After more than 15 years in academia, I recently crossed over to industry and joined Inscopix. Our company has the singular vision to accelerate fundamental discoveries in brain function with the hope that one day, our neuroscience community will find cures to some of the most devastating brain diseases. We don’t make drugs. We make a tiny microscope that allows scientists to watch and record hundreds of brain cells firing in response to a rodent’s behavior or actions in real time. How cool is that?! The old adage that “seeing is believing” has never been more true. When I first joined the company, I was so impressed with the level of expert scientific support the Inscopix team put forth in training and educating academics like me. I watched the system in action and then put it to use with my own hands. I was sold. I was excited to hear my neuroscience colleagues discuss how our platform was going to transform their research and provide them with new insights into the neural mechanisms underlying eating disorders, anxiety, addiction, and sleep and circadian dysfunction. I was also reminded of just how hard it is to burn that candle at both ends - constantly writing for grant funding to do the research that you’re really passionate about, as well as finding the time to do the lab work, analyze the data and publish the results to be competitive at the next NIH review study section. The never-ending hamster wheel, once you’re on...you’ve got to keep running to survive in academia.
I knew intuitively that my new role at Inscopix could prove to be an incredible opportunity to add value to my colleagues beyond providing scientific content to the neuroscience community. One of our mantras has been to communicate to everyone that we are #TeamScience. To me, that meant we needed to reach out to all neuroscientists and let them know that we were here to support their research interests at every step along the way. A critical component of a successful research program is to obtain grant funding. As we all know, getting a grant funded is more challenging than ever before. With the new administration, we now face potentially significant NIH budget cuts (see Nature News article) . Whether you’re a young investigator or a mid-career PI (see PLOS ONE paper), the uncertainties in obtaining or renewing funding only add to the stress as you do your best to write a compelling and innovative proposal. You know your proposal deserves to be one of the lucky few to be funded. To help you get there, the Inscopix grant assistance program was born. We launched the grant assistance program in January with the goal of communicating to all neuroscientists that we want to help you achieve success in obtaining funding for your neural circuit research. We’ve communicated several announcements over the past few months via email and various social media platforms. We’ve written to you about new funding opportunities that are available through The Brain Initiative, the Human Frontier Science Program, and NIMH in an effort to let you know that we encourage and support your neuroscience interests.
How do we support you through our program, you ask?
- Talk to us about your new research ideas and passions. We have a wealth of neuroscience and engineering expertise around the table. We can knowledgeably discuss with you what’s feasible and what’s possible to achieve using our nVista and nVoke technology.
- Do you need protocols, technical resources, or help with experimental design and strategies to make that next discovery? We welcome the opportunity to talk with you and share our thoughts about using our technology to further your research goals.
- Do you need a quotation and budget breakdown of what it’s going to cost you to achieve your research goals using Inscopix tech? Done. We aim for flexibility in working with you to ensure you can obtain our products.
- Would a letter of support from us help you to make your case to the reviewers of your proposal in your study section? Once we understand what you want to do, and how you want to do it, we get excited about your research aims too. We’re happy to provide a letter of support to show that we’re fully vested in you.
Frankly, the positive responses to our program have been astonishing. It has been such a pleasure to talk with all of my neuroscience colleagues about their research and find a way to help them as they’ve worked furiously on their latest proposals. Learning about their life’s work has given me a profound sense of hope for our future; those neuroscience breakthroughs are within reach. Give me a call or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you on your next round of grant applications.