Melvin Yahr Early Career Award in Movement Disorders Research

Program Overview

The Parkinson’s Foundation Melvin Yahr Clinical Career Award has been created in honor of Dr. Melvin Yahr, the Foundation’s first funded scientist.  Dr. Yahr was a leader in PD care and research who, with the Foundation’s support, played a seminal role in establishing levodopa as the gold standard symptomatic therapy for PD. In addition to his groundbreaking research, Dr. Yahr also served as a champion of young neurologists, particularly women and other under-represented groups.  The goal of the award is to prepare young neurologists specializing in Parkinson’s disease for a career in clinical research. Clinician scientists are uniquely positioned to be experts in both Parkinson’s disease research and care.  Dr. Yahr recognized the need for strong mentorship of young neurologists. Often, early career clinician scientists do not receive enough timely guidance and support, and as a result, struggle to receive research funding. This two-year award has been designed to provide support for neurologists who have completed their residency and plan to apply for a mentored NIH K award at the end of their Movement Disorder Fellowship. Successful candidates will use this award to establish the basis of a mentored NIH K award, including the establishment of a sound link with their primary mentor and the generation of preliminary data of the research project.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are Principal Investigators at US-based institutions. Each Principal Investigator will be able to nominate one Fellow in Movement Disorders, which will be the actual beneficiary of the grant. The Principal Investigator will assure that he/she will mentor and guide the nominated Fellow through the project and the subsequent application for an NIH K award.

The nominated Fellows should be Board-certified Neurologists who are either in a Movement Disorder Fellowship program or have recently (not earlier than June 30, 2018) completed one.  Fellows must meet all the eligibility requirements of a K-series award, including US citizenship or green card status.   
 Awardees will be required to prepare an application for a K-type award, such as the NIH-K23 award or others, by the end of Year 1 of this Early Career Award.  Applications should be submitted before the end of Year 2.

Level of Support

This is a two-year award for a total of $50,000 ($25,000 each year). Funds must be used for research supplies and other research-related expenses.

Application Instructions and Deadlines

Letters of Intent
A letter of intent will be written by the Principal Investigator who will clearly state his/her intention and availability to be the primary Mentor for the nominated Fellow. Beside the nomination of the Fellow, the letter should briefly describe: 

  • The Fellow’s background 
  • The need of specific research training for the Fellow 
  • The outline of the research plan for the NIH K award application of the Fellow 

Letters of intent must not exceed 4000 characters. NIH-style biosketches of both the Mentor and the Fellow should be included, detailing past and on-going funding, research statement, and publications. 
 
LOIs will be evaluated in terms of the Fellow’s research background and evidence of commitment to research as well as in terms of the Mentor’s research strengths, mentorship history and his/her support to the Fellow’s application.  If more applications reached the same high ranking, preference will be given to the applications of underrepresented groups – such as women and minorities (African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American). 
Successful LOIs invited to submit full applications will be announced mid-to-late January.

Full Applications
Full applications will be an expansion of the LOI and will include the following sections:

  • Fellow’s background describing past research experiences and commitment to research, as well as academic, clinical, and research record (max 1 page).  
  • Career development plan describing career goals and objectives, the role of the primary and other mentors and a plan to acquire expertise in specific areas (max 1 page). 
  • Research plan describing: background, specific aims, experimental design, and methodology (max 6 pages).
  • Budget and budget justification for the two years. 
  • A letter of support from the Department Chair
  • One or two letters of reference from previous mentors. The letters should also discuss the candidate’s potential for becoming an independent investigator. 

Award decisions will be made by May 1, 2020
Funding begins: July 1, 2020

Questions and Additional Information

Please contact grants@parkinson.org with any questions regarding this award.

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