The William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship

Headshot of William P. Van Wagenen, MD

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:

  1. Up to $120,000 stipend for living and travel expenses to a foreign country for a period of 12 months;
  2. A family travel and living allowance of $6,000 if spouse and/or children are accompanying the fellow;
  3. $15,000 of research support for the university, hospital or laboratory sponsoring the fellow; and
  4. 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.

How to Apply

The next application cycle for the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship will commence in September 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.

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

Robert A. Ratcheson

Application Instructions


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

Past Van Wagenen Fellows

Since 1968, more than 50 fellows have pursued research and academic interests in neurosurgery abroad through the Van Wagenen Fellowship. See below for a listing of fellowship awardees for each year and location of their sponsoring institution.

YearFellowSponsor Institution(s)Country
2024Brandon P. Lucke-Wold, MDFujita Health UniversityJapan
2022Bhuvic Patel, MDDeutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ)/ Universitätsklinikum HeidelbergGermany
2020Ezequiel D. Goldschmidt, MD, PhDKarolinska InstituetSweden
2018Kai Joshua Miller, MDUniversity Medical Center, UtrechtThe Netherlands
2017Darrin J. Lee, MD, PhDUniversity of TorontoCanada
2016S. Kathleen Bandt, MDAix-Marseille UniversiteFrance
2015Lisa Anne Feldman, MDUniversity of AucklandNew Zealand
2014Ausaf A. Bari, MDUniversity of TorontoCanada
2013David Ryan Ormond, MDRheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität BonnGermany
2012Matthew Christopher Tate, MD, PhDHopital Guide Cliauliac; Hopital Saint EloiFrance
2011Nicholas F. Marko, MDUniversity of Cambridge, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)United Kingdom
2011Ben Waldau, MD, FAANSUniversity of Dresden (Center for Regenerative Therapies)Germany
2010Andrew W. Grande, MDHelmholtz Zentrum MunchenGermany
2009Michael C. Park, MD, PhDAssistance Publique L’ Hospital d’ Adulte de la TimoneFrance
2008Samuel H. Cheshier, MD, PhD, FAANSLund UniversitySweden
2007James C. Miller, MD, FAANSUniversity of TubingenGermany
2006Yu-Hung Kuo, MD, PhD, FAANSFliders Medical CentreAustralia
2006Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD, FAANSUniversity of GoettingenGermany
2005Devin K. Binder, MD PhD FAANSUniversity of Bonn Medical CenterGermany
2004Stephen M. Russell, MD, FAANSLudwig Maximilians, University of MunichGermany
2003Odette Althea Harris, MD, MPH, FAANSUniversity Hospital of the West IndiesJamaica
2002Saadi Ghatan, MDInstitute of Child/Health/Great Ormond Street HospitalEngland
2001Shekar N. Kurpad, MD, PhD, FAANSKarolinska InstituteSweden
2000P. Charles Garell, MD, FAANSCentre Hospitalier UniversitaireFrance
1999Theodore H. Schwartz, MD, FAANSTobias Bonheoffer Max-Planck Institute for NeurobiologyGermany
1998Kamal Thapar, MD, FAANSUniversity of Erlagen-NurnbergGermany
1997Zelma HT Kiss, MD PhDCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de GrenobleFrance
1996Howard L. Weiner, MD, FAANSInstitut d’Embryologie Cellulaire et MoleculaireFrance
1995Timothy C. Ryken, MD, FAANSCambridge Centre for Brain RepairUnited Kingdom
1994Ivar M. Mendez, MD, PhD, FAANSUniversity of LundSweden
1993Mark E. Linskey, MD, FAANSLudwig Institute for Cancer ResearchEngland
1992Mary Louise Hlavin, MD, FAANSCambridge UniversityEngland
1991Ian F. Pollack, MD, FAANSCentre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois/University of UppsalaSwitzerland/Sweden
1990Walter A. Hall, MD, FAANSNorwegian Radium Hospital/Frenchay HospitalNorway/England
1989David W. Newell, MD, FAANSInselpitalSwitzerland
1988Mark W. Jones, MD, FAANSQueens SquareEngland
1987Emily D. Friedman, MD, FAANSSandoz Institute/Hospital Salpetriere/Laboratory of Professor BjorklundEngland/France/Sweden
1986Edward George Hames III, MD, PhD, FAANSKings CollegeEngland
1985Marc R. Mayberg, MD, FAANSQueens SquareEngland
1984Edmund Frank, MDUniversitaire VaudisSwitzerland
1983Lawrence F. Borges, MD, FAANSMerck, Sharpe & Dohme Research LaboratoriesEngland
1982Larry Van Carson, MD, MBA, FAANSHospital FochFrance
1981Stephen J. Haines, MD, FAANSRadcliffe InfirmaryEngland
1980L. Dade Lunsford, MD, FAANSKarolinska SjukhusetSweden
1979George W. Tyson, MD, MBA, FAANS(L)Institute of Neurological SciencesScotland
1978Jay D. Law, MDCentro Ramon y CajalSpain
1977William F. Chandler, MD, FAANS(L)Karolinska InstituteSweden
1976Patrick J. Kelly, MD, FAANS(L)Saint Ann and Foch Hospitals/Western General HospitalFrance/Scotland
1975Lawrence H. Pitts, MD, FAANS(L)Institute of Neurological SciencesScotland
1974W. Michael Vise, MDMax Planck InstituteGermany
1973Joan L. Venes, MDWellcome Research InstituteScotland
1972Robert A. Ratcheson, MD FAANS(L)Brain Research LaboratorySweden
1971Ira C. Denton Jr., MD, FAANS(L)Kantonsspital ZurichSwitzerland
1970M. Peter Heilbrun, MDBispejerg & Rigs HospitalsDenmark
1969John M. Tew Jr., MD, FAANS(L)Kanatonsspital ZurichSweden
1968Richard M. Bergland, MDOxford UniversityUnited Kingdom