If you are interested in applying for a Parkinson's Foundation grant, but have some questions about the process, please browse answers to the questions most frequently asked by our prospective grantees.
Q. Does the Parkinson's Foundation have a public access policy?
A. It is a condition of Parkinson's Foundation funding that all peer-reviewed articles supported in whole or in part by its grants must be 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 Parkinson's Foundation 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. The Parkinson's Foundation currently funds my research. 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. Find details on how to do so in the Public Access Policy FAQ and our Public Access Awardee Compliance Guide.
Q. Does Parkinson's Foundation fund both international and U.S. applicants?
A. All Parkinson's Foundation research programs are open to applicants that live either within the U.S. or internationally, regardless of citizenship, except for the Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition Award. For this award, applicants do not need U.S. citizenship, but must live in the U.S. and conduct their research at a U.S.-based institution.
Q. Are students on J-1/F-1B (student visas) eligible to apply for grants?
A. Yes, all international students meeting the eligibility requirements may apply. Direct all visa inquiries to your research institution.
Q. I am a Ph.D. with an overseas lab. May I apply for a grant even if I will conduct most of my work outside the U.S.?
A. Yes, we encourage international applicants to apply for Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships and Parkinson's Foundation Summer Student Fellowships. Moreover, there is no requirement to conduct research within the U.S. for these Parkinson's Foundation Research Programs.
Q. Does the Parkinson's Foundation 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 we will fund two individuals from the same lab.
Q. I am 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 Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships. Am I still eligible to apply?
A. For fellowships, individuals who will have finished their training (Ph.D. degree or residency) by June 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, the Parkinson's Foundation 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 Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Basic Scientists and a limit of three years from completion of residency or final training for the Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Neurologists.
Q. I am interested in taking a year off between my undergraduate studies and medical school to work in research. Is it at all possible to apply the summer fellowship funding to research performed in the fall of the following year?
A. No. Only students currently enrolled full-time in an academic institution are eligible for Parkinson's Foundation 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. Parkinson's Foundation has a policy of supporting postdoctoral researchers who are within five years of receiving their Ph.D. However, if you have exceeded this time (for example, due to maternity leave) we may consider an exception on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Parkinson's Foundation at email@example.com before applying. If we permit an exception, please make sure that you state the reason for exceeding the five-year timeline in your application.
Q. Will the Parkinson's Foundation allow me to take parental leave during my postdoctoral fellowship?
A. For postdoctoral fellowships, the Parkinson's Foundation allows up to eight work weeks (60 calendar days) of paid leave with a concurrent extension of the length of the fellowship. We will support the parental leave use of $3,000 of the Fellow's research allowance, with additional funds provided by the Parkinson's Foundation. We permit parental leave on other, non-fellowship awards and will follow the grantee institution's leave policy. In those cases, we give a no-cost extension of up to six months to match the leave taken by the grant recipient. In either case, the Parkinson's Foundation requires prompt notification when grant recipients use extended leave.
Q. I am a senior Postdoctoral Fellow looking to apply for my first faculty position. Am I eligible for the Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition Award?
A. No, we designed the Faculty Transition Award for applicants who already hold a tenure-track position and are working to submit their first R-01 application. Applicants who hold an Instructor position and intend to commence a tenure-track position, as evidenced by a letter support from the department chair, are also welcome to apply.
Q. I have a Ph.D. and conduct research at a biotech firm. Am I eligible for the Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition Award?
A. No, the Faculty Transition Award is only for applicants in tenure-track positions conducting research at a U.S.-based academic institution.
Q. What is an LOI?
A. A letter of intent (LOI) is similar to an abstract or specific aims page of a proposal. When possible, including preliminary data is encouraged. LOIs are externally reviewed by a grants review committee, and roughly 30% are invited to submit full applications.
Q. Can I submit my application/proposal via email?
A. Except for the Parkinson's Foundation Student Summer Fellowship Letters of Support, we do not accept proposals by email. We only review proposals submitted online.
Q. How does my mentor submit a Letter of Support for my Summer Student Fellowship?
A. When you apply for the Summer Fellowship, you will be asked to enter your mentor's email address. An email will be sent directly to your mentor with a link to your application so a letter of support can be uploaded.
Q. I would like to apply for the Parkinson's Foundation Summer Student Fellowship but I do not have a mentor. How can I find one?
A. You must identify a mentor and project prior to applying for the Parkinson's Foundation Summer Student Fellowship. If you do not already have a mentor, we recommend seeking a researcher at your institution who is studying Parkinson's and asking if he or she is willing to both take you on for a summer project and help you apply for the Fellowship. Your mentor may be able to help you find a project based on your interests and the work already in process in the lab. You do not have to work with a mentor at your own university. You can find a mentor at any institution, as long as this person is an expert in PD research and is willing to work with you on a 10-week project.
Q. How does the Parkinson's Foundation select its grant recipients?
A. Proposals are reviewed by the Parkinson's Foundation Research Grants Committee, a group of leading Parkinson's basic, clinical and translational scientists. Committee members initially review all proposals to remove noncompetitive applications. Remaining proposals are reviewed and adjudicated using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) rating scale. Also note that for all Parkinson's Foundation grant reviews, foundation Research Advocates (people with Parkinson's and caregivers) sit on the panel and review the proposals. This is part of our commitment to patient engagement, which helps us to fund science that is not only top-notch, but also relevant to the community.
The committee chooses finalists from the highest score downward until we meet the funding cap for the fiscal year. If the finalists refuse awards for any reason, we notify the next applicant in line (again, based on the scores assigned by the scientists during the review process). This process continues until we award and finalists accept, all grant money for the fiscal year.
Q. How many proposals do you allow each applicant/PI to submit for Research Grants and Fellowships Programs?
A. We allow only one proposal at a time for review.
Q. Do applicants need to propose three-year studies for the Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition Award or are projects funded based upon competitive renewal?
A. For Faculty Transition Awards, the award period is three years, subject to review of the previous year's progress. While renewal is not competitive, investigators must demonstrate sufficient progress to warrant continued support from the Parkinson's Foundation.
Q. Do applicants need to propose two-year studies for the Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship or are projects funded based upon competitive renewal?
A. For Postdoctoral Fellowships, the award period is two years, subject to review of the first year's progress. While renewal is not competitive, investigators must demonstrate sufficient progress to warrant continued support from Parkinson's Foundation.
Q. What benchmarks determine if enough progress has been made to warrant another year of Parkinson's Foundation support?
A. To secure the next year of funding, work in the previous year should reflect progress towards completing at least one of the specific goals included in the proposal.
Q. Will applicants receive critiques or feedback for their proposals?
A. The Parkinson's Foundation provides reviewer comments for the Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition Award and the Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the review process for the Parkinson's Foundation Summer Student Fellowships, we are unable to provide reviewer comments.
Q. What does "Budget and Justification" mean for Faculty Transition Awards?
A. The budget is the amount of money requested to complete your research project. List salaries, cost for animals, equipment, related travel or anything else paid from the Parkinson's Foundation grant in detail; this is the justification for how the funds should be spent.
Q. Does the Parkinson's Foundation permit salaries in the grants budget?
A. Yes, we permit salaries for the investigator and/or assistants in the budget for Faculty Transition Award proposals. When listing salaries, also include percent effort in the budget justification. Please note that for Faculty Transition Awards, we permit applicants to allot funds for up to 40 percent of direct salary support. For Parkinson's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships, we expect that full Primary Investigator salary coverage. For all Parkinson's Foundation awards, there is no allowance in the budget for fringe benefits, postdoctoral taxes, institutional overhead or fees.
Q. What does the budget not include?
A. We now cover overhead expenses at 10 percent of the Faculty Transition Award. We include this 10 percent within the total award amount. Overhead includes items such as rental of office or lab space, electricity or janitorial expenses. We automatically calculate overhead. It does not need to be listed as part of the budget.
Q. Can I present the budget in a table format, rather than in prose?
A. There is no requirement for the budget format. Reviewers must be able to easily read and understand it.
Q. Can I fund portions of the project (such as antibodies, animals, etc.) from other sources?
A. Yes, however you must note concurrent funding from any other source as a subscript of the budget and disclose it 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. Provide the information on the online form about a primary mentor and then include information about both mentors in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) biosketch component of the proposal package. When asked to upload letters of support, please upload letters from both mentors combined into one PDF document.
Q. Does I need to submit my mentor's CV or references?
A. Yes, as part of the application process, we require the applicant 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). Except for the section describing research funding, limit the the biographical sketch to two pages per investigator.
Q. What should mentors of candidates applying for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Basic Science include in their letters of support?
A. The letters of support for postdoctoral candidates would be similar to those provided for a NIH National Research Service Award 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 we expect candidates to have only recently received a Ph.D., we understand that some applicants will be new to the field. Consequently, a well-conceived proposal will be important in these cases. Additionally, it may be helpful to have a mentor who has a strong PD background.
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 you require specific equipment or reagents (such as mouse lines or MRI), 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 formally designated committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates and others that reviews and monitors biomedical research involving human subjects. The IRB ensures that ethical research and protects participants' rights.
The IACUC is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which oversees the specific use of animals in research by formally reviewing protocols and ensures humane care and use of animals. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals is an excellent resource for investigations involving animals. Note: The appropriate institutional committee must approve all research involving the use of humans or animals.
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, the appropriate institutional committee must approve all research involving the use of humans or animals. If your institution does not provide a IRB/IACUC number, please include a copy of your institution's approval certification (for example, 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 I include 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 sent my application for the Fellowship Training Program, and realize that I uploaded neither my mentor's, nor my biographical sketch. Is there anything that I can do to provide that information to the Parkinson's Foundation?
A. Once you submit your application it cannot be edited. If you made an error or desire to withdraw your application, please email the Parkinson's Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can remove your application from consideration and you may then submit a replacement if desired.
Q. How long is the funding period for research grants?
A. The Stanley Fahn Faculty Transition awards are three-year grants, with the second and third years subject to assessment of the previous year's progress. Fellowship awards are two-year grants. Submit a new application for fellowship renewal consideration. 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 May 31st of any given fiscal year.
Q. When applying to the Faculty Transition Award or Postdoctoral Fellowship, should I include the second and third year (if applicable) budget justification or will the first-year budget justification suffice?
A. You must include budgets for all years.
Q. Since the Postdoctoral Fellowships support two-year projects, is it still possible to apply for one-year $100,000 grants?
A. The Parkinson's Foundation's emphasis has shifted to longer-term funding. Nevertheless, we would not ignore a compelling proposal requesting one year of funding. 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 $100,000 per year, the maximum indirect costs are $10,000 per year for a combined total (direct plus indirect costs) of $110,000.
Q. I am assisting an investigator who is applying for a Parkinson's Foundation grant. On the application, on Step Two, under Administrative Information, the form asks for an Authorized Recipient Information and Authorized Administrative Official. Who should I consider 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, the Parkinson's Foundation also notifies each investigator as we make quarterly award payments.
Q. I would like to apply for one of the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Basic Scientists, but my prospective mentor is an affiliate of another University. Can I apply for a Parkinson's Foundation 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 we make an an award, we will disburse it to your mentor's University. Therefore, you will need to supply the grants administrator contact information for your mentor's University on the application.
Q. For the Postdoctoral Fellowship program, what is the expectation of time commitment (or effort)?
A. We expect that Postdoctoral Fellows are working full-time toward their research project. We understand that Fellows will need to spend time in other areas such as classes, teaching and patient care. Therefore, we require a Basic Science Postdoctoral Fellow to commit 90 percent of his or her effort to the Parkinson's Foundation-funded project, and a Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow is required to commit 80 percent of his or her effort to the Parkinson's Foundation-funded project.
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 I purchase with the Postdoctoral 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, we permit items that augment the training and education of a Fellow such as books, journal subscriptions, training courses or a computer. The research allowance may also defray travel costs of up to $2,000. With approval of the advisor/mentor, the Fellow determines how the research allowance is spent. However, under no circumstances may you use the stipend or research allowance to pay for fringe benefits, postdoctoral taxes, institutional overhead or fees.
Q. May I use the Postdoctoral Fellowship research allowance for health insurance premiums?
A. Yes, you may use the research allowance 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 the Parkinson's Foundation 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 grant remainder?
A. Should a grant recipient depart from his/her original research institution prior to the conclusion of the award cycle, all funding will cease. The prior institution also retains all award-purchased equipment. However, there may be instances where we transfer funding. The recipient must provide 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 Parkinson's Foundation. We encourage the grant recipient to contact the foundation in these circumstances.
Q. What happens to unused grant money?
A. Any unused money is must be made payable to the Parkinson's Foundation and sent to The Parkinson's Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018, Attn.: Dr. Beth Vernaleo, Director of Research Programs.
Q. What should a grant recipient who needs more time to complete his/her research do?
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 applicant must make the request and the institution's administrative official must sign off. If we grant the extension, we will notify the grant recipient of the new reporting deadlines.
Q. What is a progress report?
A. A progress report summarizes research findings and to-date accompanying project expenditures. Progress reports are submitted online via our online grants system. Instructions for completing reports and reminders of deadlines are sent to awardees prior to the end of the award period.
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