have had a funded collaborative project during the last five years.
  • Each scientist must be affiliated with a U.S. or international institution of higher education, or non-profit research organization.
  • Each scientist can only be part of a single proposed project, but there is no limit on the number of applicants from a single lab.
  • Sculpted Light in the Brain conference: June 26 – 28, 2022
  • Letters of Intent due: July 8, 2022, 5pm PT
  • Notification of proposal requests: by July 22, 2022 at 5pm PT
  • Project proposal submission due: August 19, 2022 at 5pm PT
  • Notification of awards: Early September 2022
  • Funds will be disbursed in Q4 2022, in coordination with recipient organization procedures
Instructions for Letter of Intent Submission

Each proposal should have one LOI submitted using The Kavli Foundation application portal. The LOI (or application) consists of the following sections (referred to as Tasks in the application portal), and must be completed in full:

Co-applicant details (to be entered for each of the collaborators)

  • Name and email
  • Organization/Job title
  • ORCiD URL or identifier

Proposal details

  • Title of application (limited to 60 characters, including spaces)
  • Proposal Summary/Scope of Work: A short summary of the project (maximum of 500 words)
  • Value of proposed research: Describe the intended outcome of the project
    (maximum of 250 words)

Eligibility questions

  • Have all co-applicants attended the Sculpted Light in the Brain 2022 conference? (Y/N)
  • Do all co-applicants attest that none of the co-applicants have worked on a funded, collaborative project in the past 5 years? (Y/N)
Project Applications

Applicants will be contacted by July 22, 2022. If a project application is requested, detailed application instructions will be provided at that time. A full application will require additional information such as a budget description, biosketches, a more detailed proposal and an administrative point-of-contact at each host organization.

Statement on inclusion

The Kavli Foundation is a catalyst for advancing scientific research, strengthening the relationship between science and society, and honoring scientific achievement. We are dedicated to the belief that scientific excellence can come from anyone, anywhere and is enriched by diverse perspectives, skills, and ways of thinking. We believe the scientific community should reflect the rich diversity of the globe – in race, gender, age, cultures, and beliefs – and we support this diversity through our grant making practices.

All applicants will benefit from equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.


Contact science@kavlifoundation.org and include “SLB2022” in the subject line.