The end of neurological disorders begins with research

At the Neurological Foundation, we are totally committed to our role as the only dedicated funder of New Zealand-based clinical and biomedical neurological research. In alignment with our mission statement, the Foundation is focused on increasing the understanding of the nervous system and its disorders so treatments and cures may be found. We fund innovative high-quality research and many of New Zealand’s leading neurologists and neuroscientists have received educational scholarships or research funding from the Foundation. This has ensured that we remain at the leading edge of national and international research into the understanding, prevention and treatment of neurological disorders.

Research grant rounds

Dr Sarah Schonberger manages the Neurological Foundation research programmes. There are two research rounds each year which include a number of different types of award: post-graduate and post-doctoral scholarships, clinical fellowships, repatriation fellowships, and project and travel grants. Grants are awarded through a competitive peer-review process, and each project application is reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and five or more overseas experts. The SAC makes recommendations to the National Council which makes the final decision on the budget for each grant round. In the last ten years the number of grant applicants has more than doubled and the number of grants made has increased in parallel. This has been extremely positive for neurology and neuroscience in New Zealand, and reflects the expanding level of expertise in this country.

Although there is never enough funding, the Foundation endeavours to increase the budget to keep pace with the ever increasing needs of the neuroscience research community. The key is to fund the best research and scientists thus encouraging the top neuroscientists and clinicians to stay in New Zealand.

In a nutshell, the research projects funded fall into one of three categories:


Laboratory based projects, with little immediate benefit for those with neurological disorders, but with the potential for contributing to major advances in prevention or treatment in the future.


Projects in which the status and course of patients during an illness is studied and often the effect of treatment assessed - with the potential of improvement of treatment in the near future; within the next five years.

Translational (bench to bedside)

Projects designed to transfer advances made in the laboratory to the bedside of patients.