Research Challenge

The Brainbox Initiative’s prestigious, international Research Challenge prize allows early-career researchers to gain invaluable research experience with state-of-the-art equipment and provide crucial support in kick-starting their careers in neuroscience.

Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge


The Prize

The Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge looks specifically for ambitious integrated brain stimulation and brain imaging studies from early-career researchers aspiring to build a name for themselves in neuroscience.

If you’re working with non-invasive brain stimulation imaging techniques such as fNIRS, TMS, tDCS, taCS, and EEG then we’d love to hear about the research you’re carrying out.

Fundamentals and Applications of TMS

The comprehensive Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge prize will enable an early career researcher to complete their proposed proof of principal or pilot study, boost and promote their CV and research profile, learn new research and non-invasive brain stimulation skills and forge new valuable networking connections.

The winner will be fully supported with:

  • A loan of specialist non-invasive brain stimulation equipment for up to 3 months, courtesy of Brainbox Ltd
  • Expert technical help and product support from Brainbox’s team of product and application specialists
  • Financial support from Brainbox 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’.

We will be posting regular updates of Mirja’s research as her project progresses. Read our initial interview with Mirja here.

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’.

Check back regularly for updates on Kathy’s research over the coming months. You can read our first interview with Kathy here.

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.

We will feature a series of blogs from Naheem over the course of the project.

You can view the initial interview with Naheem here.

Naheem Bashir, Research Challenge, Brainsight NIRS

June 2018 – Read Naheem’s latest post here.

May 2019  – Read our latest interview with Naheem here.

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.

Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) is a tool that is becoming increasingly used in the study of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Much of this work is based on what we know about the mechanisms of tES in neurotypical adults, but it is unclear whether tES acts in the same way in ASD. This project seeks to determine this by investigating the effects of tES on markers of brain excitability in individuals with ASD and neurotypical participants.

We will feature a series of blogs from Tegan over the course of the project.

You can read Tegan’s initial interview here.

April 2018 – Installation Successful – commence research! Latest update.

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 enter, participants need to summarise their own novel research proposal which must be:

  • one side of A4
  • multimodal research

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.

Our call for entries for the 2020 Research Challenge will open shortly. In the meantime, you can register your interest in applying using the form below and we’ll let you know once entries are open.