ALS Association Offers Exploratory Grant Opportunities

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by Mary Chapman |

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The ALS Association is calling for applications for a new Seed Grant Program designed to support exploratory amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.

The one-year grants of up to $50,000 each will fund investigations that could have a significant impact on the progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Specifically, funded projects must already be gathering preliminary data that could be used to justify larger grants later, as the research advances.

“It’s often difficult for researchers to quickly pivot and explore new ideas or bring ideas from one field to bear in another,” Paul Larkin, PhD, the ALS Association director of research, said in a press release. “We aim to use these grants to fill that funding gap and produce data for early go/no-go decisions on new and potentially high-impact research directions in ALS.”

The organization is encouraging established researchers, as well as early-career investigators and those outside the ALS field, to apply. U.S. and non-U.S. public and and private nonprofit entities also are welcome to apply, as are all biotechnology companies or other for-profit entities.

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Letters of intent are due by May 17. The deadline for the full application, accepted by invitation only, is July 19. The award decision announcement is expected by September, with October being the earliest expected grant start date.

In addition to ALS projects, the organization is interested in research that explores the continuum of disease spanning ALS and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), the most common cause of dementia for people younger than 50.

The nonprofit organization is particularly interested in projects that focus on identifying treatment targets, biomarkers, disease prevention, clinical tools and techniques, the affect of ALS on caregivers and families, and assistive technology. It also is interested in approaches that use big data as well as any proposal that could markedly improve patients’ lives.

Overall, the organization is seeking research that could transform the ALS experience by optimizing existing care and treatments, finding new treatments and cures, and/or preventing ALS.

The grant program will not fund clinical trials, pre-clinical treatment development efforts, early treatment-discovery studies, or research infrastructure.

While the maximum total budget accepted is $50,000, which includes both direct and indirect costs, indirect costs are capped at 10% of total direct costs. All funds must be expended within the approved period.

The number of awards will be determined by the organization’s budget allocation and the number of worthy applications.

For more information, send an email to [email protected]