Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation Spotlight


The Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization created in 1980 by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) to support research and education efforts that enhance and confirm the critical role neurosurgeons play in improving lives.

Since its creation, the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation has invested nearly $30 million in the future of neurosurgery. They have funded 88 resident/fellow education courses, 129 clinical fellowship grants, and over 250 medical student summer research fellowships. The NREF has also administered 6 joint cerebrovascular section traveling fellowships and over 250 young clinician investigator awards. They support programs that extend opportunities for neurosurgeons to collaborate and make progress in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.


The Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) remains firm in its mission to provide a private, non-governmental source of funding for research training in the neurosciences. The generous support of the NREF by individuals, groups, practices and corporate supporters enables the Foundation to fulfill its commitment to support young scientists and their work as well as proactively address the ever-expanding need for research grant support in the most cost efficient and effective manner possible.


257 Research Fellowship Grants & Young Clinician Investigator Awards

6 Joint Cerebrovascular Section Traveling Fellowships

88 Resident/Fellow Education Courses

129 Clinical Fellowship Grants

256 Medical Student Summer Research Fellowships


  • Provide a private, non-governmental source of funding for research training in the neurosciences related to the field of neurological surgery.
  • Ensure the continued viability and expansion of the field of neurological surgery based on fundamental research in the basic sciences and clinical enterprises pertinent to neurosurgery.
  • Augment support for research endeavors by the neurosurgical community.
  • Stimulate learning by neurosurgeons and enhance educational opportunities for them throughout their careers.


The NREF is dedicated to providing education to neurosurgeons at all stages of their careers, as well as funding research into new and existing neurosurgical treatments, in order to identify links between best practices and improved outcomes in patient care. Through voluntary public donations, corporate support, and donations from allied groups, the NREF supports endeavors that impact the lives of those suffering from epilepsy, stroke, brain tumors, spinal disorders, sports-related head injuries, lower back pain and Parkinson’s disease.

Research Fellowship Grant (One year, up to $50,000)

Open to residents only, the NREF Research Fellowship Grant provides funding for neurosurgeons preparing for academic careers as clinician investigators. Applicants must be physicians who are currently accepted into an approved residency training program in neurological surgery within North America. One hundred percent of the resident’s research effort during the funding period of this grant should be devoted to the project.

Young Clinician Investigator Award (One year, up to $50,000)

The NREF Young Clinician Investigator Award supports junior faculty pursuing careers as clinical investigators. Applicants must be neurosurgeons, no more than two years from completing neurosurgical residency training or clinical fellowship, who are full-time faculty in North American teaching institutions. Fifty percent of the young clinician investigator’s efforts during the funding period of this grant should be devoted to research, but exceptions can be considered.


The NREF provides fellowship funding for basic and clinical neuroscience for neurosurgical programs in North America.

Clinical Fellowship Grants– As the philanthropic arm of the AANS, the NREF is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to neurosurgeons at all stages of their careers, to stimulate learning and enhance their careers.

Resident Education Courses– In cooperation with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the NREF offers free courses to provide advanced resident and fellow educational training in topic areas not always covered within neurosurgical residency.

Social Media Lab- The mission of the Social Media Lab is to promote social media engagement and education among neurosurgeons—particularly those individuals who aspire to develop their online brand and are eager to build social media accounts and gain the necessary platform expertise.

Since its inception, the NREF has invested nearly $30 million in the future of neurosurgery. Donations to the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation help fund cutting-edge research and develop the next generation of neurosurgeons to provide the highest quality of patient care. Consider making a donation to show your commitment to neurosurgical research and the next generation of neurosurgeons.

Abbey DeRossi

Abbey DeRossi

Sports Philanthropy Network

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