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Discovery Research Grants (RG)

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Researchers
to Develop Therapies for Neuromuscular Disease

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/31/20 5:00 PM ET


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Grants starting at $80,000 per year to USA, Canada, and international medical researchers to study neuromuscular diseases. Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full application. Proposals are invited from established investigators seeking to accelerate progress in treating and understanding neuromuscular disease.

MDA supports research aimed at developing treatments for the muscular dystrophies and related diseases of the neuromuscular system. These are the muscular dystrophies (among which are Duchenne and Becker); motor neuron diseases (including ALS and SMA); the peripheral nerve disorders (CMT and Friedreich's ataxia); inflammatory myopathies; disorders of the neuromuscular junction; metabolic diseases of muscle as well as other myopathies.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit hypothesis-driven applications on innovative research with the following elements in mind:

  • Applications should directly relate to a disease in MDA’s program
  • Applications should focus on accelerating therapy development for the disease(s) in question. Such projects may include:
    • New target identification
    • Target validation
    • Screening for new therapeutic molecules that hit validated targets
    • Experimental testing and proof-of-concept studies for new therapeutic approaches
    • Addressing a need of the neuromuscular research field (e.g., developing a novel animal or cell model of the disease, developing new technologies)
    • Clinical research projects that fit the budget restraint of this program (however, clinical trials should be submitted either through the MVP program or CRG program - see below under Clinical Research)
    • MDA is also seeking applications that may result in new understanding of disease etiology and pathogenesis in neuromuscular disorders where these are not well understood

Authorized Expenses:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 170571

Estimated Size of Grant:

Research grant awards are generally between $80,000 and $100,000 per year including indirect costs.

In a very limited number of cases, awards will exceed $100,000 per year, but pre-approval is required before letter of intent submission.

Term of Contract:

Research grant awards are for one, two or three years.

Grant period is expected to begin August 1, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply for an MDA research grant, an applicant must:
1. Hold a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) or equivalent degree (i.e. D.O.);
2. Be a professional or faculty member (Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor) at an appropriate educational, medical or research institution;
3. Be qualified to conduct and mentor a program of original research within his or her own laboratory;
4. Assume both administrative and financial responsibility for the grant; and
5. Have access to institutional resources necessary to conduct the proposed research project.

Proposals from applicants outside the United States will be considered for projects of highest priority to MDA and when, in addition to the applicant's having met the requirements noted above, the applicant's country of residence may not have adequate sources of financial support for biomedical research.

NOTE: To apply for a Research Grant, you must be an independent investigator, i.e., not a trainee, not a post-doctoral fellow, not a research assistant and not under the supervision of another person (Principal Investigator/Independent Investigator) who is directing the research.

Only one (1) Letter of Intent/application is permitted per investigator each round.

Unauthorized Expenses:

Pre-Application Information:

Timeline for Discovery Research Grant (RGs):
- Letters of Intent open approximately one month prior to deadline.
- Letters of Intent are due by 11:59 PM ET on December 1.
- Grant applications are due by 5:00 PM ET on January 31.

If a due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the due date will be moved to the next business day.

List of diseases in MDA's program:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Muscular Dystrophy Association National Office
161 N. Clark, Suite 3550
Chicago, Illinois 60601

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.