Rennie Fund for the Study of Epilepsy – Applications for 2017 are closed

The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) calls for proposals to the Rennie Fund. This fund provides 1-year awards to support new research and knowledge development on epilepsy. Proposals can be directly related to epilepsy, or to closely related areas in neuroscience. The funding amount is in the range of $20-50K, for 1 year of support, for a single research group or a team.

History of Program and Donor

The Rennie Fund was created in 1962 as the result of a bequest from the Mary Elizabeth Rennie Trust. Although she wasn’t an alumna, Ms. Rennie’s brother, William Rennie, Jr., had been a member of the Berkeley class of 1919. The bequest was initially made to the Regents to be used at their discretion for the study of epilepsy; in 1981, the fund was allocated to the UC Berkeley campus.

Since then, the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate has funded 2-3 grants per year to faculty doing research on epilepsy, as part of the Senate’s faculty grants program. Many of those faculty are now affiliated with the HWNI. Now the Senate has transferred the fund to HWNI.

Award Amount

Awards will be $20-50k per funded proposal. The award will be provided in a single installment on August 1, 2017, available for a period of one year. We anticipate making up to 3 awards per year.

Proposal Requirements

At least one participant should be a UC Berkeley ladder-rank faculty member whose area of research includes epilepsy or an epilepsy related area.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should describe how the support will enable new knowledge development and/or target major gaps in our current knowledge of epilepsy. Eligible activities for the Rennie Fund include, but are not limited to: research and development, conferences, and post-doc/graduate student support. Faculty salaries should be no more than 10% of total expenditures.

Application should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file that includes:

  • Title page listing PI (and co-PIs, if relevant) and department affiliations
  • 1-paragraph lay summary of project
  • 1-page project description
  • 1-page budget and justification
  • CVs or biosketch(es) for PI (and co-PIs)

The lay summary should be accessible to non-scientists and speak to the goals as well as the potential societal impact of the project. Please name the PDF as follows: lead PI “Last name_first name_RennieFund_2017.pdf”. Include a running header on the top right hand corner of the PDF with the lead PI’s last name, first name, proposal title and year.

Send applications to by July 14, 2017 at 5pm. Proposals should not be routed through SPO. Please direct questions to

Timeline and Process

  • June 6, 2017– Program Announcement
  • July 14, 2017 – Applications due by 5pm
  • August 15, 2017- Selection notifications to applicants
  • September 1, 2017 – Project start date
  • August 31, 2018 – Progress report to selection committee

Selection Committee/Process

The selection committee will be composed of the director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) and a panel of faculty selected from the HWNI Executive Committee.

The selection committee members are asked to rate the proposals based on a rubric created by the selection committee. The committee members meet in-person to discuss the applications and make a final recommendation to the director of the HWNI for ultimate determination.

Reporting Requirements

At the completion of the project in (August 2018), a one page progress report will be required.


Image by Der Lange