The A-T Children’s Project will not be accepting any grant applications for the September 1, 2020 deadline due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 situation.
Dear Research Scientists and Physicians,
We are thrilled that you are thinking about approaching the A-T Children’s Project with an innovative and compelling strategy for investigating a specific facet of ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).
The A-T Children’s Project, families of A-T children, and many generous volunteers work tirelessly to raise funds so that we can accelerate promising research toward breakthroughs for A-T. For this reason, we try to be careful and efficient in how we use the funds that trusting supporters have raised or donated.
Whom We Fund
Proposals from young investigators, established principal investigators and clinicians, scientists from other disciplines, and individuals with innovative new ideas for A-T research are encouraged, from academia as well as industry. Scientists from the US and around the globe are welcome to apply for our funding.
Our Levels of Support
One- and two-year proposals are funded up to a maximum total direct cost of US $75,000 per year. Prior to the end of our grants, investigators are encouraged to begin seeking additional support from other funding sources such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) if needed to continue their work.
Short-term “bridge funding” may very rarely be provided to investigators who are applying for funding from other sources such as the NIH and need interim support while generating preliminary data necessary for their application. We limit this bridge funding support to a maximum of $50,000 and one year.
As the A-T Children’s Project is also eager to encourage young laboratory scientists and clinical researchers to become involved in A-T research, we offer a Post Doctoral Fellowship Award, the level of funding for which is in the range of US $30,000 – $40,000 per year for two years.
Our greatest interest is in funding translational and clinical research projects, particularly those projects focused on the neurological problems faced by all patients with A-T. We are desperate to deliver new ideas from A-T research with practical relevance for patients into the hands of experts involved in drug discovery and clinical development. We have interest in disease-modifying strategies that would prevent, slow, or stop the progression of the disease as well as symptom-improving strategies that address neural circuit function, immune system health and lung function.
We may occasionally support earlier-stage discovery research, but only if the results of those early-stage projects will clearly (a) reveal and accelerate a path to new treatments (such as validating a drug target) or (b) produce a tool or resource that will help accelerate the development of treatments (such as an A-T animal model that has an obvious neurological impairment, a viral vector that can carry the ATM gene, or a validated disease biomarker that can more quickly measure or predict the efficacy of treatments for the neurological problems of A-T).
Because many governments, non-profits and companies worldwide already spend billions of dollars annually on cancer research – some of which is likely to benefit A-T patients – we are unlikely to award grants to applications proposing research on the role of the ATM protein in cancer or focused on strategies for treating cancer in A-T patients.
Unfortunately, although we are wildly enthusiastic fans of good science, our small organization cannot afford to support researchers who simply want to use a recently developed methodology (such as A-T iPS cells) in their lab, or who want us to fund their favorite area of focus around which they have built their career, if its relevance to A-T requires a real stretch. It’s natural for passionate scientists to sincerely believe that their field or approach is most relevant to A-T, but we need to be more objective. We hope that you can appreciate our position on this.
With advice from our Board of Directors and Scientific Advisors, we have established some rules that we want you to understand before you put any effort into applying to us for funding.
- 100% of the funding we provide to you must be used for the direct costs of your A-T-related project. Because we are a small organization and have made promises to our donors about how we will use their donations, our grants cannot be used for administrative, overhead, or indirect costs that your institution may want applied to this project. Please let your institution know that this point is not negotiable.
- Upon awarding a grant to you, we will set a grant start date together. Regardless of your reason, if your research does not begin as planned within six months of that grant start date, we will terminate the grant. We will not be open to allowing no-cost extensions beyond that date, as you will be preventing us from supporting other researchers who are ready to start their work.
- We require you to submit progress reports every six months. Both the shorter mid-year progress report and the longer year-end progress report are not burdensome, especially compared to other grant-giving organizations.
- We do not believe that we should need to remind you that a progress report is due, and we believe that an investigator capable of running a rigorous research project should be able to keep track of a date. If we do not receive your progress report on time, we may terminate your grant.
- We may support the purchase of equipment that is critical for an A-T research project, but usually, we prefer to fund an investigator who works in a lab that already has the necessary equipment.
- As we are determined not to waste any of our donors’ hard-earned dollars, we do not usually pay for travel unless it will support collaborations necessary for the achievement of a proposal’s goals.
- Funding for proposals requiring Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval will be dependent upon and commence after IRB approval of the study protocol has been received.
- We will no longer fund neuroscience-related research proposals using Atm-/- mice as a model system. Although Atm null mice have proven to be beneficial models with regards to peripheral systems, these mice clearly do not mimic the human A-T neurological phenotype. Only a few investigators have published neurological differences between single mutant Atm-/- mice and wild type counterparts. Unfortunately, these differences are not robust, nor are they always reproducible within the same lab or from investigator to investigator in different laboratories.
- We will not fund any additional researchers eager to make iPS cell lines derived from A-T patient cells or by disrupting the ATM gene in normal or carrier cells. This work has been performed many times.
Some more Tips
- We are not impressed by your educational pedigree or the name of your current institution. But we are very impressed by a clearly-written, well-thought proposal that is as concise as possible while anticipating and addressing the questions that we and our advisors may have while reading it.
- We do not care if your research is performed in an academic or industry setting. It is all about innovative, novel research approaches to A-T performed by rigorous scientists in a cost-effective way.
- We know what A-T is. Please do not spend any time describing the generalities of the disease in your proposal.
- In recognition of the growing need for increased reproducibility in all areas of research, certain points regarding experimental design, minimizing bias and the discussion of results should be considered when preparing a grant application. These points are delineated in detail as part of the NIH/NINDS guidance document Improving the Quality of NINDS-Supported Preclinical and Clinical Research through Rigorous Study Design and Transparent Reporting.
- Meritorious proposals may be rejected if:
- The proposed research is too far from being relevant to a therapeutic intervention.
- Our scientific advisors find the research redundant and prior work does not need validation.
- The proposed research is likely to happen anyway, without our support.
- The proposed research cannot realistically be achieved with the proposed budget.
Resources for Investigators
The A-T Children’s Project welcomes investigators to contact Cynthia Rothblum-Oviatt, PhD, our Science Coordinator, if help is needed forming collaborations or obtaining reagents for A-T/ATM research.
Also, we welcome you to visit our Research Resources page.
Our Review Process
We are determined to find a timely cure, or life-improving treatments, for this serious disease. Grant awards are made through a careful and detailed selection process. Our scientific advisors examine each proposal and make their independent recommendations to our Board of Directors which then votes on each proposed project.
Letter of Intent (LOI)
The A-T Children’s Project will not be accepting any letters of intent for the September 1, 2020 deadline due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 situation.
Proposal Submission Information & Deadlines
The A-T Children’s Project will not be accepting any grant proposals for the September 1, 2020 deadline due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 situation.