Now accepting applications for the
2022 CNC Pilot Award Program!


The mission of the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center (CNC) is to accelerate discovery by promoting excellence in fundamental, translational, and clinical neuroscience research, as well as education and clinical care, through integration of the UAB-wide neuroscience community. Toward that goal, the CNC invites single investigator and collaborative proposals for fundamental, translational, or clinical research in the Neurosciences.

Application Information

The goal of the CNC Pilot Award Program is to support current UAB scientists in obtaining extramural funding for neuroscience research projects. Pilot award applications will be considered in two categories:
Independent (Single-PI) pilot awards are intended to facilitate development of new research directions by a single laboratory. Eligible applicants will hold a full-time UAB faculty appointment at any rank (non-tenure earning or tenure earning track). Early career investigators are especially encouraged to apply.
Collaborative (Multi-PI) pilot awards are intended to support new or ongoing interdisciplinary collaborations with the goal of obtaining future multi-PI extramural funding. Each project proposal must have a minimum of two sponsoring faculty principal investigators. Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate close relevance to the CNC mission and the likelihood of future MPI R-level, U-level, or P-level (or similar) funding from NIH, DOD, or NSF within 1-2 years.

Proposals should consist of a single PDF document containing a 2-page description of the proposed research (including timeline of milestones and future grant submission), 1-page reference list, 1-page budget, and NIH-style biosketches from all project PIs. CNC Pilot Awards may be used for direct project costs or as salary supplement for key staff/trainees. The CNC intends to fund 2 awards in 2022.

Earliest submission date: July 7, 2022
Application due date: August 25, 2022
Award Start Date: September 12, 2022
Award Level: Up to $25,000 (Single PI) or $50,000 (Multi-PI) for a 1 year support period

Submit applications to Red Assist by August 25th. Questions? Email

2021 Pilot Awardees

Zachary Irwin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Heersink School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, is the 2021 Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Early Stage Investigator Pilot Award recipient. He will receive $25,000 per year for up to two years upon completing renewal.

irwinDr. Irwin’s application, Sensory filtering in the human basal ganglia as a mechanism of Parkinson’s disease, supports his research into investigation of cognitive aspects of Parkinson’s disease and novel stimulation patterns to address these issues.

The 2020 CNC Early Stage Investigator awardees, Andrew Hardaway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, and Ashley Harms, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, will receive 2nd year funding of $25,000 each.

2020 Pilot Awardees

Andrew Hardaway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, and Ashley Harms, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, are the recipients of the 2020 Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Early Stage Investigator Pilot Awards. 

hardawayDr. Hardaway’s application, Central Amygdala Dopamine in Cue-Reward Learning, supports his research on dopamine as a critical neurotransmitter for the regulation of conserved behaviors like reward, learning, movement, cognition, and arousal. The dysregulation of dopamine signaling is a pathological hallmark in diseases like addiction, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease.

harmsDr. Harms’ application, Attenuating α-synuclein-induced inflammation by VLA-4 antibody blockage, builds on her research toward understanding the immunological mechanisms underlying the initiation and progression of synucleinopathy disorders including Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).