Brain Star Awards

The application period is now CLOSED. Deadline on January 15. Please read full application instructions below before applying.

Institute Community Support (ICS) Program – Brain Star Award

Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA) 

The Canadian Association for neuroscience (CAN) and CIHR-INMHA have agreed that CAN will manage the application and selection process for the Brain Star Awards.

Important dates – 2023 Edition

January 15,  2024: Full applications must be submitted by this date.
April 15, 2024: Anticipated notification of decision & Funding start.

Funds available

CIHR’s contribution to the amount available for this initiative is subject to availability of funds voted annually to CIHR by parliamentary appropriations, and the conditions that may be attached to them.

Description and Conditions


Existing since March of 2001, Brain Star is a program of CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA). Brain Star is administered under the Institute Community Support Grants and Awards program and is designed to recognize the excellence of research done in Canada by students and trainees in all fields and disciplines covered by CIHR-INMHA.

The specific objectives of the Brain Star program are to:

  • Promote research careers in neuroscience, mental health and addiction in Canada.
  • Stimulate the involvement of students and trainees in the Institute and increase awareness of INMHA activities among students and trainees.


  • A maximum of fifteen awards of $1,500 each are available each calendar year.
  • Top-ranked winner of the Brain Star award will be named the Marlene Reimer Brain Star of the Year.
  • A profile of award recipient’s research on INMHA’s and CAN’s websites.
  • In the case of equal first co-authors, the prize will be divided equally.
  • Top three ranked award recipients may be invited to present a summary of their research paper at the Canadian neuroscience meeting. In the case of co-authors, the primary principal applicant will be invited to present.



Eligibility criteria for all CIHR research funding programs apply. The business office of the institution of an eligible Nominated Principal Applicant generally administers CIHR funds. Please refer to the Eligibility Requirements for CIHR Grants and Awards regarding the eligibility requirements for individuals and institutions.


Specific eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements specific to this opportunity include the following:

  • Relevance to the vision, mission and research areas covered by CIHR’s INMHA. Applications not related to the INMHA mandate will not be reviewed.
  • Must have a recently published research article as a first author between January 1 and December 31. Manuscripts in press or submitted for consideration are not acceptable. Articles must be published in final publication format between January 1 and December 31 of the Brain Star Award competition year.
  • Publication must report original research results (not a review article).
  • Must have been a student or trainee at any Canadian university, teaching hospital, research centre or other health organization (undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, post-doctoral fellow, resident) at the time that the work for the research article was completed. If the applicant is no longer a trainee at the time that the article is published, but work was completed as a trainee, the applicant is eligible to apply.
  • Canadians or foreigners doing research in Canada are eligible.
  • Canadians doing research abroad are not eligible. Applicants currently living abroad that completed the work for the research article in Canada are eligible, provided all other eligibility criteria are met.
  • There is no need to be a CIHR grantee.
  • Only one submission per applicant will be accepted.
  • In the case of a journal with online and print publication with different publication dates, note that a specific publication can only be submitted once to the Brain Star Award competition. (A paper published online in December and in print in January of the next year cannot be submitted to two consecutive Brain Star Award competitions)


Review process and evaluation criteria

The award is based on the excellence of the research and its potential benefits to the health of Canadians.

Individual submissions will be evaluated and ranked according to their individual and collective merit based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the publication: Journal impact rating and/or appropriateness for the research topic. Innovation and contribution to the field of research.
  • Impact of the publication: Potential impact of the research to the target audience and beyond the specific field of study (does the research have the potential to stimulate additional research to be translated into products, services, policies, educational material, practice documents).
  • Specific contribution of the student or trainee: the individual’s specific contribution to conception and design of the study, acquisition of data and analysis and interpretation.
  • Level of the student or trainee, stage of career: quality of the research based on the experience of the applicant.


Evaluation schedule

The evaluation committee meets annually and reviews all applications received up to and including the application date. The application deadline is as follows:

  • January 15


General CIHR guidelines

This Opportunity will follow the General Guidelines for Grant Programs. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate the use of Gender and Sex-Based Analysis in applications.


Conditions of funding

All conditions specified in CIHR General Grants and Awards Policies shall apply to applications funded through this Request for Applications. Conditions cover areas such as Applicant and Institutional Responsibilities, Ethics, Official language policy, Access to Information and Privacy Acts, and Acknowledgement of CIHR Support. Successful applicants will be informed of any special financial conditions prior to the release of funds or when they receive CIHR’s Authorization for Funding (AFF) document.

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) 

All personal information collected by CIHR about applicants is used to review applications, to recruit reviewers, to administer and monitor grants and awards, to compile statistics, and to promote and support health research in Canada. Consistent with these purposes, applicants should also expect that information collected by CIHR may be shared as described in the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations.

CIHR as a federal entity is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, therefore the requirements of these two statutes will apply to all information located in CIHR’s premises including, without limitation, cost-sharing agreements related to this Opportunity and all matters pertaining thereto.

While respecting the application of the Privacy Act to federal entities, all signing parties involved in a collaborative agreement will also be bound by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). All personal information (as identified by the PIPEDA) collected, used or disclosed in the course of any commercial activity under collaborative agreements related to the Opportunity will be collected, used and disclosed in compliance with the PIPEDA.

Monitoring, performance measurement and evaluation 

CIHR is committed to demonstrating results to Canadians for the money invested in health research. Therefore, processes for monitoring progress and appropriate use of funds, as well as for performance measurement and program evaluation are in place. As a result, funding recipients must:

  • contribute to the monitoring, review and evaluation of CIHR’s programs, policies and processes by participating in evaluation studies, surveys, workshops, audits and providing data or reports as required for the purpose of collecting information to assess progress and results.

How to apply

  • Obtain a CIHR Personal Identification Number (PIN) if you do not already have one by going to the following web address and following the instructions:
  • Click the button below to complete the application form and submit it
  • You will receive a confirmation of your submission by email.