2023 RLS Research Grant Program Announced

Call for RLS Grant Proposals The RLS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, aspires to achieve universal awareness of the diseas...

Call for RLS Grant Proposals

The RLS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, aspires to achieve universal awareness of the disease, to support identification of effective treatments, and to find the cure for the millions of men, women, and children who suffer from RLS.

The RLS Foundation calls for grant proposals of a 1 year-duration, with funding levels of up to $50,000 (including 8% for F&A costs), based on the number of funded applications. Additionally, grant applications may be supported for a total of 2 years, including a 1-time competitive renewal, for a total of up to $100,000 (including 8% for F&A costs). However, funding for the 2nd year will be contingent on progress reports that must be submitted 6 months and 12 months from the grant starting date, together with a funding request and an application for the 2nd year.

Spring 2023 Priorities

For this round of funding, the primary research priorities are:

  • Brain iron homeostasis: Elucidate the genetic/epigenetic, developmental, and biological factors that contribute to RLS-relevant alterations in brain iron homeostasis.
  • Comorbidities: Elucidate the interactions between RLS and comorbid disorders, such as cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea.
  • Non-pharmacologic treatments: Elucidate benefits of non-pharmacological treatments of RLS. Examples include, but are not limited to, transcranial or spinal magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, intermittent compression of the leg.
  • Other topics: Other research areas accepted for funding consideration.
Requirements
  • Eligibility: All institutions within the United States, Canada, and other countries where supervision of grant administration is possible are eligible.
  • Human Subject Protection: Approval by the institution’s human investigation committee is necessary for all projects that involve human subjects.
  • Recombinant DNA Research and Animal Welfare: The RLS Foundation has adopted the regulations pertaining to these areas, as established by the US Public Health Service.
  • Multiple Awards: Individual investigators may receive a maximum of one RLSF grant award of any kind in a given year.
Application process
  • Submission is a two-step process requiring both preapplication (letter of intent) due no later than January 27, 2023 and full application as indicated below.
  • The application title and all information for the Principal Investigator (PI), Business Official(s), Performing Organization, and Contracting Organization must be consistent throughout the entire preapplication and full application submission process.
  • If a joint submission by multiple PIs (Partnering PI Option): The Initiating PI must complete the preapplication submission process and submit the contact information for the partnering PI. The Partnering PI(s) will then be notified of the preapplication submission separately by email.
  • Fund disbursement for successful applications will be contingent upon documentation of approved institutional review or animal user protocols, as appropriate.
Preapplication (Letter of Intent) Submission Components

The Letter of Intent (LOI) should consist of preproposal narrative with:

  • Rationale: State the hypothesis and reasoning on which the proposed research project is based. Briefly describe how preliminary data, scientific rationale, and referenced literature support the research hypothesis. Clearly demonstrate that there is sufficient rationale for the project (Limit: 500 words).
  • Focus Area: State the Research Priority that the proposed study seeks to address. Select one or more from the current research priority list.
  • Specific Aims and Study Design: Clearly describe the type of research study being proposed. Concisely state the project’s objectives, specific aims, and ultimate endpoints. As applicable, briefly describe the proposed recruitment strategies and methods, how they will accomplish the project’s aims, as well as the outcome measures that will be used. (Limit: 500 words)
  • Research Team: Provide a description of the research team that clearly demonstrates the appropriate background and experience to accomplish the proposed work. (Limit: 250 words)
  • Impact and Relevance to RLS: Describe how the proposed work will impact healthcare and quality-of-life needs for patients and/or family members or beneficiaries living with RLS. (Limit: 250 words)

In addition, applicants should provide a reference list (one-page limit), list of abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols, and key personnel biographical sketches (NIH format).

Letter of intent (see attached sample application) to be submitted starting December 9, 2022 online here by no later than January 27, 2023.

Applicants will be informed the second week of February of the deadline if their proposal will be invited for a full application.

Full Application Submission Components

If selected, the full online application consists of a cover page that must be signed by the university or organizational representative(s) and the principal investigator, an abstract with a clearly stated hypothesis, and the proposal that includes:

Project Narrative (no more than 5 pages), with background, hypothesis / objective, specific aim(s) and research strategy. Within the research strategy section, describe the study design, methods, models, and analyses in sufficient detail for assessment of the application. Explain how the research strategy will meet the project’s goals and milestones within the proposed period of performance. Address potential pitfalls and problem areas and present alternative methods and approaches. For studies performing prospective human subject recruitment or observation: Describe the population(s) of interest. Describe how data will be reported.

Budget and budget justification

Biographic sketches of each investigator (NIH format)

Disclosure of previous RLS Foundation support and other sources of funding.

Full Applications to be submitted online, link to be provided in LOI acceptance notification, and the deadline for the full proposal submission is April 5, 2023.

Award Process

Schedule: The RLS Foundation Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) and external reviewers strives to review all applications in a timely manner. The goal is to provide the results to the LOI applicants within 2 months of the respective grant deadline and 4 months after submission of the full proposals.

Review: The SMAB will evaluate and rank the full proposals based on scientific merit. Overall impact, significance, approach, innovation (conceptual, technical) and individual criteria will be taken into account for funding consideration.

Award: The RLS Foundation Board of Directors will make final award decisions in accordance with available funds, based on the evaluation provided by the SMAB and other prioritization factors as determined by the Board of Directors.

Recipient Requirements: In order to receive an RLS Foundation research grant, the recipient must:

  1. Within one month of the grant award, provide a photo of the grantee and a one-page article for publication in NightWalkers (the Foundation’s quarterly news magazine), describing in layman’s language the importance of the research to the RLS community and the recipient’s intention for future research.
  2. Use the terminology restless legs syndrome in all grant-related publications and correspondence.
  3. For 1-year awards, agree to submit a progress report after 6 months and 12 months from the starting date of the grant.
  4. Acknowledge the RLS Foundation’s support in any published work or audiovisual productions resulting from research that the Foundation has supported. (Provide pdf copies of any reprints to the Executive Director of the RLS Foundation.)
  5. Agree, if RLS Foundation funded research is commercialized or generates revenues, to devote a portion of the revenues to repaying the entire amount of the grant received, plus interest at the-prevailing prime rate, to the Foundation. Interest will be calculated semi-annually on the unpaid portion of the amount to be repaid.

Lastly, the intent of the RLS Foundation Research Grant Program is to provide seed monies to support researchers in their research endeavors and help them obtain the data to successfully request large scale funding elsewhere.

Thus, while an application may be also submitted to other organizations or agencies for funding, the applicant may not receive funding from the RLS Foundation, if any of those other projects are awarded or funded prior to the award being granted by the RLS Foundation.

The applicant will notify the RLS Foundation in writing of award funding for the same proposal from another organization and withdraw the application from consideration.

Costs Not Permitted

The following costs are not allowable under the RLS Foundation’s grant programs:

  • New construction, alterations, or renovations of existing facilities
  • Consultant fees, unless specified in the original grant application
  • Travel costs
RLS Research Grant Program

The RLS Grant Program started in 1997 and has funded 49 grants totalling nearly $2 million. Funding is provided by generous individual donors. We thank all of the donors who have given in memory of Robert H. (Bob) Waterman, Jr. who was responsible for spearheading the RLS Research Grant Program in 1997. Help us to continue to fund promising new RLS research.

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