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Rapid Response Innovation Awards Program


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Part of our annual Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, the Rapid Response Innovation Awards (RRIA) program supports high-risk, high-reward projects with little-to-no existing preliminary data, but with potential to significantly impact our understanding of Parkinson’s disease (PD).  Moreover, this program is well-suited for early exploratory studies that may open the field up to new targets or pathways that may ultimately feed the early drug development pipeline for a treatment of PD.



No deadline; applications accepted anytime.

  • Informational Conference Call*: September 18, 2013 at 12pm US ET
  • Informational Conference Call*: March 26, 2014 at 12pm US ET

*MJFF will hold a 45-minute conference call on the date and time listed above to clarify and explain the goals of this funding initiative and answer applicant questions.  To participate in the call and receive call-in details, please RSVP via email to



PD is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nearly five million people worldwide, with significant prevalence growth expected due to an aging population. Current therapies are effective in addressing only the mild-to-moderate motor symptoms of the disease and have significant long-term side effects. There are few specific drugs available that target the numerous non-motor aspects of the disease or the underlying degenerative process.

The path from research discovery to the creation of a new treatment is long. New ideas about PD cause and progression lead scientists to propose numerous questions to further understand and refine these concepts. But for these ideas to translate into clinical significance for patients, work must move along a critical pipeline from novel ideas and discoveries to target validation to preclinical drug development and ultimately to human clinical testing. Keeping new ideas flowing along this therapeutic pipeline is paramount to ensuring development of new treatments for people with PD.

MJFF is helping to speed up drug development for PD with innovative strategies, like our annually launched Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, which identify roadblocks along the therapeutic development pipeline. By sharing the risk of drug development with academic and industry researchers alike, we hope to increase the movement of new treatments to the clinic.



The RRIA program supports innovative, high-risk, high-reward projects tackling critical scientific and therapeutic roadblocks that, if successful, open new avenues for PD therapy development. The program accelerates work in real time through the use of a unique rolling submission deadline and six-weeks-or-less funding decisions. The program is well suited to projects with little-to-no existing preliminary data, but where hypothetical rationale is highly compelling and study results can make the case for continuing (or discontinuing) a line of research. Applicants may submit on any PD-relevant area of basic, preclinical and/or clinical research with a clear, achievable one-year goal. 

MJFF encourages applicants to consider the innovation of their proposed project and how the outcomes of their project may impact the PD research arena.  Examples of suitable proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • Initial studies that can lay the foundation for novel PD research
  • Early drug development that could launch a new program for PD
  • Preliminary identification and characterization studies that may bring to light novel targets or link them to PD
  • Development or use of novel technologies:
    • That may impact patient well-being
    • That may accelerate scientific PD research

MJFF values applications that demonstrate ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.



MJFF will commit up to $10 million to the Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research with the intention to support multiple awards.  RRIA supports one-year grants up to $75,000 total costs inclusive of both direct and indirect costs. No more than 10% of the direct costs may go to indirect costs. Please see the program instructions, Administrative Guidelines and our FAQ on MJFF indirect cost policy for details.



Applications may be submitted by:

  • U.S. and non-U.S. biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies or other for-profit entities, either publicly or privately held,
  • U.S. and non-U.S. entities, public and private non-profit entities, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments, and eligible agencies of the federal government.

As therapeutic programs may require many kinds of expertise, MJFF encourages industry and academic collaborations when appropriate. Post-doctoral fellows are eligible to apply as Principal Investigator (PI), but must collaborate with an Administrative PI who serves as the director of the laboratory in which the research will be conducted. The Administrative PI will be responsible for assisting in providing all institutional documents required for the project and will be required to sign any award contract. Training or mentoring-only proposals will not be considered.



Please refer to our Administrative Guidelines. Note that any information listed above will supersede information contained in our general MJFF administrative guidelines.


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