2021 Innovator Awards

To provide seed funding for high-quality, innovative research

Click here for the LOI
Click HERE to download the RFA
Click here to download the Policies & Guidelines

The Innovator Award provides seed funding for innovative, non-incremental research to transform the field of hydrocephalus through:

  • the understanding of disease mechanisms and/or
  • the development of novel therapies; and
  • treatment approaches to prevent, modify, or manage the condition.

Investigators studying any etiology of hydrocephalus are invited to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by May 13, 2021.

Award Details:

This award supports:

  • projects that will test new insights, paradigms, therapies, or treatments with the potential to impact the research field and/or patient care.
  • projects that can be completed within a 12-month timeline.
  • projects that can be completed at one of two funding levels, $25,000 or $50,000.

This award does not support:

  • incremental progress of an established research program or project.
  • development of new prenatal or pediatric animal, in vivo, or in vitro models (See NIH PA-18-623 for funding opportunities in this area).
  • development or modification of tools to advance prenatal or pediatric hydrocephalus research (See NIH PA-18-623 for funding opportunities in this area).
  • projects in association with commercial development partners (i.e., participation of for-profit corporation(s)).

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • have a publication record containing research articles that are innovative and high impact.
  • have demonstrated the ability to independently supervise staff and research.
  • have completed one or more of the following degrees: MD, PhD, DSc, DO, Pharm.D, or equivalent.
  • hold an assistant professorship, associate professorship, professorship, or any equivalent academic or non-academic position.
  • be based at an accredited non-profit research or academic institution worldwide.
  • be a member of the HA Network for Discovery Science (http://hands.hydroassoc.org/)

Final award decisions will depend on the number, scope and quality of the applications received and the research priorities determined by the Hydrocephalus Association. Total funding for this award cycle is anticipated to be $150,000. This award provides no institutional overhead. All applications must be submitted in English.

Special consideration may be given to projects that increase diversification of HA’s research portfolio and focus on underrepresented areas of hydrocephalus research. Evaluation of cognitive and behavioral outcomes, research on adult forms of hydrocephalus, employment of cross-disciplinary teams, use of machine learning/artificial intelligence, and/or phenotypic analysis are also encouraged.

All applicants must submit an LOI. LOIs must be submitted to research-loi@hydroassoc.org before 5:00 PM (Eastern) on May 13, 2021. LOI decisions and invitations to submit full proposals will be made in late-May.

Application Details:

The Letter of Intent (LOI) components include:

Click here for the LOI

  • A one-page summary of the project*
  • Identification of the supporting institution
  • Identification of three potential reviewers

* All applicants intending to include human subjects must indicate this in the LOI and will be contacted to determine whether the project falls within the scope of this RFA


The Full Application components include:

Click here for the Full Application

  • Contact details and other relevant administrative information (Face Page).
  • Proposal Budget (Budget).
  • Biographical sketches are required for the Applicant, Co-Investigator (if applicable), and Key Personnel. Biographical Sketches. Do not exceed five (5) pages (BioSketch).
  • Describe why this research is innovative and non-incremental. List any active or pending grant support that has or may appear to have a significant scientific or budgetary overlap with the research proposed in this application. Do not exceed one (1) page (Innovation).
  • The Research Plan for the proposed project contains a summary, specific aims and hypotheses, background and significance, research design and methods, next steps, and literature cited. Do not exceed six (6) pages. Note: Literature Cited does not count against the 6-page limit (Research Plan).
  • Describe the Institutional Facilities and any Consultations/Collaborations if applicable. Do not exceed two (2) pages (Facilities and Collaborations).
  • Applications from all candidates should also include a letter from the appropriate administrative institutional official confirming the institution’s commitment to the responsible conduct of research, the candidate’s eligibility and good standing, and that, if selected, the candidate would be able to accept the award.

All applicants must provide assurance of compliance with local research regulatory bodies and with local laws in advance of the start of research activities. Additionally, for applications using human embryonic stem cells or human tissue, the candidate must obtain appropriate Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO) and human subjects research approvals in advance of the start of research activities.

Full applications are due before 5:00 PM (Eastern) on July 27, 2021. Grant finalists will be contacted in October 2021. For additional information, please contact Jenna Koschnitzky, PhD at research@hydroassoc.org or 240.483.4540.