The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announced today the launch of its Community Fast Track, 2004 research initiative. Following on the success of the first Community Fast Track in 2003, the 2004 program commits up to $4 million to stimulate novel, innovative and high-impact approaches to the field of Parkinson’s research.
“We are pleased once again to invite other Parkinson’s organizations, both regional and national, to participate in this effort,” stated Deborah W. Brooks, executive director of MJFF. “Community Fast Track is quickly building an impressive track record as we strive toward our common goal of curing PD.”
Fast Track is an investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed program that considers a broad range of research applications relevant to the cure, cause, prevention or improved treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It was designed to support cutting-edge research, while streamlining the grant-making process and compressing the timeline in which scientists receive award money.
As a result of the success of the program in attracting applications from researchers around the world, the grant review committee has instituted a new process to minimize application time, while maintaining the rigor of the scientific review. The 2004 program will now require a two-page letter of intent that asks researchers to highlight both the projects relevance to Parkinson’s and the new and novel aspects of the proposed research. The most promising will be invited to submit full proposals. This two-step process will reduce the time demand on most applicants and allow reviewers to spend more time evaluating and discussing the top proposals for funding.
In 2003, eight national and regional organizations joined together to support the $4 million Community Fast Track program. In addition to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, contributors to the program included: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, National Parkinson Foundation, The Parkinson Alliance and Parkinson’s Unity Walk, Parkinson Association of the Sacramento Region, Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland, and Lawrence County Parkinson's Association.
From 2001 through 2003, the Fast Track program awarded approximately $9.5 million in 53 two-year grants. Past studies have included projects in areas such as genetics, neuroprotection and restorative treatment strategies. MJFF anticipates that the portfolio will continue to broaden in response to applications studying the newest and most relevant Parkinson’s research topics.
Mandatory letters of intent are due by June 28, 2004. Applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by July 30, 2004, with full applications due by September 8, 2004. Grants are expected to be awarded by year-end.