The Out to Innovate Career Development Fellowship, formerly known as the Ben Barres Fellowship, is a $2000-$5000 award for professional development of trans, intersex, and non-binary graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This non-renewing fellowship is a merit-based award, and the support provided is intended, broadly construed, for the recipient’s professional development. Examples of eligible purposes include research support; conference/workshop attendance, or research travel; equipment/supplies; research assistant or translation services; and/or other professional uses. The fund is not intended to support personal expenses unrelated to research, such as food or rent, or for salary. There is no age or citizenship restriction on eligibility for this fellowship, however, funds must be disbursed only to persons or institutions with US bank accounts or PayPal accounts. To be eligible for this fellowship, you must identify as Trans, Non-Binary, or Intersex, and you must be a current graduate student or post-doc in a STEM field as defined here

To apply for this fellowship, applicants will provide a brief description of their current research and research/career goals with a 2-3 paragraph funding proposal, a personal statement, their CV, and answers to demographics questions. Each application must have one letter of support, which may be written by any of the following: PI, Mentor, Advisor, or Colleague. The letter of support will be submitted by the recommender (not the applicant). Applications will be evaluated on clarity of written proposal, impact of proposed funding on applicant's career, contributions to STEM and LGBTQ+ communities, and strength of support letter. If awarded funds, the recipient will upload a brief report and expense receipts within 6 months of receiving the award. Recipients of the fellowship will retain the option of remaining anonymous in public announcements of the award. Alternatively, they may choose to be publicly acknowledged in Out to Innovate publicity campaigns. Awards will range from $2000 to $5000 per recipient.

2021 Fellowship recipients

2022 Fellowship recipients

2023 Fellowship recipients


The application window for the 2024 fellowships closed on Dec 31, 2023. If our benefactor renews for another funding cycle for 2025, there will be a link here to the application portal.

This career development fellowship was initially named after Ben Barres, a prominent passionate transgender Stanford scientist who researched the role of microglia, an immune cell of the brain, and its interaction with neurons in development and disease. Barres was an ardent campaigner for equal opportunity in science, speaking his truth in media before telling his story through a posthumous memoir released after Barres’ death from cancer in 2017 at the age of 63. The fellowship name was changed in 2021 to avoid confusion among applicants for similarly named but unrelated fellowships.