Grants and Funding
TS Alliance Research Grants Program
The TS Alliance endeavors to stimulate, support and coordinate research that will lead to a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) while improving the lives of those affected. Most TS Alliance research grants support small, focused projects that allow investigators to develop preliminary data to compete for funding from larger organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other TS Alliance research grants support postdoctoral fellowships to encourage young investigators to engage in TSC research. Many of these investigators will continue to pursue TSC research when they establish their own independent laboratories.
Researchers funded by the TS Alliance have a strong history of obtaining additional funding: between 1984 and 2017, principal investigators who received a total of $20.3 million from the TS Alliance subsequently garnered an additional $15.6 million from the Department of Defense’s Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program and $326 million from the NIH.
2019 Grant Cycle
- Letters of intent (LOIs) are due by Monday, April 8 at 11:59 pm Eastern.
- Full proposals from invited applicants will be due in August.
Tips for Applicants
- Please review the full program guidelines and LOI application instructions carefully.
- The application process is handled through proposalCENTRAL.
- At the full proposal stage, we require a signature from your institution’s sponsored projects office. Please be in touch with them early in the process to ensure the signature is received before the submission deadline.
- Please review our standard award terms and conditions.
Our grant application process consists of a Letter of Intent (LOI) stage followed by a full proposal stage. LOIs are generally due in May. We invite full proposals in June, with a due date two months later. Successful applicants are notified in the fourth quarter of the year. All contracts must be executed by the last business day of December.
In the spring, applicants submit a brief LOI outlining their specific aims and the relevance of their proposed work to TSC, and generally describing the rationale and any preliminary data supporting the approach. The LOIs will be evaluated by external peer reviewers. We will invite a subset of applicants to submit full proposals. We encourage invited applicants to reach out to the TS Alliance Chief Scientific Officer during the preparation of the full proposals, in order to optimize alignment of the scientific proposal with the organization’s goals and areas of emphasis.
The full proposals will be evaluated by external peer reviewers and at least one layperson from the TSC community. Evaluation criteria include:
- Significance of the proposed work to the TS Alliance mission
- Innovation or novelty of the approach, data, or observations
- Scientific merit, including quality and rigor of the rationale, approach, and interpretation
- Appropriateness of the study design
- Feasibility of the project, given the time frame and budget
- Postdoctoral fellowships only: strength of the candidate’s recommendations, productivity, and qualifications for successfully carrying out the proposed research
The review panel’s recommendations will then be reviewed by the Science and Medical Committee of the TS Alliance Board of Directors. Funding requires approval from both the Committee and the full Board of Directors.
Types of Grants
- Postdoctoral Fellowship awards may support any type of basic or translational research relevant to TSC that provides an outstanding opportunity for the trainee’s professional growth.
- Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are intended to provide funding for an individual who has recently earned a PhD or MD degree and is working with a Sponsor to perform research relevant to TSC.
- The Sponsor must be tenure-track faculty or an equivalent level at a research institution or company. The award is intended to fund the applicant’s salary and some of the laboratory supplies or tools necessary to conduct the proposed research. The award is not intended to fund technical support for the project or to purchase equipment in the Sponsor’s laboratory. The trainee applicant is considered to be the “Principal Investigator” for the purpose of postdoctoral fellowship awards.
- Research Grant proposals should address one of the following four high-priority areas:
- Understanding phenotypic heterogeneity in TSC, i.e., research on genetic, biologic, or environmental factors that might explain why TSC is so different from person to person
- Gaining a deeper knowledge of TSC signaling pathways and the cellular consequences of TSC deficiency
- Improving TSC disease models, whether cell-based, tissue-based, or animal models
- Developing clinical biomarkers or patient-reported outcome measures for TSC, particularly those that assess disease burden or stratify an individual’s risk of progression or developing specific manifestations of TSC
- Research Grant awards are intended to provide funding for an independent researcher, whether tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty or staff, or an equivalent level at a research institution or company. The award may support laboratory supplies, personnel costs, services, or equipment necessary to conduct the proposed research.
- The TS Alliance fully supports collaborative projects between co-investigators, but only one investigator may be considered the “Principal Investigator” for the purpose of applying through the online system.
Duration and Budget
- Typical duration is two years. Can be shorter if appropriate for the project.
- Maximum total costs of $75,000 per year ($150,000 total).
- Postdoctoral Fellowship proposals must include up to $1,500 for travel expenses to attend a relevant scientific meeting. This is optional but strongly encouraged for Research Grant proposals.
For research grants, including postdoctoral fellowships, the TS Alliance allows no more than 10 percent of the total costs to be applied to indirect costs. As an example, a maximum of $15,000 indirect costs may be included within an award totaling $150,000.
This opportunity is open to all investigators at established academic or research institutions or at pharmaceutical or biotech companies worldwide. Researchers residing in the United States do not need to be U.S. citizens to apply for funding.
Additional Grant Policies
- TS Alliance Intellectual Property Policy
- TS Alliance Human and Animal Use Policy
- TS Alliance Policy on the Use of Human Fetal Tissue and/or Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Research
Keith Hall Research Grant Award
The Keith Hall Research Grant Award was established in memory of Keith Hall, an adult with TSC and a former TS Alliance board chair and community leader. Keith participated extensively in several TS Alliance volunteer capacities and was a “gentle giant” to so many people who knew him. Keith passed away July 23, 2017 after a battle with cancer and left an incredible legacy of caring for others and inspiring hundreds of children, teens and adults with TSC to embrace life and live it to the fullest, despite any challenges they may face. Keith’s major long-term concerns and goals included:
- Addressing the needs of adults with TSC
- Living with kidney involvement
- Increasing participation to the TSC Natural History Database
- Donating tissue for research
- Making involvement in clinical trials easy for anyone
- Investing in TSC research grants
Each year, the TS Alliance Board of Directors designates one grant in an area of Keith’s interest as the Keith Hall Research Grant Award.
Current and Previous Grant Awards
Other TSC Funding Opportunities
Additional funding opportunities for TSC research may be available through the federal agencies and non-federal organizations listed below. The TS Alliance also looks to collaborate with other organizations that have shared research priorities and are interested in partnering or co-funding opportunities.
If you would like to add your organization to the list below or are interested in the possibility of exploring co-funding opportunities, please contact Steve Roberds.
For Inquiries, Contact:
Calvin Ho, PhD
Science Project Coordinator