The ALS Association: Grants for Brain Research and Treatment

OVERVIEW: The ALS Association dedicates the majority of its funding to new drug discoveries and improved therapies toward the treatment of ALS.

IP TAKE: The association doesn’t award a huge number of research grants each year. But this is a comparatively rare disease and a sparse research field, which contributes to the low number of awarded grants. That said, ALS Association is keen on funding both established and new researchers in the field, making it a pretty equal opportunity funder.

PROFILE: The ALS Association is on a singular mission of ridding the world of this rare but devastating neurodegenerative disease. Since 1985, the association has spearheaded the search for cures, along with raising awareness, advocating for increased public policy and private sector support, and supporting quality-of-life initiatives for ALS sufferers. The disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, leads to nerve problems, muscle wasting and lack of motor control. According to the ALS Association, the disease is usually fatal within two to five years of diagnosis.

While ALS is linked to other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it doesn’t receive nearly as much attention from the general public—funding or otherwise. The rapid progression of ALS and the general lack of attention the disease receives throughout the medical and scientific community are two of the many reasons why the ALS Association dedicates the majority of its funding dollars toward advancing research.

The ALS Association’s Research Program funds multiple disciplines in ALS research, with a heavy focus on advancing therapies and accelerating new drug development. The association offers multiple research grants and awards that typically range from $40,000 for new investigators to multi-year $80,000 awards for established researchers.

For a more in depth look at the type of projects the ALS Association supports, grantseekers can browse through its list of funded research. The association announces calls for abstracts for research grants and awards throughout the year. Grantseekers can contact the association directly to receive more information or to learn more about the ALS Association’s research programs.

The ALS Association also offers several multi-year fellowships. The Clinical Research Training Fellowship provides $55,000 per year for two years, and the Clinician-Scientist Development Award provides $75,000 per year for three years. Both of these fellowships are intended to recruit young scientists into the field of clinical ALS studies. The Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship encourages young scholars to study ALS and provides up to $100,000 over a two year period.

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