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Requirements and Rules for 2020 Call for Research Proposals

The Director of the Chen Institute seeks collaborative proposals to develop computational and experimental approaches to correlate naturalistic behavior with population neural activity in freely moving animals.  This includes methods for signal extraction, dimensionality reduction as well as joint analysis of behavioral and neural activity data through latent variables. We invite proposals involving collaborations between groups with expertise in engineering or applied math/physics, with groups with expertise in behavior and population activity measurements.

Two awards of $50,000 each.

Purpose: The Chen Institute offers seed funding to allow Caltech faculty to develop new directions of neuroscience research, leveraging the Institute’s interdisciplinary and collaborative environment.
Proposals must explicitly address the following requirements. Failure to fulfill the requirements will result in an administrative rejection.

General Proposal Requirements - All Centers

The proposal should be 1 – 2 pages (excluding figures and references), 12-point font and MUST address the following questions:

1)      What do you propose to do?

2)      How is it innovative and different from “business-as-usual” science in your lab?

3)      How does it engage other members from the Caltech community?

4)      What is a successful outcome, and what would it allow you to do that is currently not possible?

5)      To your knowledge, is anything similar being done by colleagues at other universities?

The following items should be included with your proposal submission:

1.      Proposal: addressing the questions, and using font size, shown above (2-page limit)

2.      Simple budget (no page limit):

  • Outline how you propose to use the funds, each with a short (1-2 sentence) justification.
  • Budget may include:
    - personnel (graduate RA, postdoc, SURF or other undergraduate)

    equipment, equipment usage (e.g. fMRI hourly fees)
    - reasonable consumable supplies

    travel for dissemination of research findings
  • Budget may NOT include:
    - faculty salary

3.      Document listing other support: title of grant, amount of money, and brief one sentence description, (no page limit).

4.      Division Approval Form (DAF):

  • Please note that if you are submitting a proposal with collaboration between labs in different divisions then the DAF must be signed by all Division Chairs.


  • Applications are open to Caltech research faculty, tenured faculty and tenure-track faculty.

  • No faculty member may participate in more than one application, or receive funding for more than one project in a given grant cycle.

  • Collaborative proposals should be with other Caltech laboratories.

  •  Individual researchers will not receive Chen Institute funding for more than two consecutive years (e.g., a researcher who is supported for years 1 and 2 should not apply in year 3, but can apply again in year 4).

Proposal Deadline: Monday, October 14, 2019 at 5pm

Proposal Submission

  • Upload your proposal, budget, list of support, and DAF as a combined pdf file to our submission portal by clicking the submit button below. You can access the submission portal by using your Caltech email and password.
Proposal Terms
  • Grants are for 1-year (with six-month extensions permitted upon request, with justification). A progress report is required after one year.
  • Any research involving human subjects, including human data, or animal vertebrate, including animal data, will require approval from IRB or IACUC before research can be funded.
  •  There is an IP obligation associated with these grants. For more details about this obligation, please contact Case Cortese in the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships.

Download details of these awards below.