Psychosocial Research - PSR Pilot Grants

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $200,000

Next deadline: Mar 1, 2020 1:00pm PST (Letter of inquiry)

Later deadlines: Jul 1, 2020 2:00pm PDT (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Faculty Working Professional

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Canada, United States

Location of residency: Canada, United States

Degree requirements: Applicants must have a completed PhD

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About this funder:



About the Foundation

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation was established in 2002 as a private foundation dedicated to spinal cord injury (SCI) research and quality of life programs for people living with SCI. Mr. Neilsen lived with a high level spinal cord injury for 21 years until his passing in 2006. He was a visionary with an entrepreneurial spirit who led his companies with inexhaustible passion. Craig Neilsen wanted his foundation to contribute in a significant way to SCI research and to offer those with SCI the quality of life they deserve.


Craig H. Neilsen Foundation’s funding is dedicated to supporting both programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life for those affected by and living with spinal cord injury.


Individuals with spinal cord injuries, and those who care for them, live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities. 

Psychosocial Research (PSR) Portfolio

The Psychosocial Research (PSR) portfolio supports research that addresses the interrelation of behavior, social, psychological and other quality of life factors that will benefit people living with spinal cord injury. The goal of the portfolio is to develop sound data to inform and disseminate best practices that produce better outcomes, including quality of life, for people living with spinal cord injury and their loved ones.

Areas of interest include: aging, caregiving, employment, health behaviors and fitness, independent living, self-management and technology access.

There are three funding categories in the PSR Portfolio:

  1. Postdoctoral Fellowships
  2. Pilot Grants (more details below)
  3. PSR Studies and Demonstration Projects 

Pilot Grants

This funding category is intended to support Pilot studies that lay essential groundwork to inform future studies, allow the PI 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 “high risk” balanced by high potential impact. 

Criteria for Pilot grants include the scientific merit of the project, the innovative nature of the proposed psychosocial research and the likelihood that success will move the SCI field.

Funding for PSR Pilot grants is for up to two years, $200,000 total costs. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • 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 PI must work in a nonprofit institution (academic/research), or rehabilitation facility with a demonstrated capability to conduct grant-funded research located in the United States or Canada.
  • 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 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. 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”). 
  • The PI/Applicant named in a grant application must be deemed eligible by his/her institution/organization to apply for a grant, and is expected to be responsible for conduct of the research. 
  • A PI may only submit one application in a given portfolio cycle.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 


  • Neilsen Foundation grants are not awarded to individuals, private foundations or certain 509(a)(3), Type III supporting organizations. 
  • The Neilsen Foundation does not allow Co-Principal Investigators or Co-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). 
  • The Neilsen Foundation discourages Postdoctoral Fellows and their mentor(s) from submitting concurrent applications with overlapping Aims to multiple funding categories within this portfolio.