Call for Research Proposals
Investigator-Initiated Multi-year and Starter Grant Programs (2019)

The ALS Association Research INVESTIGATOR-INITIATED RESEARCH Awards support INNOVATIVE research of high scientific merit and relevance to ALS.

The ALS Association Global Research Program leads the scientific community in finding effective treatments and a cure for ALS, and a better life for people with ALS and their caregivers and families. The Association is the largest private funder of ALS research worldwide, and our efforts have led to some of the most promising and significant advances in ALS research.

The ALS Association, as a funder in a disease without a cure, believes that the more researchers collaborate and share information, the faster they will arrive at effective treatments and a cure. With this in mind, the Association encourages open access publications, pre-registered protocols, and open data sharing whenever possible. The Association also values collaboration whenever possible to encourage partnerships to prevent duplication and promote innovation. Both open sharing and collaboration will be positively evaluated in submitted applications.

Topics of interest
In this call, we look to fund the most promising research projects worldwide that can improve our understanding of ALS and/or lead to ways to cure ALS, reduce symptoms, or prevent their expression. We will accept applications from all scientific disciplines. We are especially interested in:

  • Biomarkers studies to discover and validate ALS biomarkers that can facilitate clinical trials, demonstrate biological effect of promising therapeutics, and speed diagnosis.
  • Clinical trial methodology, including ways to increase trial participation, reduce burden and risk for participation, and increase speed and effectiveness.
  • Studies of or methods for drug target identification including animal models, cell models, methods for high throughput screening, etc.
  • Studies that could ultimately stop ALS progression before impairment, including methods for detection and identification of potential therapeutic options.
  • Studies that could ultimately reduce the risk of developing ALS for people with genetic risk factors, including studies of epigenetics, gene-environment interactions, and associated methodologies.
  • Research infrastructure, such as repositories and consortia, provided that the application addresses existing resources, and how this project complements them.
  • Any other proposal with the chance of significantly improving our understanding of ALS or improving the lives of those impacted.

Topics Not Solicited at This Time
Please do not submit the follow research topics under this RFA. These topics will be requested in subsequent RFAs this year.

  • Drug development: Preclinical assessment of therapeutics for ALS pre-IND with a likely chance of reaching the clinic within 3 years.
  • Clinical Trials: Applications for Phase I trials, small scale Phase II trials and Phase IV trials will be requested later this year. Because of their high cost, the Association has no plans to directly support Phase III trials.
  • Studies to help people live with ALS, including:
    • Assistive technology: The development of new technology can improve the quality of life for people with ALS and their families to live a more meaningful and productive life.
    • Caregiver and family burden: Studies to document and relieve the impacts of ALS on caregivers and families of people with ALS.

The ALS Association is Offering Investigator-Initiated Awards in the Following Categories

  • Multi-year Program Awards
    The ALS Association will support research that is projected for periods of up to three years. Funding for multi-year grants is committed for one year only, with non-competitive renewals conditioned upon results. These applications require strong preliminary data. Awards will be in the amount of up to $100,000 (US) per year including 10% indirect costs.

    The scientific community is invited to submit letters of intent (LOI) for review. LOIs will be screened by Association staff and at least one external expert. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full 12-page application.

    Multi-year Program Award Schedule:

    LOI Due: March 8, 2019
    LOI Review Decision: April 2019
    Application Due: May 20, 2019
    Application Review Decision: July 2019
    Funding Commences: September 2019

    Multi-year Program Award Application Links:

    Step 1: Register using this link:

    Step 2: Login using this link:

    Step 3: Apply using this link:


  • Starter Program Awards
    One-year awards for independent investigators entering the field of ALS or senior fellows about to set up independently. Applicants can include pilot studies by experienced investigators of any field or discipline. Starter applications from senior post-doctoral fellows with sufficient scientific independence to direct research supported by a grant are invited. Applications from junior postdoctoral fellows for multi-year or starter awards are not invited.

    These applications do not require strong preliminary data but must emphasize innovation, scientific merit, feasibility and relevance to ALS. The maximum amount awarded is $50,000 (US) including 10% indirect costs.

    Applicants will submit a six-page application that will be screened for applicability by staff, and if eligible, reviewed by external experts. Letters of intent are not required and are not accepted for the Starter Grant Program.

    Starter Program Award Schedule:

    Application Due: March 13, 2019
    Application Review Decision: July 2019
    Grant Agreement Sent: by August 2019
    Funding Commences: as early as September 2019

    Starter Program Award Application Links:

    Step 1: Register using this link:

    Step 2: Login using this link:

    Step 3: Apply using this link:

Policies, Procedures
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