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Applying to the Fellowship and Career Development Program

PDF's Research Program offers several different grants to encourage young scientists, clinicians and students to devote their talents to the study of Parkinson’s.

Learn more about the Fellowship and Career Development training tracks:

 PDF Sponsored Fellowships

PDF Co-Sponsored Fellowships

 

Lucien Côté Early Investigator Award in Clinical Genetics

Program Overview

Genes, in ways still unknown, contribute significantly to the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Understanding the genetics of those who live with Parkinson’s may hold the key to finding a cure. As a result, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) is establishing an interdisciplinary clinical genetics program, the Côté Clinical Genetics Initiative.  This initiative will support investigations that seek to identify genetic markers of Parkinson’s and their disease mechanisms. The Côté Clinical Genetics Initiative is launching with the announcement of the Lucien Côté Early Investigator Award in Clinical Genetics.

The Côté Award will support postdoctoral researchers and junior faculty in the New York City metropolitan area whose clinical or basic science investigations explore the genetics of Parkinson’s disease.  All applications will demonstrate the potential to advance the field of Parkinson’s research with their results made publically available. Applicants may use this award to:

  • Support their salary;
  • Pay for research expenses and supplies; or
  • Pay for other justifiable costs.

Potential topics should seek to understand the human aspects of Parkinson’s disease. Applications that study human subjects, use translational models, like fibroblast derived induced pluripotent stem cells, or seek to validate human genetic findings are highly encouraged.  Laboratory-based investigations must clearly establish their relevance to the clinical understanding of Parkinson’s. Awards are one-year in length and applicants must have projects which are suitable for this timeframe.  All applicants are required to have a mentor and there must be a strong and demonstrable commitment from the mentor to insure success of the awardee and their projects.

Funds Available

There is $200,000 available in direct cost support as part of this RFA.  Each award will be a maximum of $50,000 in direct costs plus an additional 10 percent for indirect cost support. PDF expects to support four awards. Competitive, follow-up applications may be considered in the future as PDF anticipates making regular awards as part of this RFA depending on available funds. The award may be used to support the salary of the applicant or their research expenses. Proposals may also be used to support aims that stem from a larger, funded effort but should not overlap with funded projects.

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • Postdoctoral or junior faculty investigators possessing a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent.
  • Applicants must be within five years of receiving their terminal training or degree.
  • Investigators must be at an institution within the NY Metro area defined as within ~50 miles of PDF offices.  This includes: the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Northern New Jersey, Southwest Connecticut, and Westchester County.
  • Applicants located at PDF Research Centers at Columbia and at Cornell are eligible to apply.
Application Instructions & Deadlines

This program is closed for the 2015 cycle.

Applying

All applications must be made online. Visit grants.pdf.org to apply. Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent for peer review. Applications must be submitted online at grants.pdf.org. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application for consideration. The deadline for full applications is typically early January.

Review & Decisions

All proposals for the Lucien Côté Early Investigator Award are peer reviewed and competitively ranked based upon their scientific merit, impact upon Parkinson's disease, and matching the goals of this award. Decisions for the Letter of Intent and invitations for the full application are expected by mid-November. All applicants will be notified. Funding decisions are expected to be reached by early February. Funding typically commences by late June; however, applicants will be given up to 90 days from award notification to have institutional approval in place, e.g, IRB approval.  Applicants can review PDF's application instructions for further information.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants who successfully receive PDF funding for their research are required to identify the Parkinson's Disease Foundation as a source of support in all published works and presentations.  At the end of the award period, applicants will also be required to provide a written summary of their accomplishments.

Grantee Meeting

Applicants and their mentors will be required to present details of their projects as part of a PDF-sponsored New York City Parkinson’s Disease Forum as well as part of a small informal meeting held at PDF’s offices. Dates to be determined.

Additional questions

If you have questions regarding this award, please contact PDF at grants@pdf.org or speak to Dr. Beth Vernaleo, Grants Manager, at (212) 923-4700. For general questions, you may also visit PDF’s Application FAQ page.

Download Application Instructions and RFA 

 

 

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists

Program Overview

The Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists are one-year fellowships for young scientists, fresh from their Ph.D. training, to study at major research institutions. 

This program grants funding in the amount of $45,000 for one year (to be used as salary) as well as a research allowance of $5,000 to be used at the discretion of the Fellow, with approval of the sponsor/mentor, to pay for such items as books, training courses, travel costs (up to $2,000) or a computer. There is no provision for the deduction of postdoctoral taxes, institutional overhead or fees. However, if the Fellow submits a written request, $3,000 of the research allowance may be used to defray the cost of health insurance paid by the Fellow.

Fellows may competitively reapply for continued funding after their first year for a total of three years of support.  In these instances, an update of current research progress should be included in the six page proposal outlining what has been accomplished with the previous year's funding.

Eligibility & Restrictions

The applicant must be within five years of receiving his or her Ph.D., and must identify an individual who will serve as his or her mentor and supervisor of the research. This program is open to both national and international applicants. If awarded, a Postdoctoral Fellow is required to commit 90 percent of his or her effort to the PDF-funded project.

Application Instructions & Deadlines

Applying

The application process at PDF is highly competitive and only five percent of all proposals receive funding. To make the process more efficient for both applicants and reviewers, we have transitioned to a two-step application. 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 grants.pdf.org; no paper copies will be accepted. To be considered for funding, an applicant must submit the LOI by the specified deadline.  Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be notified of their status at least six weeks prior to the full application deadline. Please browse current grant deadlines here

Applicants can review PDF's new application instructions for further information.

Download Application Instructions 

Review & Decisions

All proposals are peer-reviewed and competitively ranked based upon scientific merit and its impact upon Parkinson’s disease.  Final decisions are expected by mid-April.  First year funding typically begins June 1 and ends May 31 of the following year.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants who successfully receive PDF funding for their research are required to identify the Parkinson's Disease Foundation as a source of support in all published works and presentations.  A copy of any such papers are to be forwarded to grants@pdf.org.

PDF requires the fellowship recipient to account for all expenditures.

In instances where the researcher would want to file a consecutive application for fellowship, a preliminary report of the current research would be due along with the new application.

 

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Clinical Neurologists

Program Overview

For young clinicians who have completed their neurology residency and are seeking clinical research experience, PDF offers the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Clinical Neurologists, one-year awards in the amount of $55,000 (to be used as salary).

Similar to the Fellowship for Basic Scientists, an additional research allowance of $5,000 may be used at the discretion of the Fellow, with approval of the mentor, to pay for such items as books, training courses, travel costs (up to $2,000) or a computer. There is no provision for the deduction of postdoctoral taxes, institutional overhead or fees. However, if the Fellow submits a written request, $3,000 of the research allowance may be used to defray the cost of health insurance paid by the Fellow.

Fellows may competitively reapply for continued funding after their first year for a total of three years of support.  In these instances, a progress report of the current research would be due along with the new application.

Eligibility & Restrictions

Applicants seeking a Postdoctoral Fellowship for Neurologists must possess a M.D. or equivalent and be within three years of having completed a residency in neurology. Applicants may not have their own lab  and must identify an individual who will serve as his or her mentor and supervisor of their research. This program is open to both national and international applicants. If awarded, a Clinical Fellow is required to commit 80 percent of his or her effort to the PDF-funded project.

Application Instructions & Deadlines

Applying

The application process at PDF is highly competitive and only five percent of all proposals receive funding. To make the process more efficient for both applicants and reviewers, we have transitioned to a two-step application. An applicant will be asked to initially submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) by the specified deadline. 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 grants.pdf.org; no paper copies will be accepted. To be considered for funding, an applicant must submit the LOI by the specified deadline.  Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be notified of their status at least six weeks prior to the full application deadline. Please browse current grant deadlines here.

Applicants can view PDF's application instructions for additional information.

Download Application Instructions

Review & Decisions

All proposals are peer-reviewed and competitively ranked based upon scientific merit and its impact upon Parkinson’s disease.  Final decisions are expected by mid-April.  First year funding typically begins June 1 and ends May 31 of the following year.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants who successfully receive PDF funding for their research are required to identify the Parkinson's Disease Foundation as a source of support in all published works and presentations.  A copy of any such papers should be forwarded to grants@pdf.org.

PDF requires the fellowship recipient to account for all expenditures.

In instances where the researcher would want to file a consecutive application for fellowship, a preliminary report of the current research would be due along with the new application.

 

Summer Student Fellowships

Program Overview

PDF’s Summer Fellowship Program is used to support students – from advanced undergraduates to medical students – in their pursuit of Parkinson's-related summer research projects. The goal of the Summer Fellowship is to cultivate an early interest in Fellows into the cause and possible treatments for Parkinson's disease.

Fellows work under the close supervision of a sponsor who is an expert in the Parkinson's community and oversees the project.  Typically, summer fellowships are offered for 10 weeks of clinical or laboratory work with an award of $4,000.

The award is to be used to support the student's summer research, for example, to defray tuition costs of research credits or to supplement living/housing costs.  This award may taxable; an IRS form 1099 will be sent to the recipient at the end of the calendar year.

Eligibility

Undergraduate students and medical students are eligible for summer fellowships. Additionally, graduate students who are already conducting research may also apply if they can demonstrate a financial need (e.g., lack of summer funding).* Each applicant must identify a mentor with whom he or she will conduct the proposed project. This program is open to both national and international applicants.

* Graduate students, please email PDF for details on eligibility at grants@pdf.org before applying.

Application Instructions, Deadlines & Start Dates

Applying

Please note that this year, all applications must be submitted online through the PDF website at grants.pdf.org; no paper copies will be accepted. This application period typically opens in December closes in late January. Please see the grants deadline page for current dates. Successful applicants are typically notified in mid-April of PDF's decisions. 

Download Sample Application

Briefly, a complete application will consist of the following five items:

  • Brief, two-page proposal describing the research plan (written by applicant in conjunction with mentor);
  • Copy of the student’s academic transcript (unofficial is acceptable);
  • Statement by the applicant, describing why he or she is interested in conducting Parkinson's research, his or her qualifications, and the relevance of this research to his or her career/research interests;
  • Letter of support, written by the mentor under whom the applicant plans to work, discussing qualifications of the student, affirming that facilities and materials will be available and agreeing to actively guide the student’s work. This letter must be sent separately by the mentor either via email to grants@pdf.org with “SUMMER FELLOWSHIP” in the subject line.  All letters must be received by the application deadline;
  • Application form, completed.

Note: Incorrect or incomplete applications will be rejected without comment.

Review & Decisions

Applications are judged based on the feasibility of the applicant's project, the background of the applicant and the appropriateness of the mentor.  Final decisions are typically made in mid-April.  PDF will contact all candidates at that time.  Funding for successful applicants may commence as early as June 1.

 

PDF Student Travel Award

Program Overview

The PDF Student Travel Award enables eligible students working in Parkinson's disease research to attend and present data at relevant scientific conferences.

Awards are available up to $1,000 and can be used to pay for conference registration, transportation and hotel. Applicants must justify the amount requested based on the projected cost of the above expenses. After the conference, students will be asked to submit reports regarding the conference and receipts for the expenses justified in the application.

Eligibility & Restrictions

Graduate and medical students conducting Parkinson’s disease research are eligible for the PDF Student Travel Award. Undergraduate applicants must have previously completed a PDF Summer Student Fellowship to be eligible to apply for this award.

Applicants must have an accepted abstract for either a poster or oral presentation at the conference they wish to attend. Applicants with abstracts that are pending conference acceptance may be considered; however, the award is contingent upon abstract acceptance.

Conferences must take place a minimum of 45 days after the application submission deadline, to ensure sufficient time for review and award notification.

Applying

All applications must be submitted online through the PDF website at grants.pdf.org. Paper copies will not be accepted.

Download Sample Application

Briefly, a complete application will consist of the following items:

  • Copy of the abstract submitted to the conference;
  • Confirmation of abstract acceptance or abstract submission pending acceptance.
  • Statement by the applicant, justifying meeting attendance and potential impact on future research and career;
  • Statement by the applicant, describing interest in Parkinson's research, his or her qualifications and the relevance of this meeting to his or her career/research interests;
  • Letter of support, written by the mentor under whose guidance the applicant completed the research to be presented at the conference. The letter should discuss the qualifications of the student, as well as the academic and financial need for attendance. This letter must be sent separately by the mentor via email to grants@pdf.org with “STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD” in the subject line;
  • Travel budget, including any funds to be provided by applicant’s home institution;
  • Application form, completed.

Note: Incorrect or incomplete applications will be rejected without comment.

Review & Decisions

Applications are judged based on the appropriateness of the conference, the applicant’s financial and academic need, and the abstract that will be presented at the conference. Final award decisions are typically made four to six weeks after application deadline.

Reporting Requirements

After the conference, students will be asked to submit reports regarding the conference and receipts for the expenses justified in the application. We also request that recipients of this award send photos of themselves presenting the poster, to be used in PDF publications, such as our newsletter and social media outlets. 

PDF-ABF Clinician-Scientist Development Award

In 2007, PDF and the American Brain Foundation (ABF) collaborated to create the Clinician-Scientist Development Award to support our mutual interest in training outstanding residency-level clinicians in the field of Parkinson's disease. 

Successful applicants will receive a three-year award that consists of an annual salary of $75,000 plus $5,000 in educational expenses per year.  This award supports three years of research training in an environment where talented young clinicians address problems in Parkinson's disease with the most current scientific tools.  It is expected that upon completion of the program, participants will be committed to a research or combined clinical/research career in PD and will be in line to direct robust research programs relevant to PD.

To learn more in detail about this award and to apply, download instructions.

Eligibility & Guidelines:
  • Applicants must hold an M.D., D.O., or equivalent clinical degree from an accredited institution;
  • Applicants must have completed residency training but be less than seven years from completion of residency when funding begins;
  • There is no citizenship requirement; however, the individual applying for the award must be licensed to practice medicine in the United States at the time of application;
  • May only submit one application per department. The department is considered to be the one at which the applicant’s training and research program will occur;
  • Each applicant must agree to a phone interview with a member of the PDF-ABF Advisory Committee, if necessary, during the application review period.
Deadlines & Starting Dates

This application period closes on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

Application Instructions, Deadlines & Start Dates

Applying

All applicants must submit their materials through the ABF website here.

Applicants will be asked to submit one complete set of the following application materials via the ABF website:

  • Letter of nomination from the chair of the Department of Neurology, including assurance that clinical service responsibilities will be restricted to no more than 20 percent of the awardee’s time;
  • Three-page research plan, including brief statement of aims, background, and the contemplated approaches to methodology and data.  The research plan should be written by the applicant and should represent his or her original work.  However, the applicant is expected and encouraged to develop this plan based on discussion with the proposed mentor.  It is appropriate for the proposed work to be specifically related to the mentor’s ongoing research, but not required;
  • Current curriculum vitae;
  • Two letters of reference supporting the applicant’s potential for a clinical academic research career and qualifications for the fellowship.  Letters of reference are in addition to the three-page research plan;
  • Listing of the applicant’s and mentor’s current and pending support, other than this fellowship, using NIH format;
  • Letter from proposed mentor detailing his or her support of and commitment to the applicant and the proposed research and training plan.  The letter should specifically indicate the mentor’s role in the development and preparation of the applicant's research plan.  Letter should describe: 1) How the proposed research fits into the mentor’s research program; 2) Expertise and experience in the area of research proposed and the nature of the mentor’s proposed time commitment to the supervision and training of the applicant; 3) Mentor’s prior experience in the supervision, training, and successful mentoring of clinician-scientists; 4) Potential for applicant’s future research career and comparison of applicant amongst other residents; 5) More than one mentor is permitted.  One mentor should be designated as primary and be responsible for administrative issues.  Proposed mentor’s NIH Biosketch;
  • Document describing arrangements for formal course work to include: quantitative clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, study design, data analysis, and ethics. Documentation must outline: 1) Hours and content of the proposed formal instruction; 2) Availability of tutorial assistance for the research project; 3) Computer approaches to statistical analysis at the host institution.

Review & Decisions

This award is offered every three years.  The current application period closes on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.  Applications are evaluated by members of the Clinical Research Subcommittee, Translational Neuroscience Subcommittee, and various ad-hoc reviewers based on the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s ability and promise as a clinician-scientist based on previous training and career plan, letters of reference, and curriculum vitae (30 percent);
  • Quality and nature of the training to be provided and the institutional, departmental, and mentor-specific training environment (30 percent);
  • Quality and originality of the research plan (40 percent).

Evaluations will be forwarded to the ABF Research Council for final determination of the award. Funding begins within 30 days after executing a signed agreement with the ABF and the recipient’s institution.

Reporting Requirements

An annual progress report is due in May of the first year. Renewal of the award in year two and three is contingent upon review and approval of the progress report. Additionally, a final research report and a final expenditure report are due within 60 days following the close of the grant term. The institution must prepare the final expenditure report.

Apply Now via ABF Website

 

PDF-PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award

Program Overview

The Mentored Clinical Research Award (MCRA) for new investigators is funded by a grant from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) to the Parkinson Study Group (PSG). The grant supports new investigators for a one-year project in patient-oriented research in Parkinson’s disease or other parkinsonian disorders under the mentorship of an experienced investigator. The goal of the award is to provide funding for an investigator who has the potential to become an independent researcher.

It is anticipated for the current application period that an award of $50,000 will be available. Only direct costs will be funded by this award.

Eligibility & Restrictions

Applicants for the MCRA should be clinicians and scientists who are within five years of having completed formal training. Fellows may apply. If during formal training unusual circumstances occurred to delay completion, “time out” periods will be permitted and should be explained in the application cover letter.

Applicants must identify an appropriate mentor or mentors with extensive research experience. Either the applicant or the mentor must be a member of the PSG. An applicant may have co-mentors.

Application Instructions & Deadlines

Applying

Please browse current grant deadlines here.  Please note that this is a collaborative fellowship and for this program, applicants cannot use PDF's online grant management system.  Instead, applicants should submit an electronic copy of the proposal in Microsoft Word of .pdf format to the PSG to Roseanna.Battista@chet.rochester.edu with a cover note that includes the candidate’s name and the title of proposal.

Proposals should be hypothesis driven and amenable to completion in a one year time period. The proposal should be directed toward patient oriented research in Parkinson’s disease or related parkinsonian disorders.

All applications for this fellowship should include the following elements:

  • The focus of the proposal must relate to an area of importance in the field. The research plan should address unmet needs of people living with PD, have the potential for broad application among the PD community, and lead to advances in clinically relevant treatment options;
  • A research proposal (five pages in length) including an abstract, specific aims, background and significance, preliminary studies and experimental designs and methods;
  • A clear description of the educational plan that will be implemented to educate the candidate in development of appropriate research methodology under the direction of the mentor;
  • A statement of the qualification of the mentor(s) to guide the research program.

Proposals requirements:

  • An electronic copy of the proposal in Microsoft Word or pdf-format;
  • The candidate’s proposal should be formatted according to the guidelines indicated on the PSG website.
  • The research plan itself should not exceed five pages. The candidate should also include a four-page NIH-style biosketch and other support statement for both the applicant and the mentor(s);
  • The proposal should include a statement from the mentor(s) including information on research qualifications. The statement should include the nature of the supervision that will occur during the award period and an agreement to provide mentorship to the candidate for the award period. The mentor must include information on what skills they plan to teach the mentee and how previous fellows they mentored are contributing to Parkinson’s research (if applicable);
  • A budget and brief budget justification are required for all funds requested.  No indirect costs will be funded;
  • The funding request should not exceed $50,000;
  • Clinical research proposals need not be pre-approved by institutional IRB, but should include a Human Studies section that addresses concerns pertaining to risk, benefit and consent (not included in the five page limit);
  • Revised applications should include an Introduction of not more than one page that describes how the applicant has responded to the reviewers’ criticisms.

Review & Decisions

Proposals received within the specified time frame are reviewed by the PSG Mentoring Committee. Applicants will be notified of the results on Monday, March 3, 2014.  Funding will begin on July 1 and continue until June 30.

Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants will be required to submit a short written summary of progress at six months and at one year after funding and attend the annual PSG meeting to present the results of the research done during their fellowship year. The meeting expense will be supported by the PSG separately from the grant award.

Learn More

 

PDF-HHMI Medical Fellows Initiative

Program Overview

The PDF-HHMI Year-Long Medical Fellows initiative is a collaborative partnership between PDF and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The HHMI Medical Fellows Program enables medical students to immerse themselves in a basic, translational, or applied biomedical research project for one year. PDF will support up to one student in the program per year to engage in full-time Parkinson’s disease research, conducted under the mentorship of an experienced investigator. The goal of this program is to help medical students determine how to incorporate research into their professional careers before committing to graduate or residency programs. Throughout their research year, medical fellows will have opportunities to meet their peers and biomedical investigators in their fields, and to attend scientific conferences and events. The $41,000 award includes a stipend of $30,000 and allowances for the student’s health insurance, relocation (if applicable), scientific conference travel and other enrichment activities.

Eligibility & Restrictions

Applicants for the Medical Fellows Program must be currently enrolled in good standing at a medical school in the United States.

Applicants must identify an appropriate mentor or mentors with extensive research and training experience. Applicants choose their own mentor at any academic or nonprofit research institution in the United States (excluding the National Institutes of Health) or abroad, provided the proposed mentor is affiliated with a US fellowship institution, and work with the mentor to develop a research proposal. Mentor selection and the research project proposal are key components of the application. Working with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, early career scientist, or HHMI professor is encouraged but not required.

Students cannot be enrolled in a combined medical, dental, or veterinary/Ph.D. program (e.g., M.D./Ph.D.) or Ph.D., or Sc.D. program, or have a Ph.D. or Sc.D. in a laboratory-based biological science.

Application Instructions & Deadlines

Applying

Please browse current grant deadlines here Applications should be submitted via the HHMI website to be considered for funding. Please note, applicants do not apply through PDF’s grant portal. Be sure to browse application requirements.

Applicants will be notified of the results in mid March. Students may begin their fellowship year between May 1 and September 1.

Reporting Requirements:

Successful applicants will be required to submit progress reports in accordance with the requirements of the HHMI Medical Fellows Program.