Applying to the Advancing Parkinson's Treatment Program

PDF’s Advancing Parkinson’s Treatments (APT) Grants fund innovative programs to facilitate the movement of treatments from “bench to bedside." APT aims to remove barriers that might prevent better treatments from reaching people with Parkinson’s at a faster pace.

Conference Awards

The Conference Awards support gatherings of experts in the field in order to address emerging clinical or basic science questions about Parkinson’s. This award is part of PDF's Advancing Parkinson's Therapies Program.

Program Overview

Conference Awards support gathering of experts in the field looking to address unsolved clinical or basic science problems relevant to Parkinson’s disease. 

All applications should demonstrate the potential to advance the field of Parkinson’s research and meeting results are to be made publicly available. Applicants may use this award to:

  • identify or define emerging research questions;
  • plan or organize a clinical trial;
  • standardize research methods.

Potential topics are wide-ranging but examples include the importance of synaptic pathology in Parkinson's gene therapy, selecting standard measures of cognitive function for Parkinson's clinical trials, or establishing an impulse control disorder rating scale.

PDF is committed to including the perspective and experience of people living with Parkinson’s disease in the research process and highly encourages applicants to incorporate a community engagement component into award applications.

PDF periodically makes $45,000 available with a maximum of $15,000 per award. PDF expects most awards will be $10,000. Multiple funding partners are permitted and encouraged, including contributions from the applicant institution itself. PDF anticipates making regular awards as part of this RFA; consequently, competitive, follow-up applications may be considered in the future.


The Conference Award is open to independent investigators both nationally and internationally, possessing postdoctoral training or a medical degree (or the equivalent).

  • Funding partners, whether planned or proposed, are encouraged but must be identified in advance.
  • If one or more of the proposed funding partners is a for-profit entity, e.g., pharmaceutical company, support from this source must be made in the form of an unrestricted, educational award.
  • Conference results must be made publicly available.
  • Conferences may not be largely social or networking in nature.
  • PDF expects that each meeting or conference will engage members of the Parkinson’s community.
Application Instructions, Deadlines and Funding Dates


All applications must be submitted online through the PDF website at; no paper copies will be accepted. The application period is open year-round. Applications will be accepted anytime, as long as they are submitted at least 90 days prior to proposed conference start date. Applicants can review PDF's application instructions for further information.

Download Application Instructions and Checklist

Review and Decisions

All proposals for the Conference Award are peer-reviewed and competitively ranked based upon scientific merit and its impact upon Parkinson's disease. Final decisions are expected four to six weeks after applications are submitted. Funding can commence immediately upon award notification.

Reporting Requirements and Other Terms

Applicants who successfully receive PDF funding for their conference are required to clearly identify the Parkinson's Disease Foundation as a source of support in all conference materials and advertisements, in all presentations, and in any subsequent publications.

Complimentary registration must be provided to a designated member of PDF staff or PDF guests as needed and is required for PDF conference sponsorship.

As part of PDF’s public sharing goal, PDF may post information relating to the conference on the PDF website such as the conference notice or agenda. At minimum, a brief (200 word) lay summary must be provided after the conference.

Additional Questions?

PDF recommends that those who are considering applying for this award or have questions regarding how to best include members of the Parkinson’s community to please contact PDF at or call (212) 923-4700.  Points of contact for this award are: Dr. Beth Vernaleo and Dr. James Beck. For general questions, you can also review our Application FAQ.

Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) Leadership Award

Program Overview

The PDF PAIR Leadership Award fosters patient engagement in Parkinson’s research. The awards, open for applications twice a year, support scientists in their work to formally engage PDF Research Advocates and other patient advocates (people with Parkinson's and care partners) their research. It is based on the PDF philosophy that when we bring together the two kinds of experts – the scientists who study PD and the individuals who live with it – we are likely to find answers more quickly. The award is an extension of PDF's Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) program.

Successful applicants will have a plan to formally engage one or more of PDF’s more than 260 trained Research Advocates or other patient advocates (people with PD and care partners) in their project, in a way that goes beyond recruitment or trial participation. Engagement should be project-specific and applicants should demonstrate a pre-existing commitment to partnering with people with PD to improve research.

Examples of possible patient advocate activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying research priorities of the Parkinson’s community;
  • Reviewing and commenting on specific study design and protocols;
  • Developing study recruitment and retention plans; and
  • Serving as co-investigators on specific clinical studies.

PDF Research Advocates are people living with Parkinson’s and care partners who have completed training to understand the science of Parkinson’s and the drug development process. Around the US, they are collaborating with more than 120 institutions, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the Parkinson Study Group (PSG).

Funds Available

The average award is $5,000 but funds are available up to $10,000 for outstanding project ideas.

Eligibility & Restrictions

A successful PAIR Leadership Award recipient is a Parkinson’s researcher in the United States who has:

  • Established pre-existing relationship(s) with PDF Research Advocate(s) or other patient advocates within her/his community;
  • Already identified a specific project that will engage PDF Research Advocate(s) or other patient advocates and in which all parties (advocates and professionals) believe there is potential to accelerate PD research;
  • Received the support of at least one PDF Research Advocate(s) or other patient advocate who is collaborating on the project; and
  • Demonstrated a commitment to patient engagement as a means to improve research.

Application Instructions & Deadlines


PDF accepts applications for this award twice a year. An applicant will be asked to initially submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). If selected by our reviewers, the applicant can proceed and submit a full proposal. All applications must be submitted online through the PDF website at; no paper copies will be accepted. 

Applicants should submit no more than a three-page proposal, formatted with no less than 1” margins and in an 11 point Arial font or equivalent on US letter-sized page. The application should be organized in the following sections:

  • Project Summary – no more than 150 words;
  • Project Description, including the relevance to patient engagement and furthering scientific research;
  • Timeline;
  • Project Evaluation plan;
  • Project team (including PDF Research Advocates/patient advocates); and
  • Budget.

In addition to the application outlined above, a letter of support is required from at least one person with Parkinson's disease who is a team member on the project. The letter should describe the individual's relationship with the applicant, the role of people with PD in the project and why he or she is supportive of the proposed project. 

Review & Decisions

Awards are to be used 12 months from the time of award. Final decisions should be expected within three to five weeks of submission.  

Reporting Requirements

Recipients of the PDF PAIR Leadership Award are required to appropriately acknowledge the Parkinson's Disease Foundation in conjunction with the publication or presentation of any research results supported, either in whole or in part, by this Award. At the end of the award period, applicants will also be required to provide a written summary of their accomplishments. Awardees will be required to present their projects at quarterly conference calls with PDF staff and other PAIR Leadership Award recipients.

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Additional Questions?

If you have questions regarding this award, please contact Ronnie Todaro, M.P.H., Vice President, National Programs at or at (212) 923-4700. More information about the PAIR program can be found at