Research Challenge

The Brainbox Initiative’s annual Research Challenge provides a fantastic opportunity for the most promising early and mid-career neuroscience researchers with the very best ideas to gain invaluable research experience with state-of-the-art equipment and expert support and guidance to help kick-start a successful career in neuroscience.

Call for entries is now closed, and we will announce our 2020 winner soon.

Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge


The Prize

The Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge was established in 2016 to help early-career neuroscientists with ambitious proposals for integrated non-invasive brain stimulation and brain imaging studies to gain the equipment and support that they require to carry out these projects.

If you’re working with non-invasive brain stimulation or imaging methods such as TMS, tES, tFUS, fNIRS, and EEG then we’d love to hear more about the research you’d like to carry out.

Fundamentals and Applications of TMS

The comprehensive Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge prize will provide one lucky early or mid-career researcher with everything they need to complete their proposed proof of principle or pilot study, enabling them to boost and promote their CV and research profile, develop new research and non-invasive brain stimulation skills, and forge valuable new networking connections.

In full, the winner will be supported with:

  • A loan of specialist non-invasive brain stimulation and/or imaging equipment, courtesy of Brainbox Ltd, for a period of up to 3 months;
  • Expert technical help and product support from the Brainbox team of product and application specialists;
  • Financial support from Brainbox Ltd to help run the study;
  • A presentation slot at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021 to share updates on their work;
  • Plus many other opportunities to promote and raise visibility of their research profile.
“The Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge prize has helped me enormously so far. It has been a driving force behind getting my new lab up and running and has helped me to prioritise my research whilst starting out as a new lecturer.Setting up my lab has presented some technical challenges along the road, and having the product support and technical assistance from Brainbox has proven extremely useful”

Research Challenge Winners

Mirja Steinbrenner

Mirja Steinbrenner

Mirja Steinbrenner, MD, is a Clinical Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Her award winning research uses transcrancial electrical stimulation (tES) techniques to explore the ‘Reduction of cerebral excitation through combination of GSR biofeedback and tDCS’.

Read our initial interview with Mirja here. Mirja will be joining us at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2020 to talk about the progress that she has made with her research project.

Kathy Ruddy

Kathy Ruddy

Kathy Ruddy is a postdoctoral research fellow at Trinity College Dublin.

Kathy’s winning research challenge submission using transcranical magnetic stimulation (TMS) techniques, and her winning research title is ‘Late-cortical disinhibition as a mechanism to upregulate excitability of the corticospinal pathway after stroke’.

You can read our first interview with Kathy here. Kathy will be joining us at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2020 to discuss the progress of her research.

2017 Challenge Winners

Naheem Bashir, Research Challenge, UCL, BrainBox Initiative

Naheem Bashir

Naheem is a PhD student of the University College London under the supervision of Professor Peter Howell.

Brainbox Ltd will be supporting his award winning study, ‘using fNIRS and EEG to explore the neural basis of stuttering’ which will assist in his completion of his PhD in 2018. Naheem is currently using fNIRS to examine the variability of stuttering when speaking to another person and also uses tDCS to enhance existing speech therapy methods for people who stutter.

You can read our initial interview with Naheem here.

June 2018Research Challenge Progress Update

May 2019 Progress in 2019

Tegan Penton, King's College, Research Challenge, BrainBox Initiative

Tegan Penton

Tegan is a PhD student at King’s College, London. Her award winning study is ‘Investigating the Effects of tDCS in Autism Spectrum Disorder’; a multimodal study involving an EMG and fNIRS.

You can read Tegan’s initial interview here.

April 2018 – A short update following the installation of the equipment that Tegan will be using in her study.

July 2018 – Latest news from Tegan:

Since last checking in, we have completed data collection for part 1 of the study.

Overall, the TMS and tDCS protocol were well-tolerated by all of our participants. We are in the process of analysing the data. This means that we will hopefully have some findings to share with you and our participants very soon. We will now be focusing our efforts on finalising the design of part 2 of the study, which will be informed by the findings from part 1. We hope that this will allow us to replicate any effects observed in part 1 whilst also allowing us to investigate neural correlates of tDCS by using fNIRS.

How to apply

To submit an entry for the Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge, interested researchers must send us a novel research proposal no longer than one side of A4 paper describing their proposed multimodal research project. Please contact if you have any questions regarding your application or the submission criteria.

A panel of key opinion leaders within the field from a range of Universities will judge the entries and the winner will be announced at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2020.

The call for entries for the 2020 Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge is now closed, and we will announce our winner shortly.