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2024-25 William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship

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As a premier funder of neurosurgical studies, the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) focuses on providing fellowship funding in basic neuroscience and neurosurgical programs in North America.

The William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship was established by the estate of Dr. Van Wagenen, who was one of the founders and the first President of the Harvey Cushing Society, now the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).

In considering what contribution of a permanent nature he might make to neurosurgery, Dr. Van Wagenen chose to provide support to a post neurosurgical resident for foreign travel for scientific enrichment, prior to beginning an academic career in neurological surgery. The Van Wagenen Fellowship was designed to give freedom in scientific development without the restrictive limitations usually imposed by many research grants and fellowships.

The AANS offers the Van Wagenen Fellowship program to neurosurgical residents interested in studying scientific development abroad. The fellowship is open to all senior neurological residents (PGY5, PGY6 & PGY7) in approved neurosurgery residency programs and whose intent is to pursue an academic career in neurological surgery.


The fellowship is open to all senior neurosurgical residents (PGY5, PGY6 & PGY7) in approved neurosurgery residency programs whose intent is to pursue an academic career in neurological surgery.


United States citizenship is not a requirement. However, the country of study must be different than the country of residence.


The fellowship provides up to a $120,000 stipend for living and travel expenses to a foreign country for a period of twelve months; a $6,000 stipend for family travel and living allowance is available if the spouse and/or children are accompanying the fellow; and $5,000 is available for medical insurance if needed. One award per year is typically given.


The fellowship makes $15,000 of research support available to the university, hospital or laboratory, which has agreed to sponsor the Van Wagenen Fellow.


The fellowship begins July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025.


The fellow selected will be required to submit a mid-year report (January 2023) as well as a final report and accounting summary. The final report and accounting summary will be due within forty (40) days of the end of the grant period.


Applications will be available via the NREF Online Grant Portal using your AANS login, beginning August 1, 2022. If you have never logged in before, please register here. No paper submissions or PDF documents will be accepted.


  • The completed application must be submitted by 11:59pm (Central Time) on Saturday, October 1, 2022. The application must be submitted with letters of reference, including one from the applicant's Program Director. A letter from the proposed sponsor and documentation of intent to pursue an academic career, while not required, will strengthen the application.
  • Recommendations from the candidate’s previous sponsors and fellowship sponsors are important.
  • The Van Wagenen Selection Committee will consider the originality and quality of the applicant's proposal, the thoroughness with which the plan for a period abroad has been designed, personal attributes, and the quality of the research environment.


 All applicants will be notified via email when their application has been received. An administrative review of all applications will take place, and applicant will be contacted via email if there are questions regarding the status of their application.


Notification of award will be made by January 15, 2023. However, public announcement is contingent upon receipt of written confirmation from the awardee. The AANS reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to extend the date for it to provide notification.


  • The NREF encourages publication of research findings by fellows, but requires that the NREF is cited as a source of support on the first page of the text.
  • When a fellow presents a paper at a professional scientific meeting concerning research findings made during an NREF-funded fellowship, the NREF must be cited prior to beginning the presentation.
  • The NREF should be sent reprints of all papers and publications, including any electronic papers or publications, resulting from work done during the course of a fellowship, even those that appear after the fellowship has ended.
  • The citation should appear in the Acknowledgements section as follows: This work is supported by the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (2024-25 William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship).