Research FAQ

What classifies as NeuroCAM?


NeuroCAM refers to complementary and alternative modalities using principles of neuroscience. By definition, NeuroCAM is most often a form of treatment for dysfunctions of the nervous system (includes neurological, psychiatric, and immune, metabolic, and oncological diseases affecting the nervous system).

There are three categories of NeuroCAM research which we consider funding – (1) Basic, (2) Translational, and (3) Clinical Trials. 

In order to be eligible for funding within any of those categories, the subject of your research should fall within one or more themes or modalities – Nutraceuticals, Mind & Body, and Personalized Medicine.

What is the difference between your research categories (Basic, Translational, and Clinical Trials)?



Explores a phenomenon and makes discoveries. Basic science is essential as it forms the foundation upon which translational research and clinical trials are built on. Basic science guides translational research by providing a better understanding of the phenomenon that is dysfunctional in various conditions. After all, how can one hope to fix a problem they don’t understand in the first place?


Takes what has been executed in the lab and makes it useful for people in everyday life. Within clinical contexts, translational research explores why and how interventions work. This knowledge is in turn used to establish whether or not an intervention should be tested in a clinical trial (it can include what is known as pre-clinical trials).

Clinical Trials

Formal tests to determine the efficacy of an intervention, usually involving collaboration between a research team and practicing clinicians. These studies are often the basis upon which physicians will make decisions about a patient’s treatments.

What makes an application successful?


The most competitive funding applications bridge between these categories, addressing both basic and translational elements of their intervention as well as evaluating its efficacy. While Branch Out values basic research, applications that clearly distinguish its translatable applications will be more competitive (even if those applications are not being directly explored). Simply saying it is exploring an aspect of the nervous system is NOT sufficient enough to be considered neuroCAM. Clinical trial research is important, but the most competitive applications within this type will explore mechanisms, diagnostic and treatment issues surrounding a proposed intervention. Branch Out seeks to fund the highest caliber research projects, and we believe that basic and translational research must work synergistically for practical innovation.

What types of research themes or modalities are eligible for funding?


We support research under three broad themes or modalities  – Neutraceutical, Mind and Body, and Personalized Medicine:


1) Nutraceutical

This modality investigates the effects of nutrition and naturally occurring substances on the nervous system. Certain foods have nutrients that might be harmful or beneficial in certain conditions and such interventions can easily be adopted by patients

2) Mind and Body

This modality explores the relationship between psychology (mental functions and behaviour) and physiology (the functions and activities of living things). By taking advantage of certain principles it is possible to holistically promote the body’s natural healing processes for a variety of dysfunctions.

3) Personalized Medicine

This modality explores why and how treatment effectiveness (either traditional or neuroCAM) varies between individuals. It can then help health practitioners make informed decisions for individual cases. This often involves the development of novel assessment techniques sensitive to small changes in specific aspects of a disorder.

Traditional Medicine vs. NeuroCAM: What's the difference?


We support scientifically valid research into all kinds of things, including research that proves or disproves the efficacy of either traditional medicines or neuroCAM. Just as many traditional medicine approaches have problems, many neuroCAM approaches are likely to have problems. Branch Out believes that through rigorous science we can inform practitioners of the best treatment options for an individual’s condition, regardless of whether it comes from traditional or alternative medical approaches.   We suggest you take a look at some of the past projects that have received funding to gain an impression of our funding agenda. The key words here are scientifically valid. We don't support fantastical and unfounded claims, whether from proponents of pharmaceutical or naturopathic options. 

We want to stress that we are not only funding things that fall under the categories of holistic medicine, traditional medicine, or naturopathy, but because of the lack of credible research into these topics we have a preference for them. At the end of the day the research needs to be validated in scientific forums, which will not make a distinction between alternative or traditional origin. We have supported research into a wide variety of care and treatment options for many neurological disorders. Seriously, we've funded research into everything from compounds in marijuana and broccoli to the use of music and rhythm in retraining the mind and body's motor control functions. Scientific innovation is not bound by ideological differences, and its only through ignoring those differences will innovation lead to better treatments for our loved ones.

How long is the application process? What's involved?


The application process is simple, but it varies slightly for each of the different grants. We suggest you start at the Grant Infomation page. There you will find the latest deadlines and criteria. 

Regardless of which grant you are applying for you will need to:

  1. submit an online application;
  2. upload a digital copy of your transcript (at the end of the online application process); and
  3. have two academic references fill in a reference survey by the deadline. You and your references share the exact same deadline, so make sure they submit on time. 

The application should take approximately an hour or two to complete, provided you have the requisite materials like transcripts and reference contact information readily available.

We highly recommend that you answer the questions in a word processor first, and copy and paste them into the online form. Our form hasn’t had any errors yet, but if your browser crashes or you hit the back button you may lose all or part of your application. 

For more info check out the printable Grant Application Primer document. It includes a full list of the questions you'll be asked in the online application process and is a great place to start if you wish to answer within a word processor like Microsoft Word first.