Rennie Fund for the Study of Epilepsy

The current application cycle is closed.  Check back in January 2020.

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 UC Berkeley class of 1919. The bequest was initially made to the UC Regents to be used at their discretion for the study of epilepsy. In 1981, the fund was allocated to the Berkeley campus.

The Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate then funded two to three 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 Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI). In 2017 the Senate transferred the fund to HWNI.

HWNI requests proposals for the Rennie Fund on an annual basis. This fund provides one-year awards to support new research 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. The award is provided in a single installment and available for a period of a year. We anticipate making up to 3 awards per year.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals consist of a 1-page research description, a lay summary, title page, a 1-page budget justification, and CV(s) or biosketch(es) for PI(s).

At least one PI 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 postdoc/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 with proposal title, PI (and co-PIs, if relevant), and department affiliations
  • 1-paragraph lay summary of project
  • 1-page research 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. Send applications to Please direct questions to Proposals should not be routed through SPO. Please name the PDF as follows: lead PI “Last name_first name_RennieFund_4 digit year.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.

Selection Committee and Process

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

Reporting Requirements

At the completion of the project, a one-page progress report will be required.

Recent Past Recipients