What We Fund

All funding programs support translational research to accelerate the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

As the Institute defines it, these diseases include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Vascular contributions to the above diseases (not stroke-mediated vascular disease)
  • Prodromes to the listed diseases, including
    • Mild cognitive impairment as prodromal to Alzheimer’s disease
    • REM sleep behaviour disorder as prodromal to Parkinson’s disease

Proposed projects may relate to any disease(s) but must have impact on the diseases above and will be adjudicated based on their potential impact on these diseases.


Projects must meet two conditions to be eligible:

  1. Be translational research that helps accelerate the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging
  2. Be the development of a therapeutic and/or tool

The Institute defines translational research to be applied research towards developing therapeutics for the prevention and/or treatment of human disease. For example, for small molecule drug development, this includes target validation to Phase II clinical trials. Basic/discovery research, including but not limited to understanding disease mechanisms and discovering genes implicated in disease, is not in scope.


Therapeutics definition:

The Institute defines a therapeutic to be a pharmacological approach (including small molecules, biologics, cell therapies and vaccines, including drug repositioning and repurposing), medical device, surgical intervention, or magnetic or electrical brain stimulation. Complementary approaches such as exercise, acupuncture, music, dietary and nutritional supplements are not considered therapeutics. Therapeutics can be for symptomatic relief, disease modification, or prevention. Identification of novel therapeutics is in scope; however, identification of novel targets is out of scope.


Tools definition:

Tool: An item that accelerates development of therapeutics, e.g., imaging techniques or reagents, biomarkers, and diagnostics.

  • Tools must have direct impact on the translational development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging. Any value the tools contribute to basic research will not be taken into consideration. For example, tools will not be valued for their ability to help identify new targets.
  • A strong rationale and hypothesis must be provided for the development of a tool, including how the tool will have a direct impact on translational research as defined by the Institute (i.e., target validation to phase IIa clinical trials).
  • Projects covering only the discovery/identification of a tool are out of scope.

About specific tools:

For biomarkers – note that the Novel Biomarkers 2017 program has additional restrictions on which biomarkers are in scope, e.g. it does not support biomarker identification as listed here. Please refer to specific program details before you apply.

  • Post mortem tissue can only be used for validation (not identification) of biomarkers. For example, “omics” studies on post mortem tissue are generally out of scope.
  • If the project covers biomarker identification, biomarker identification alone is not in scope:
    • The identification must be a finite process that is directly linked to a validation process, and the project must also cover at least a portion of the validation of the identified biomarkers
    • All the data necessary for identification must already be available/collected.
    • All the data necessary for validation must also be available/collected unless there is sufficient justification to collect new samples (e.g., samples cannot be stored).
    • Validation of markers must occur in a well-defined clinical cohort.

For cognitive assessment tools

  • Must have a strong hypothesis and already have available a dataset to validate the assessment.
  • Requires discussion of why the new assessment would be better than existing ones.

The identification of genes implicated in diseases is not in scope.

Important things to know about the Institute:

  • We do not fund basic research. We only fund translational research.
  • We do not fund complementary approaches.
  • Funds are provided contingent on meeting milestones. If your project is awarded, funds are provided in tranches as experimental milestones are successfully completed.
  • Our application process is interactive. You will likely receive feedback on your application and may be asked to make modifications.
  • Many projects are declined at the Letter of Intent (LOI) stage. Only ~15% of LOIs are invited to the Proposal phase, so that applicants and reviewers spend their time on Proposals that have an excellent chance of being funded. Proposal funding rates have ranged from 30-100%.
  • We provide more than funding. Our grantees may also benefit from things such as expert advice from our scientific advisors, industry exposure, and networking opportunities.