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The William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship

The William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship was established by the estate of Dr. Van Wagenen, one of the founders and the first President of the Harvey Cushing Society, now the AANS.

Following his neurosurgical residency with Harvey Cushing, Dr. Van Wagenen traveled and studied in Europe, broadening his knowledge of neurological surgery and the related basic sciences. This was done at the recommendation of Dr. Cushing, much as Cushing had done, following the example of Sir William Osler.

In considering what permanent contribution he might make to neurosurgery, Dr. Van Wagenen chose to support foreign travel for scientific enrichment. The Van Wagenen Fellowship was designed to give freedom in scientific development without the restrictive limitations usually imposed by many research grants and fellowships.

William P. Van Wagenen fellows are provided with:

  • Up to $120,000 stipend for living and travel expenses to a foreign country for a period of 12 months;
  • A family travel and living allowance of $6,000 if spouse and/or children are accompanying the fellow;
  • $15,000 of research support for the university, hospital or laboratory sponsoring the fellow; and
  • If needed, $5,000 for medical insurance.

View 1980 Van Wagenen Fellow Dr. L. Dade Lunsford's 2018 Van Wagenen Lecture, "Jump Start Your Career in Neurosurgery" to learn more about the Fellowship.


The next application cycle for the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship will commence in August 2024 for the 2026-2027 academic year. The fellowship is open to all senior neurosurgical residents (PGY5, PGY6 & PGY7) in approved neurosurgery residency programs in North America and whose intent is to pursue an academic career in neurological surgery. The host institution must be outside of North America. When the application become available, you may apply below.

Application should 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.

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. Recommendations from the candidate’s previous sponsors and fellowship sponsors are important.

By January 30, 2025, the Chairman of the Van Wagenen Selection Committee will notify the winning applicant, who will be expected to begin their fellowship for the 2026-2027 academic year. A formal announcement of the award will be made at the 2025 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting.

For additional information, visit NREF Grants & Fellowships online or contact the NREF team at

“The Van Wagenen Fellowship has opened doors and provided great opportunities for many recipients. It has been a key factor in fostering a number of successful academic careers.”

Robert A. Ratcheson, MD FAANS(L), former president of the AANS and 1972 recipient of the Van Wagenen Fellowship

Since the original fellowship was awarded in 1968, more than 50 recipients have used the Van Wagenen Fellowship to advance their research and their careers abroad. Click below for a listing of past Van Wagenen Fellows, along with summaries of their fellowships and career accomplishments.

For questions about this AANS fellowship offered through the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF), please contact our office at 847.378.0500 orr

If you would like to make a donation to the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship Fund, please visit and select "Van Wagenen" from the Donation Option list.


Help further neurosurgical research and education with a donation to the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship Fund. Visit and select "Van Wagenen" from the list of donation options.

Grants and Fellowships