The goal of the Parkinson's Foundation Visiting Scholar Award is to provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with opportunities for expanding their existing skillset to benefit their Parkinson's research. Gone are the days when research is done in silos. Collaboration and learning from one another are key aspects of research conducted today, regardless of the field. The Visiting Scholar Program provides this opportunity so that future Parkinson's research continues to be innovative, creative, and multi-disciplinary.
This award provides a $4,000 stipend to support the travel and housing of scholar while visiting a host laboratory to learn new techniques that will benefit their Parkinson's research. Examples include microscopy, molecular biology, surgical techniques, computer modelling, and others. While the goal is to learn a new technique, it should not be done in isolation. A small project incorporating the new technique is required, ideally incorporating the Scholars current research project. Scholars will work under the close supervision of the principal investigator of the host laboratory who will oversee the project. The award is to be used at the Scholar's discretion to supplement research costs or to supplement travel and housing costs while visiting the host laboratory.
Upon completion of their project, Scholars are invited to apply for up to $1,000 in travel funds to attend a related scientific conference to present their research.
Note, this award may be taxable; an IRS form 1099 will be sent to the recipient at the end of the calendar year.
Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows conducting Parkinson's research for their thesis are eligible for this program. This program is open to applicants regardless of nationality or location. Each applicant must identify a mentor with whom he or she will conduct the proposed project. Students must be in their second year or later, and have an expected graduate date no sooner than 6 months after the end of the summer project.
Host mentors and their laboratory are not required to conduct Parkinson's research, but the technique learned must be applicable to Parkinson's research. The host laboratory must be a significant distance from the Fellow's Institution and must not be an affiliate of the Fellow's Institution.
Application Instructions and Deadlines
All applications must be submitted online through our website at parkinson.org/grants; no paper copies will be accepted. The application period typically opens in October and closes in early December. Please see the grants deadline webpage for current dates. Successful applicants are typically notified in mid-March of decisions.
Briefly, a complete application will consist of the following six items:
- Brief, two-page proposal describing the research plan (written by applicant in conjunction with both the current and host mentors);
- Statement by the applicant, describing how his or her Parkinson's research will benefit from learning the new technique described in the research proposal
- Copy of the scholar's academic transcript (unofficial is acceptable);
- Letter of support, written by the current mentor discussing qualifications of the student;
- Letter of support, written by the principal investigator of the host laboratory under whom the applicant plans to work, affirming that facilities and materials will be available and agreeing to actively guide the scholar's work.
- Application form, completed.
Note: Incorrect or incomplete applications will be rejected without comment.
Review & Decisions
Applications are judged based on the relevance of the technique to be learned to advance an applicant's PD research, the overall feasibility of the applicant's project, the background of the applicant, and the appropriateness of the host mentor. Final decisions are typically made in mid-March. The Parkinson's Foundation will contact all candidates at that time. Funding for successful applicants may commence as early as May 1.