Funding Opportunities | HABRI

Funding Opportunities

Grants & Funding

Addressing Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interaction

The vision of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is for the human-animal bond to be universally embraced as an essential element of human wellness. To that end, HABRI works to establish the vital role of companion animals in the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

HABRI is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. Proposals should have a strong theoretical framework and focus on innovative approaches to studying the health effects of companion animals on humans within the following broad categories:

  • Child Health and Development
  • Healthy Aging
  • Mental & Physical Health and Wellness

In an effort to help address larger societal challenges, proposals that have potential to impact current public health crises or issues at the forefront of public concern are welcomed. Topics include (but are not limited to) social isolation and loneliness, suicide prevention, addiction, trauma and/or post-traumatic stress, obesity, and heart health. Proposals that address the role of companion animals in the lives of people during the COVID-19 pandemic are also of interest.

Proposals will be evaluated by an independent review board comprised of experts in the field. Evaluation will be based on study design, capabilities of investigators, adequacy of facilities, cost-effective yet realistic budget, potential for impact on the way mental and physical health conditions are diagnosed, treated or otherwise understood, and for potential impact and contribution to the scientific field of human-animal interaction. Adherence to the highest standards of human and animal care and welfare is essential. All funded studies must undergo IRB and/or IACUC review and approval.

While HABRI is interested in studies that focus on the impacts of interactions with dogs, in the interest of further contributing to the scientific field of human-animal interaction, HABRI welcomes studies that focus on interactions with other pet species, which may include (but are not limited to) cats and small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and fish) and horses. No invasive procedures will be funded.

Additional Funding Through Pet Partners

Pet Partners, the leading therapy animal organization in the United States, has partnered with HABRI for the third year in a row with the mission of improving human health and well-being through the power of the human-animal bond. This partnership allows for additional funding for research to investigate the health, education, and wellness outcomes of animal-assisted interventions (AAI), both for the people and animals involved. Proposals focusing within these broad categories are specifically encouraged:

  • Standards of practice in AAI
  • Therapy animal welfare
  • Investigations involving diverse therapy animal species
  • Studies involving virtual adaptation of AAI and other Animal Related Engagement initiatives
  • Professionals incorporating therapy animals in AAT

To be eligible for this additional funding, investigators are encouraged to incorporate Pet Partners registered volunteer therapy animal teams into their proposed research. Pet Partners registered volunteer teams must meet high standards which support patient and public safety; outstanding animal welfare; and greater consistency for research purposes.

All of the guidelines, requirements, and deadlines associated with HABRI’s 2021 RFP apply to this additional funding opportunity. Please indicate if you are applying for this supplemental funding by following the instructions laid out in the Proposal Guidelines.

For more information about securing the participation of Pet Partners registered volunteer therapy animal teams for proposed research, please contact Dr. Taylor Chastain at

Prior to submitting a proposal, please review the following documents:

If you would like to review a sample application of a funded study, which was graciously allowed to be shared by the investigators, please see here. This sample application only includes sections I-XI as identified by the Proposal Guidelines. For further guidance on completing sections XII-XVI, please refer to the Proposal Guidelines and see below for inquiries about the application process.

To apply for a HABRI grant:

HABRI’s 2021 funding opportunity to address evidence-based health benefits of human-animal interaction is now closed.

HABRI has awarded an average of five grants per year with an average award amount of $45,000 and an average study period of twenty months. Funding decisions will be made in July or August of 2021, with grant awards starting as early as September 1, 2021. For more information about HABRI, including currently funded research projects, please visit

Please direct all inquiries about the application or award process to Matt Cryer at