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How to apply

Application details for the OpenScope program – a platform for high-throughput and reproducible neurophysiology.

Once a year, OpenScope accepts experimental proposals from external scientists following a Request for Proposals (RFP, OpenScope_RFP_2023-2024). Those experimental proposals are reviewed by a panel of leading experts from the international community for their feasibility and scientific merit. The Allen Institute then carries out the selected in vivo experiments in mice brains following verified, reproducible, and open protocols for in vivo single- and multi-area two photon calcium imaging and Neuropixels electrophysiology. We first make the data available to these scientists during a one year period. Eventually all datasets are released to the entire community on DANDI Archive, as NWB files.

Application and selection process:

OpenScope selection process

In 2023, we had two complementary tracks for OpenScope, a double-blinded track and a community track. Both tracks fall under our Request for Proposal document: OpenScope_RFP_2023-2024

  • Double blinded track: This track is exactly similar to our previous rounds and follow a two-stage selection process. Short letters of intent are first selected for a full application submission. The review is done using double-blinding in order to remove any selection bias.

    Applications for this track started in July 2023.

  • Community track: This track was new to 2023. We intended to select a proposal in the open among a set of shared ideas on a community forum. Given the preferred interest in the double-blinded track in 2023, we will revise our plans for 2024, perhaps iterating on this entirely open approach. We are still committed to explore this space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Our calls are opened to all scientists, world-wide.

We performed all experiments and share the data with the team for free. In addition, each selected team is reimbursed a trip to Seattle for one person to visit our data collection pipeline. Still, a selected project is a serious commitment from the application team and you are expected to have the resources to execute your analysis plan. These datasets are very rich and could take several years to be fully analyzed, depending on your project.

Please consult our updated request for Proposal documents:  OpenScope_RFP_2023-2024. 
Please reach out to us via if you have any questions.

We strongly believe in OpenScience and in enabling our broader community to access the latest neuronal recordings technologies. Our vision is that brain observatories will eventually transform our approach to system neuroscience, by providing unparalleled brain-wide neuronal recordings and datasets in many behavioral tasks. We are dedicated to bring this vision to reality.

Yes, you can find a full proposal template here. We also have a template for Letter of Intent (LOI) here.  Note that these templates are provided to facilitate drafting your proposals and can be modified. Please follow NIH guidelines for grants application regarding font size and header sizes.

2 pages for Letters of Intents and 6 pages for full proposals. This does not include your bibliography but includes figures.

We can’t share such documents at this point. We treat all of our proposals as confidential documents, including those of selected teams. They contain specific hypothesis that each team wants to test as part of a long term research agenda.

Not at this point. This is due to fundamental incompatibilities with our surgical implants for each pipeline.

Research is about exploring the frontiers. While we recommend using the simplest experimental design that addresses your question, we can’t possibly anticipate all ways you can leverage our platform. We highly encourage all interested teams to reach out with questions on potential modifications via

We are committed to release all datasets one year after data collection ends. Our intent is to allow the selected team to put their analysis plan into motion. Note that we share all our data as pre-package NWB files on DANDI archive, including prior to release. Datasets are stored on the repository during this embargoed period behind a private token. This process allows the application team to develop their analysis directly from the final data format. We believe this eventually will strengthen the impact of any publication, as the broader community will be able to reproduce the application team analysis. This is also an opportunity for any team to eventually develop broader collaborations with the community.

Yes. This decision is entirely up to the external application team. We are fine with releasing datasets as early as it passes our internal quality checks.

Our authorship guidelines guarantees the choice of first and last authors to all external teams. When an OpenScope project reaches publication, we make an internal call for opt-In authorship at the Allen Institute. This allows all potential authors to evaluate their contribution to each piece of work. All opt-in requests are forwarded to the external team which eventually decides on inclusion in agreement with the OpenScope project team.

We are available to assist with drafting your project. We recognize that brain observatories are new and currently unconventional. Drafting a project for OpenScope is initially a collaborative process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out via In addition, we routinely organize online brain-storming sessions to facilitate proposal redaction. 

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This video highlights changes introduced in the 2023 Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for OpenScope.

Science Programs at Allen Institute