In this call for applications, we seek to support high-risk, high reward research projects and innovative research ideas that have the potential to advance knowledge in neural development and neurodevelopmental disorders. This grant will provide seed funding for proposals that test new hypotheses, explore new approaches to intractable problems or challenge prevailing paradigms. We are looking for distinctive and novel approaches, including development of techniques or technologies that could enable new discoveries. 


Individual or team projects will be funded up to $50,000 CAD per year for up to two years. We expect to fund the top five applications, as determined by an external peer-review process. 

Topic Eligibility 

  • Research questions and hypotheses must pertain to neural development. 
  • Projects will be curiosity- and discovery-driven, where direct and indirect impacts to neurodevelopment and neurodevelopmental disorders can be envisioned and articulated. 
  • Any model system or combination of model systems, technologies and tools are permitted. 
  • Collaboration across disciplines is encouraged. 

Review Criteria 

Applications will be evaluated by external peer reviewers according to: 

  • Significance and impact of the research to neurodevelopmental disorders 
  • Quality, novelty and innovation of the proposal 
  • Scientific and technical feasibility of the proposal 
  • Suitability of the applicants and research environment to the research question 

Applicant Eligibility 

Applications may be submitted by individual researchers or teams; collaborative proposals are strongly encouraged. The Nominated Principal Applicant and Co-applicants who intend to share funding must be independent researchers at accredited Canadian Universities or Research Institutes with Registered Charitable Organization designation. 

New Ideas to Advance Knowledge in Neurodevelopment Awardees

Principal investigator: Marie-Claire Arrieta

Co-PI: Gerald Giesbrecht

Grant title: Influence of early life microbiome maturation on head circumference growth and neurodevelopment in premature children.

Description: This project seeks to determine if the microbiome immaturity in preterm infants contributes to head circumference growth and neurodevelopmental delay.

Principal investigator: Deborah Dewey

Co-investigator: Nicole Letourneau

Grant title: The consequences of exposure to plastic particles on children’s neurodevelopment

Description: The project will increase our understanding of the consequences of prenatal and early childhood exposure to plastic particles (microplastics, nanoplastics) on child neurodevelopment.

Principal investigator: Catherine Lebel

Co-PIs: Kathleen Chaput, Carly McMorris

Grant title: Does cannabis increase the risk of neurodevelopmental delay via altered brain connectivity?

Description: This project will generate new knowledge on how prenatal cannabis exposure may put children at risk of neurodevelopmental conditions, via alterations to brain connectivity.

Principal investigator: Elyanne M. Ratcliffe

Co-PI: Sandeep Raha

Grant title: Impact of maternal cannabis use in utero on the neurodevelopment of the gut-brain axis

Description: The project will determine if exposure to cannabis in utero results in structural and functional changes in the neurodevelopment of the gut-brain axis.

Principal investigator: Guang Yang

Co-PI: Billie (Ping-Yee) Au

Grant title: Understanding the role of USP15 in neuronal subtype development

Description: This project aims to address how neurons develop into specific subtypes in the mammalian brain and leverage this knowledge to understand the biological basis of a rare neurodevelopmental disorder.

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