RNA and the Brain

Since its establishment in 1989, the Azrieli Foundation has supported eight key priority areas, including basic and clinical biomedical research. Our goal is to advance discoveries and novel approaches that address the core of challenging issues in medicine and society, including for neurodevelopmental conditions.

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Azrieli Science Grants Program, and the launch of our first Request for Applications (RFA): “RNA and the Brain”.

In this call for applications, we seek to support research projects that deepen our understanding of the molecular events “downstream of RNA transcription” that diversify gene expression and function in embryonic and early postnatal development of the nervous system. The emphasis will be on how these mechanisms contribute to normal nervous system development, physiological homeostasis and/or neural cell function, and how their dysfunction may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders. Our long term vision is that discoveries made possible by this RFA could lead to the development of mechanism-based interventions that address the fundamental molecular features that underlie neurodevelopmental conditions.


Individual or team projects will be funded to a maximum of Cdn $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years. We expect to fund the top six applications, as determined by an external peer-review process.

Topic Eligibility

  • Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, including, for example, (but not limited to): RNA splicing, stability, and localization; circular RNA biogenesis and function; regulation of RNAs by miRNA and RNA binding proteins (RBP); composition and role of RNA-associated granules and bodies
  • Regulation of protein translation, including (but not limited to): Ribosome elongation, termination and quality control; localization of protein translation; regulation of protein degradation; Phase separation of protein complexes
  • Spatial and temporal regulation of the above post-transcriptional/post-translational mechanisms in neuronal development and/or associated neurodevelopmental conditions
  • We will accept applications using any relevant model/experimental system, provided the focus is relevant to the nervous system

Apply for the RFA “RNA and the Brain”

updated June 22, 2020

Thank you to all applicants who submitted a Letter of Intent to “RNA and the Brain”. TheLOI is now closed. We will notify you by May 29th regarding your eligibility to proceed to the Full Application stage.

Download LOI Guidelines >>
Download Application Manual >>

Eligibility & Guidelines

Applicant Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by individual researchers or teams. Nominated Principal Applicants, and Co-applicants (who intend to share funding) must be independent investigators at accredited Canadian Universities or Research Institutes with Registered Charitable Organization designation. Team applications may include collaborators (who do not request funding from this RFA) from any jurisdiction.

Key Dates

  • Week of February 17, 2020: Pre-Announcement
  • Week of March 9, 2020: Launch date
  • Friday May 15, 2020: Due date for Letter of Intent
  • Friday July 17, 2020, 6 pm EDT: Due date for Full Application
  • September 2020: Review Committee adjudication
  • October 2020: Award Notification
  • November 2020: Funding begins, pending agreements

COVID-19 Updates

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Azrieli Foundation has extended the deadlines for our RFA “RNA and the Brain” as follows:

Letter of Intent due date: May 15, 2020; 6:00pm EDT,

Full Proposal Due date: July 17, 2020; 6:00pm EDT

The Foundation remains fully committed to the project, and will remain flexible, taking into account rapidly changing priorities at Canadian universities, research institutes, and healthcare institutions. We will post information here as the situation progresses.

Updated: March 17, 2020

For more information about the Azrieli Science Grants Program RNA and the Brain please email us at: science.grants@azrielifoundation.org