Funded by the CReATe Consortium and American Brain Foundation
    In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology

    Application Deadline: October 1, 2020

    This award aims to support young investigators engaged in clinical research focused on ALS, ALS-FTD, PLS, PMA, and HSP. The award will consist of a commitment of $65,000 per year for two years, plus a $10,000 per year stipend to support education and research-related costs for a total of $150,000. Supplementation of the award with other grants is permissible, but to be eligible to apply for this award, the other grant source(s) cannot exceed $75,000 annually.


    Please only submit one application - applicants are not allowed to submit applications for more than one award. Your application may be considered for another category at the discretion of the review committee, however, the system will only allow one application per person.

    October 1, 2020: Application deadline – Note that this is the deadline for all documents, including those from the reference, mentor, and chair. Applications will be declined if this information is not submitted by October 1.
    January 2021: Notification of recipients
    July 1, 2021: Funding begins


    1. For the purpose of this scholarship, research is defined as “patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects, or translational research specifically designed to develop treatments or enhance diagnosis of neurologic disease. These areas of research include epidemiologic or behavioral studies, clinical trials, studies of disease mechanisms, the development of new technologies, and health services and outcomes research.” Disease-related studies not directly involving humans or human tissue are also encouraged if the primary goal is the development of therapies, diagnostic tests, or other tools to prevent or mitigate neurological diseases.
    2. Priority will be given to applicants who have completed a medical residency and preferably one year of a clinical fellowship (MD), or a post-doctoral fellowship (PhD) within the past three years; junior faculty within three years of their first faculty appointment are also encouraged to apply.
    3. Applications from groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences are encouraged.
    4. Permanent residency or US citizenship is not required.
    5. Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to seek co-mentorship from a member of the CReATe Consortium. Contact ProjectCReATe@miami.edu for more information.

    Applications are evaluated by reviewers based on the following criteria:

    1. Applicant’s ability and promise as a clinician-scientist based on prior record of achievement and career plan, letters of reference, and NIH Biosketch (30 percent)
    2. Quality and nature of the training to be provided and the institutional, departmental, and mentor-specific training environment (30 percent)
    3. Quality and originality of the research plan (40 percent)

    Contact Information:
    Michelle Maxwell, Program Manager, Science Committee Activities
    Phone: (612) 928-6001
    Email: mmaxwell@aan.com


  • CERF Medical Prize

    The Cullen Education and Research Fund

    CERF is a private family philanthropic project with two main areas of focus:

    1. To support and encourage research into:
    (a) a cure for Motor Neuron Disease / amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
    (b) technologies to improve the living conditions of those with the disease.

    2. To fund third level education in Ireland for outstanding students who are in need of financial assistance.

    CERF Award for MND/ALS

    The Fund has decided to promote research into aspects of muscle atrophy and loss of functionality associated with motor neuron disease / amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS) with a prestigious award and a prize of €1M.

    The €1 Million Cullen Education and Research Fund Prize aims to facilitate a more normal lifestyle for people with MND/ALS while - ideally - extending life expectancy.

    The judging panel will consider any solution that gives an ALS patient independence and allows them to breathe, walk, talk, lift a coffee, drive a car and otherwise operate independently. The CERF prize will catalyze development of new approaches to preserve or improve function by any means, including - but not limited to - biological, chemical, mechanical or electrical.

    Motor Neuron Disease, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a global disease in which an affected person loses muscle strength, which leads, in turn, to reduced function.

    What are we looking for?

    The key goal of the CERF Prize 1 initiative is to find a successful approach to improve usable muscle strength in MND/ALS patients. We want:

    • Approaches that stop muscle wasting indefinitely and restore usefulness.
    • Approaches that could also prolong life.
    • Approaches that are biologic, mechanical, electrical, etc. There are no limitations on eligible ideas.
    • We have a preference for approaches that are long lasting.

    NB: The ability of the entrants to achieve sustained improvement in strength, function or wasting will be assessed by a panel of people living with MND, caregivers and scientists.

    Competition Timeline

    September 30th 2020 – Application Deadline

    • Download the application form from the Applications page. Your application must include a brief outline of your proposal to solve this challenge, and emailed to applications@cerfprize.com .
    • Once you have submitted your initial application, you will be provided with a confidentiality agreement and once all parties have signed, we will request a more detailed project proposal.

    31st December 2020 - Full Submission Deadline

    • Entrants are asked to submit a detailed project entry by December 31st 2020.
    • The submission must consist of a written presentation and may, if desired, include a visual presentation also (ie. video, slideshow etc.).
    • Entrants are expected to have begun testing their solution, where possible, by this time.
    • The most promising entries will be invited to present their work to the judging panel in early 2021.

    Things to note:

    • While the prize will not be awarded before December 31st 2020, we reserve the right to award it at any time from that date should the panel feel that the challenge has been sufficiently met.
    • We reserve the right not to award the prize, should the panel feel that no project has sufficiently met the prize challenge.
    • Entrants are welcome to approach us to discuss their projects during the development stage - ie. after initial submission and before the Full Submission Deadline. Smaller laboratories and individual entrants may apply for support from CERF in order to develop their projects.

    For more information, please visit the CERF Medical Prize website.

  • MDA Request for Applications: Drug Development in Neuromuscular Disease

    MDA Venture Philanthropy

    MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP) is the Muscular Dystrophy Association's drug development program, which operates within MDA's Translational Research program. MVP is exclusively focused on funding the discovery and clinical application of treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases.

    Adapting elements of the venture capital model, the MVP business plan is characterized by an emphasis on measurable results along with deep involvement by its scientific and industry advisers. MVP evaluates and makes targeted investments in for-profit and not-for-profit companies and academics developing therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases.

    Building upon MDA's long-term investment in research and health care, MVP is designed to complement MDA's ongoing programs of health care, lifesaving services, advocacy, basic and clinical research, and professional and public health information. MVP also benefits from MDA's other research programs that support basic research, clinical trials and research infrastructure.

    Business Plan

    A strategy for lowering barriers to therapeutic development: MVP leverages MDA's years of expertise in research into nerve and muscle biology to create a unique environment to foster translation of research into therapies. Dedicated staff scientists track research developments from MDA's basic research program and from the scientific community as a whole and match the most promising ideas with drug development companies capable of developing such therapies. Where companies have promising therapeutics, MVP helps match the company with disease experts to expedite and streamline development. Where academic projects need more data before they will be attractive to a corporate partner, MVP helps match the researcher with experts in drug development. As a "partner" and not just a funder, MVP will help to cultivate follow-on investors, while its access to patients, experts and research infrastructure can offset some costs of drug development.  

    Bridging the high-risk stages of therapy development: MVP makes targeted investments in projects for which the therapeutic of interest is unlikely to advance via traditional funding avenues due to the perceived risk of a small market, lack of a clear regulatory path or new technology. MVP funds are leveraged to aid getting projects through the critical stages of development to ensure that successful therapies attract funding from other sources and get to market. Co-investors and follow-on funders with complementary skills are cultivated actively in the form of venture capital groups, other nonprofits, and larger biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Exit points for MVP funding may include the situations in which 1) a therapeutic progresses to phase III or is approved; or 2) significant funding from follow-on investor(s) is received. Return on investment strategies for MVP may include revenue sharing from licensing agreements or commercialization of the therapeutic, or less commonly, sales of preferred stock.

    MVP uses elements of the venture capital model: MVP uses an iterative evaluation process that reviews the science, management, financials, legal issues and intellectual property of the company or project. MVP holds monthly teleconferences open to its advisers at which decisions to advance projects to the next stage of evaluation are made. In addition to the diverse qualifications of MVP's program staff, advisory committees and ad hoc scientific experts, MVP may utilize well-established outside contractors for formal financial and legal diligence. MVP manages its grants as if they were investments such that funding commitments are structured as milestone-driven contracts.

    A unique blend of staff, contractors and volunteers: MVP has access to a unique set of expertise that it uses to select projects to invest in and to manage those projects. The scientific advisers consist of experts in neuromuscular disease research, neuromuscular medicine, biotechnology venture capital investment and drug development. MVP staff scientists work with these volunteers to select projects with the best possible chance of success, and to act as advisers as those projects move forward. MVP uses its business advisers and outside contractors for legal and financial diligence and for contract negotiation, ensuring that MVP invests only in projects likely to have the greatest possible impact. The business advisers are volunteers with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, biotechnology investing, investment banking and corporate development.

    For information, visit the MDA website: https://www.mda.org/research/mda-venture-philanthropy