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New York Academy of Sciences Partners with Leon Levy Foundation to Expand Opportunities for Neuroscience Researchers

Published June 15, 2022


Leon Levy Foundation

New York City Researchers from Groups Historically Underrepresented in the Sciences Encouraged to Apply for Funding

New York, NY, June 15, 2022 — The New York Academy of Sciences and the Leon Levy Foundation announced today that they are partnering to expand the Foundation’s support for early-career neuroscientists. The Leon Levy Scholars in Neuroscience postdoctoral program will include more than a dozen New York City institutions.

The program supports exceptional young researchers across the five boroughs of New York City as they pursue innovative investigations in neuroscience and advance in their careers toward becoming independent principal investigators.

Up to ten scholars will be selected each year for three-year terms, from more than a dozen institutions — any university or medical center in New York City that offers postdoctoral positions in neuroscience. Applicants from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences will be especially encouraged to apply. The program is designed to broaden the field and to support researchers who might otherwise not have equal opportunity to secure postdoctoral funding.

“Neuroscience has been a field of remarkable progress, and the Leon Levy Foundation has long been a leader in supporting research in this field,” said Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. “But to continue to make great strides in neuroscience, we need to make sure the most gifted young researchers have every opportunity to advance in their careers. Working with the New York Academy of Sciences, we can support talented postdocs, and remove barriers to their success.”

“These Scholarships provide a unique level of autonomy and support for promising young scientists, to promote creativity and collaboration. And importantly, the program features self-nomination, which will help widen the talent pool,” said Nicholas Dirks, the Academy’s president and CEO. “The field has made great strides in drawing women into its graduate programs. But when it comes to professional advancement after the Ph.D., women experience barriers. In academia, only 32 percent of faculty positions in neuroscience are held by women, and the figure is much lower at the senior ranks. Working with the Leon Levy Foundation, we will use the Scholars Program to help young people from all backgrounds gain the skills and access to resources they need to succeed in competitive academic research. This will diversify the community of successful, professional scientists in this field.”

“There are often many stresses in a young scientist’s life, and we want to remove as many early-career barriers as we can,” White said. “So the scholarships provide generous stipends, and reimbursement for child or family care, as well as stipends for computer equipment and other benefits to help ease financial burdens. We know that the strongest possible science will result.”

The Scholars program features structured mentorship by distinguished senior scientists. Workshops will help Scholars with grant writing, and in developing leadership, communications, and management skills. The programs will encourage networking, data sharing, and team science. A conference will be held each year and a Leon Levy Scholars alumni group will encourage career-long networking.

“We will use our experience identifying and encouraging early career talent to reach out to outstanding candidates at a critically-important juncture in their careers,” Dirks said. “Our impartial and prestigious juries are well known for selection processes that are inclusive and free from bias or favoritism. So we expect to assemble outstanding groups of scholars.”

The Leon Levy Scholarships in Neuroscience program is the continuation of an earlier fellowship program started by the Foundation in 2009. To date, the Foundation has supported 155 fellows in neuroscience.

For more information about the Scholarship program, contact:

About the Leon Levy Foundation

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from Leon Levy’s estate by his wife and Founding Trustee, Shelby White. The Foundation continues Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy and builds on his vision, supporting the preservation, understanding and expansion of knowledge in the ancient world, Arts and Humanities, Nature and Gardens, Neuroscience, Human Rights, and Jewish Culture. To learn more, visit:

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science for the benefit of society. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy advances scientific and technical knowledge, addresses global challenges with science-based solutions, and sponsors a wide variety of educational initiatives at all levels for STEM and STEM-related fields. These include prestigious science awards programs. The Academy hosts programs and publishes content in the life and physical sciences, the social sciences, nutrition, artificial intelligence, computer science, and sustainability. The Academy also provides professional and educational resources for researchers across all phases of their careers. To learn more, visit or contact Roger Torda | | 914 262 9800.