How We Fund Research

The projects we fund are all selected by a panel of independent experts through a rigorous, structured and deliberative review process. These experts have specific knowledge, skills and experience related to the focus of the grant or award.

Watch the video below to learn more about the grant award process and the role, structure and involvement of the Association Board of Trustees Research Committee from Kuldip Dave, Ph.D., senior vice president of research, and Joel Shamaskin, M.D., a retired doctor living with ALS and Research Committee member.

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    Request for Applications 

    We seek out and fund a diverse range of research projects by issuing requests for applications (RFAs) throughout the year. Each RFA outlines the scope of the opportunity and who is eligible to apply. RFAs also include application instructions, review criteria and deadlines. 

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    Letter of Intent 

    All applicants are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI), which generally includes a scientific rationale for the proposed project, its relevance to ALS, overall objectives and an experimental plan to meet those objectives. Letters of intent will be either accepted or declined. If the letter of intent is accepted, the applicant will be invited to submit a full proposal. Reviewer comments from the LOI phase are not provided to applicants.  

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    Full Proposal 

    When an applicant’s LOI is accepted, they receive instructions for submitting a full proposal. The full proposal provides more space to expand on the project introduced in the LOI. Elements of the full proposal are summarized in the RFA. Reviewers of full proposals do not have access to the LOI, so only information submitted as part of the full proposal will be reviewed. 

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    Scientific Review Committee 

    Full proposals are peer-reviewed, critiqued and scored by a Scientific Review Committee made up of independent external experts. The committee then provides recommendations to the Association as to which projects to fund. This rigorous review process enables us to select the best science to fund no matter where the idea comes from. Reviewer comments from the full proposal phase are provided to all applicants. 

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    Research Committee Approval 

    The Scientific Review Committee’s recommendations are presented to the Research Committee of the Association’s Board of Trustees, which provides final approval for funding and budget. The Research Committee is comprised of volunteers, including people living with ALS, current and former caregivers, scientists, clinicians and business professionals. 

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    Proposal Revision 

    For applications selected for funding, the Association recommends that the principal investigator integrate any recommendations suggested by the reviewers to the extent practical and within the scope of the budget to further optimize the project and outcomes.  

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    Pre-Award Process and Contracting 

    Approved applications undergo a final review to confirm the applicant’s eligibility; identify any scientific, budgetary and/or commitment overlap; and ensure compliance with the protection of animals and human subjects, among other considerations. Awardees will also receive a Research Grant Agreement. Our expectation is that the terms and conditions will be finalized, and the Agreement signed, within 60 days of the award offer. If not, we reserve the right to rescind the offer and redirect the funds to other projects.  

    Read Our Grants Policy Statement

    Thank You to Our Reviewers 

    We greatly appreciate the global network of experts that dedicate their time, knowledge and skill to reviewing grant applications and providing input on our funding programs. 

    ALS Association Reviewers (2023) 

    Bolu Ajiboye, Ph.D.
    Dexter Ang 
    Zachary Baker, Ph.D. 
    Nadine Bakkar, Ph.D. 
    Amanda Bettencourt, Ph.D., APRN 
    Chad Beyer, Ph.D., MBA 
    Adam Bristol, Ph.D. 
    Graham Dempsey, Ph.D. 
    David Dikter 
    Christopher Donnelly, Ph.D. 
    Fred Downs, MBA 
    Anthony Estrada, Ph.D. 
    Sara Feldman, PT, DPT 
    Matthew Fell, Ph.D. 
    Christina Nicole Fournier, M.D. 
    Stephanie Fradette, Pharm.D. 
    Blake Francis 
    Michelle Fredrick, PT 
    Fen-Biao Gao, Ph.D. 

    Andrew Geronimo, Ph.D. 
    Martin Gill, Ph.D. 
    Lisa Gold, Ph.D. 
    Namita Goyal, M.D. 
    Moon Han, Ph.D., MPH 
    Steve Han, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Matthew Harms, M.D. 
    Terry Heiman-Patterson, M.D. 
    Justin Ichida, Ph.D. 
    Hristelina Ilieva, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Whitney Irie, Ph.D., MSW 
    Christi Kolarcik, Ph.D. 
    Stephen Kolb, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Erin Kross, M.D. 
    John Landers, Ph.D. 
    Melanie Leitner, Ph.D. 
    Molly Levitt 
    Oren Levy, Ph.D., MBA 
    Sarah Luppino, Ph.D. 

    Machelle Manuel, Ph.D. 
    Terina Martinez, Ph.D. 
    Samantha Michalka, Ph.D. 
    Lauren Mifflin, Ph.D. 
    Bruce Morimoto, Ph.D. 
    Avindra Nath, M.D. 
    Kate Nilson 
    Sabrina Paganoni, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Hemali Phatnani, Ph.D. 
    Juliet Pierce 
    Laura Ranum, Ph.D. 
    Ian Reynolds, Ph.D. 
    Anne Sales, Ph.D., RN 
    Kristiana Salmon, MBA 
    Subhabrata Sanyal, Ph.D. 
    James Shorter, Ph.D. 
    Shauna Smith 
    Kim Staats, Ph.D. 
    Jamie Timmons, M.D.

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