New Deadlines Announced for FARA Grants Program

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) has announced upcoming deadlines for its grants program — with awards of up to $250,000 on offer — for scientists seeking to advance research into the progressive disorder that primarily affects nerves and muscles.

FARA’s research program supports basic, translational, and clinical studies in Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) that fall within its priorities. The nonprofit promotes scientific collaboration, advocates for public-private partnerships, and presents forums in which investigators can share insights.

For the coming round of grants, scientists are invited to submit a letter of intent (LOI) through the program’s submission portal, explaining the rationale for their proposed project, preliminary data, and a budget.

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LOIs are accepted from scientists globally, with little restriction — researchers can hail from public and private nonprofit universities, colleges, hospitals, laboratories, government agencies,  and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Importantly, the alliance particularly welcomes submissions from junior investigators and postdoctoral trainees. These scientists may write to [email protected] for help with the application process or for grant-writing advice.

Letters of intent must explain how the proposed research addresses FARA’s grant program priorities. Those priorities include:

  • Advancing understanding of cardiac disease in FA. FARA is particularly interested in research that characterizes molecular mechanisms, genetic factors, or biochemical pathways that determine heart health. Studies that explore any possible connection between cardiac function and fatigue, or that compare FA hearts to other cardiomyopathies also are of particular interest, as is research that determines and validates quantitative tools for reporting on functional clinical endpoints. Other priority research areas are identifying biomarkers and producing a therapy that lowers cardiac disease morbidity and mortality.
  • Gaining more understanding of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative changes in FA and possible implications for disease mechanisms and therapies.
  • Advancing understanding of FA’s molecular basis. Priority will be given to proposals that investigate the metabolic basis of cell or tissue-type vulnerability to the loss of frataxin, and how stress affects the regulation of frataxin production and function.
  • Advancing treatment discovery. The nonprofit here will give priority to genetic, epigenetic, and protein replacement approaches that raise frataxin levels.
  • Facilitating treatment development and translational research. The priority here is in vitro (in the lab) and in vivo (in living organisms) preclinical studies that aim to facilitate swift translation of therapy candidates to the clinic.
  • Advancing clinical research. Here, FARA is especially interested in clinical research that informs and creates resources necessary for therapy development, advances its understanding of FA’s natural history, and improves patient outcomes.

The deadline is Jan. 15 for letters of intent for the Keith Michael Andrus Cardiac Award, the Kyle Bryant Translational Research Award, and the Bronya J. Keats International Research Collaboration Award.

LOIs for general FARA grants, postdoctoral fellowships, and postdoctoral research awards are due on Feb. 15 and Aug. 15. Feb. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Award for Innovative Mindset, for which letters of intent are not required.

Decisions regarding LOI acceptance are usually made within a month of receipt, according to the nonprofit. If accepted, investigators must submit a detailed application form with a summary, a budget, and a timeline with planned milestones. Grant amounts, which are for up to two years, range between $100,000 and $250,000.

Visit this webpage for more information, including grant funding start dates for each cycle. For more information about the grant process, visit FARA’s grant application webpage or send questions to [email protected] Applicants may also see this webpage for FARA grants previously awarded.