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Application FAQ

Are you interested in applying for a PDF grant, but have some questions about the process? We encourage you to learn more by browsing answers to the questions most frequently asked by our prospective grantees. 

Please also download our application instructions here. To apply, visit


Public Access Policy

Q. Does PDF have a public access policy?
A. It is a condition of PDF funding that all peer-reviewed articles supported in whole or in part by its grants must be made available in the PubMed Central online archive, so that research results become accessible, prominent, and integrated within the context of other research findings, making it easier for scientists worldwide to pursue Parkinson’s disease research. Equally important are the continued benefits that families, clinicians, people with Parkinson's, educators, funders, and students can reap from information arising from PDF funding by accessing publications on PubMed Central at no charge. This policy applies to all grants awarded after January 31, 2014. View our full policy here.

Q. My research is currently funded by PDF. Where can I learn more about compliance with this public access policy?
A. Awardees receiving a grant after January 31, 2014, need to submit their peer-reviewed articles to PubMed Central. Details on how to do so can be found in the Public Access Policy FAQ and our Public Access Awardee Compliance Guide.


Q. Does the International Research Grant Program (IRGP) fund both international and US applicants?
A. Yes, the IRGP is open to applicants that reside either within the US or internationally, regardless of citizenship.

Q. Are students on J-1/F-1B (Students Visas) eligible to apply for grants?
A. Yes, all international students meeting the eligibility requirements may apply.  All inquiries regarding visas should be directed to your research institution.

Q. I am a Ph.D. with an overseas lab. May I apply for a grant even if most of work will be conducted outside the US?
A. Yes, international applicants are encouraged to apply.  Moreover, there is no requirement for research to be conducted within the US.

Q. Does the PDF have a policy about funding multiple Fellowship applicants from the same lab?
A.  There is no specific policy; however, due to the competitive nature of the awards, it is unlikely that two individuals from the same lab will be funded.

Q. I’m a student/resident who will be receiving my Ph.D./finishing my neurology residency in June.  So, I will not have completed my training at the time of my application for the PDF Postdoctoral Fellowships.  Am I still eligible to apply?
A. For Fellowships, individuals who will have finished their training (Ph.D. degree or residency) by July 1 may apply.

Q. I am interested in applying for one of the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists.  I have been working as a post-doc since receiving my Ph.D. two years ago.  Am I eligible to apply?
A. Yes, you are eligible.  Generally, PDF is looking to support postdoctoral researchers who are within five years of receiving their Ph.D.

Q: How far out can an applicant be from his or her Ph.D. or neurology residency and still be eligible for a Fellowship?
A:  There is a time limit of five years from completion of a Ph.D. for the PDF Postdoctoral Fellowship for Basic Scientists and a limit of five years from completion of residency for the PDF Postdoctoral Fellowship for Neurologists.

Q. Do you accept international students for the Summer Student Fellowship program?
A. Yes. There is no citizenship requirement for the PDF Summer Fellowship.

Q. I am interested in taking a year off between my undergraduate studies and medical school to work in research.  Is at all possible to apply the summer fellowship funding to research that will be performed in the fall of 2010?
A. No.  Only students currently enrolled full-time in an academic instituion are eligible for PDF Summer Fellowships.

Q. I am interested in applying for one of the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists.  I have been on maternity leave during my post-doc period and therefore more than 5 years have passed since I received my Ph.D. Am I still eligible to apply?
A. In general no. PDF has a policy of supporting postdoctoral researchers who are within five years of receiving their Ph.D. However, if you have exceeded this time period, e.g., due to maternity leave, an exception may be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact PDF Grants ( before applying. If an exception is permitted, please make sure that you clearly state the reason for exceeding the five year time line in your application.


Application Process

Q. Can I submit my application/proposal via email?
A. Except for the PDF Student Summer Fellowship Letters of Support, proposals are not accepted by email. All grants must be submitted through the PDF website at Only proposals submitted online will be reviewed.

Q. How does my mentor submit their Letter of Support for my Summer Student Fellowship?
A. Letters of support may be emailed by mentors to PDF at with “SUMMER FELLOWSHIP” in the subject line. Alternatively, mentors may send their letters by regular mail to: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation; Summer Fellowship Letter of Support; Attn: Dr. Beth Vernaleo, Grants Manager; 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018. All letters must be received by the application deadline.

Q. How does PDF select its grant recipients?
A. PDF’s International Grants and Fellowship Proposals are reviewed by PDF’s Research Grants Committee, a group of leading Parkinson's basic, clinical and translational scientists, headed by Robert Burke, M.D.  Committee members initially review all proposals to remove noncompetitive applications.  The remaining proposals are reviewed and adjudicated using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) rating scale.  Finalists are chosen by the Committee from the highest score downward until the funding cap is met for the fiscal year.   If the awards are not accepted for any reason, the next applicant in line (again, based on the scores assigned by the scientists during the review process) is notified.  This process continues until all the grant monies are awarded and accepted for the fiscal year.

Q. How many proposals will each applicant/PI be allowed to submit for the Research Grants and Fellowships Programs?
A. You may only submit one proposal at a time for review.

Q.  Do applicants need to propose two-year studies for the IRGP or are projects funded based upon competitive renewal?
A. For IRGP grants, the award period is two years, subject to review of first year's progress.  While renewal is not competitive, investigators must demonstrate sufficient progress to warrant continued support from PDF.

Q. Will applicants receive critiques or feedback for their proposals?
A. While everyone will be notified of their funding decision, unfortunately, PDF cannot provide detailed feedback for an applicant’s proposal.

Q. What does “Budget and Justification” mean for IRGP grants?
A. The budget is the amount of money requested to complete your research project. Salaries, cost for animals, equipment, related travel, or anything else to be paid out of the PDF grant should be listed in detail; this is the justification.

Q. Are salaries permitted in the grants budget?
A. Yes, salaries for the investigator and/or assistants are permitted in the budget for IRGP proposals.  When listing salaries, percent effort must also be included in the budget justification.  It is expected that the Fellowship award will cover salaries in their entirety.

Q. What is not included under the budget?
A. Overhead expenses are now covered at 10 percent of the IRGP award. Overhead includes items such as rental of office or lab space, electricity or janitorial expenses.  Overhead is automatically calculated and need not be listed as part of the budget.

Q. Can the budget be presented in a table format, rather than in prose?
A. There is no requirement for the budget format; however, please keep in mind that it needs to be easily read and understood by the reviewers.

Q. Can portions of the project (e.g., antibodies, animals, etc.) be funded from other sources?
A. Yes, however, concurrent funding from any other source must be noted as a subscript of the budget and disclosed when completing the application proposal.

Q. I have two mentors for my Postdoctoral Fellowship, but there is only room on the online application to list one.  What do I do?
A. Simply provide the information on the online form about a primary mentor and then include information about both mentors in the NIH bio sketch component of the proposal package. When asked to upload letters of support, please include letters from both mentors combined into one .pdf document for upload.

Q. Does an applicant need to submit his/her mentor’s CV or references?
A. Yes, as part of the application process, the applicant is required to include a NIH formatted biographical sketch of their mentor/sponsors. Briefly: 1) List name, title, and education/training; 2) List positions and honors; 3) List relevant peer-reviewed publications; 4) List research support (current, pending, and completed). For an example also see the NIH website. Except for the section describing research funding, the biographical sketch is limited to two pages per investigator.

Q. For candidates applying for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Basic Science, what should be included in the letters of support from their mentors?  
A. The letters of support for postdoctoral candidates would be similar to those one would provide for a NIH NRSA application: qualifications, potential and research environment are all important aspects of such a letter. 

Q.  I just received my Ph.D. and am new to the field of Parkinson’s.  Is that a problem for my fellowship application?
A. Since candidates are expected to have only recently received a Ph.D., it is understood that some applicants will be new the field.  Consequently, a well-conceived proposal will be important in these cases.

Q. How much detail is needed in the Fellowship application regarding the facilities and research environment available to that applicant? 
A. The letter of support should provide assurance that the fellow will have access to material needed to conduct their research. If specific equipment or reagents (e.g., mouse lines or MRI) are required, the letter of support should reflect that those items are available either in the lab or as part of collaboration.

Q. What does IRB or IACUC stand for?
A. IRB stands for the Institutional Review Board. Under FDA regulations, an IRB is a committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates and others that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects.  The IRB ensures that the research is ethical, and that the rights of participants are protected. IACUC is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which oversees the specific use of animals in research by formally reviewing protocols and insuring that animals are cared for and used in a humane manner.  The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals is an excellent resource for investigations involving animals.  Note: All research involving the use of humans or animals must have approval of the appropriate institutional committee.

Q. I am an International applicant and do not have an IRB/IACUC number, but we have a Research and Ethics committee.  Is the approval of the committee, which is equivalent to the IRB number, sufficient or do you need other information?
A.  As noted above, all research involving the use of humans or animals must have approval of the appropriate institutional committee.  If your institution does not provide a IRB/IACUC number, please include a copy of your institution’s approval certification, e.g., a copy of the approval letter. 

Q. Are preliminary data welcome and if so, which is the most appropriate section of the application section in which to present it?
A. As with any grant, preliminary data are not only welcome but only adds to the strength of a proposal.  Please include it in the details of the proposed experiments.

Q. Is there a limit to the number of citations that should be included in my application?  Should I include only the maximum number that can fit on one page (if necessary)?
A. There is no limit to number of citations other than they must fit within the one-page limit (set within the specified 0.5” margin and 10 point font size).  Please order citations alphabetically by author.

Q.  I just submitted my application for the Fellowship Training Program, and realize that I uploaded neither my mentor's, nor my own biographical sketch.  Is there anything that I can do to provide that information to PDF? 
A.  Once your application has been submitted it cannot be edited.  If you made an error or desire to withdraw your application, please email PDF at  Your application can be removed from consideration or you may then submit a replacement if desired. 


Funding/Grant Cycle Specifics

Q. How long is the funding period for research grants?
A. The IRGP awards are two-year grants, with the second year subject to assessment of the first year’s progress.  Fellowship awards are one-year grants. Fellowships may be competitively renewed by submitting a new application. For more information, see the specific program grant descriptions and guidelines found on this website. The normal award cycle is July 1 through the following June 30 of any given fiscal year.

Q. When applying to the IRGP, does the second year budget justification need to be included or will the first year budget justification suffice?
A. Budgets for both years must be included. We will have more available in the future.

Q. Since the IRGP grants support two-year projects, is it still possible to apply for one-year, $75,000 grants.
A. The Parkinson's Disease Foundation's emphasis has indeed shifted to longer term funding.  Nevertheless, a compelling proposal requesting one year of funding would not be ignored.  Your application should make clear your funding request, e.g. in the budget, etc.

Q. How are indirect costs calculated for investigator initiated awards?
A. Except for the fellowship awards and other specific programs, indirect costs are provided as 10 percent of direct costs. For example, if the maximum direct costs are $75,000 per year, the maximum indirect costs are $7,500 per year for a combined total (direct plus indirect costs) of $82,500.

Q. I am assisting an investigator who is applying for a PDF grant.  On Step Two Administrative Information, the form asks for an Authorized Recipient Information and Authorized Administrative Official.  Who would be considered the authorized recipient/official?
A. The authorized recipient and administrative official are the individuals in your institution’s grants office who handle the disbursement of grant funds awarded to your institution.  These would generally be the same people identified on the face page of an NIH grant. Note, PDF also notifies each investigators as quarterly award payments are made.

Q. I would like to apply for one of the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists.  My prospective mentor; however, is affiliated with another University.  Can I apply for a PDF Fellowship under a mentor with whom I would like to work in future, while keeping my present affiliation with a different University?
A. You may maintain your affiliation with your current University during your application process.  However, you will need a letter of support from your prospective mentor.   If an award is made, it will be disbursed to your mentor's University.  Therefore, you will need to supply the grants administrator contact information for the mentor’s University on the application.

Q. For the Fellowship program, what is the expectation of time commitment (or effort)?
A. It is expected that Fellows are working full-time toward their research project.  A total of ten percent (10 percent) of their time may be spent in other areas, e.g. classes, teaching, or patient care.

Q. Do you have a list available of previously supported projects?
A. Yes, we currently have summaries for this year's projects and several previous cycles.

View Project Summaries


Q. What may be purchased with the Fellowship research allowance?
A. The research allowance is meant to allow the Fellow to purchase specialized equipment, software or reagents necessary to complete their research.  In addition, items that augment the training and education of a Fellow such as books, journal subscriptions, training courses, or a computer are also permitted.  Travel costs of up to $2,000 may also be defrayed by the research allowance.  With approval of the advisor/mentor, the Fellow determines how the research allowance is spent.  However, under no circumstances can the stipend or research allowance be used to pay for postdoctoral taxes, institutional overhead or fees.

Q. May the Fellowship research allowance be used for health insurance premiums?
A. Yes, the research allowance may be used to defray the costs of a Fellow’s health benefits up to $3,000.  Once an award decision has been made, the Fellow may submit a written request to PDF to direct a portion of their research allowance towards health care costs.

Q. What happens if a grant recipient transfers to a new lab/institution during an award cycle? Will he/she still be eligible for the remainder of the grant?
A. Should a grant recipient depart from his/her original research institution prior to the conclusion of the award cycle, all funding will cease.  In addition, all equipment purchased from the IRGP must remain at the prior institution. However, there may be instances where funding may be transferred if the recipient provides official documentation from both the original and the new institutions’ administrative officials confirming that the recipient is continuing research at the new institution for the project funded by PDF.  We encourage the grant recipient to contact the PDF in these circumstances.

Q. What happens to unused grant monies?
A. Any unused monies are to be made payable to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and sent to PDF, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018, Attn.: Dr. Beth Vernaleo, Grants Manager.

Q. If a grant recipient needs additional time to complete his/her research, what can be done?
A. A grant recipient must request a “No-Cost Extension” and specify how long they will need (generally an additional three to six months) to complete their project. This request must include an interim progress report and a report of expenses to date. The request must be made by the applicant and signed off by the institution’s administrative official. If the extension is granted, the grant recipient will be notified of the new reporting deadlines.

Q. What is a Progress Report?
A. A progress report is a report summarizing research findings as well as the accompanying expenditures of the project to date.

If you have any additional questions, please email