NAF Accepting Ataxia-specific Research Proposals From Minority Students

Marta Figueiredo, PhD avatar

by Marta Figueiredo, PhD |

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The National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) is accepting applications for funding of research projects on ataxia — a lack of motor coordination that also affects people with Friedreich’s ataxia — from minority students pursuing doctoral studies.

Eligible students include U.S. citizens or permanent residents from underrepresented minorities who are enrolled in an accredited U.S. university, are within two years of their doctoral-level graduation date in areas of clinical health science, and intend to pursue research careers focused on ataxia.

Also, they must self-identify as belonging to one or more of the following racial or ethnic groups: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Awardees will receive a two-year grant of up to $50,000 — $25,000 per year, contingent on a progress report from the first year — that can be used to cover school dues and fees (up to 50% of the grant) and support the research project.

“NAF works with the most knowledgeable, accomplished Ataxia researchers in the world. We are committed to providing the resources needed to pursue a cure and better quality of life for people with Ataxia,” the foundation says on its website.

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The nonprofit created this type of fellowships to support research and/or clinical training of minority students, who, it notes, are underrepresented at every level of U.S. college programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — so-called STEM fields.

Applications should be submitted before March 14 using the proposalCENTRAL online portal. The NAF plans to notify both awardees and non-funded applicants in early May.

An essay must be submitted by all applicants, describing the researcher’s “dedication to the ataxia disease space.” Additionally, applicants must submit a resume, a detailed research project with budget details, and proof of doctorate program enrollment.

A letter of recommendation also must be filed from a mentor of the project, who must be an established investigator with expertise in ataxia research and/or clinical care for people with ataxia.

All applications will be reviewed, scored, and prioritized by a committee appointed by NAF’s research director, while final decisions will be made by the board of directors. The competitive, merit-based awards will be granted based on availability of funds, each application’s priority score, innovation, and relevance to ataxia-related diseases.

Awardees will be invited to attend the International Congress for Ataxia Research, planned for the fall, and can apply to present their work during the meeting.

Further information on this grant can be found here. Additional questions can be sent to Beth Bowerman, NAF’s research services coordinator, at [email protected].

The NAF was established in 1957 to help those with ataxia and their families. The foundation is committed to supporting research to find the cause, treatments, and a cure for both sporadic and hereditary types of ataxia, which include Friedreich’s ataxia.

According to the NAF, its research grant program funds only projects that are most likely to result in research breakthroughs that can help in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of people with ataxia.