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Submit Proposal

Submit a Research Proposal

“Science has come a long way in the past several years in discovering the cellular processes that are affected by PLS and HSP. I look forward to the day that we have a cure.”

- Mark Weber, Esq., chairman of the SPF Research Grant Committee.

The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation is dedicated to advancing research and ultimately finding the cures for two closely related groups of neurodegenerative disorders termed Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and Primary Lateral Sclerosis. These conditions share the common pathologic feature of degeneration principally of the upper motor neurons.

The impetus for forming the Foundation was inspired by the accelerating pace of research on these conditions. Dramatic breakthroughs have been made in the past decade, catapulting these conditions from being poorly understood to being on the threshold of significant treatment and cures.

Scientists have unraveled many of the riddles regarding the complicated biochemistry of these diseases. Many HSP genes have now been discovered as well as a gene for PLS. Animal models for these disorders are underway. These will enable investigators to uncover the biochemical processes that cause nerve degeneration and identify and test therapy targets.

  • Read 2021 Guidelines for Submitting a Research Proposal

    2021 Research Grant Guidelines

    Who We Are

    The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation (SPF) was created in 2002 as a non-profit health organization. Our goals are:

    -  to fund research into the causes, therapies, and cures for hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS),

    -  to provide educational materials, conferences and gatherings for people affected by these disorders, and

    -  to foster support among the patients and families affected by these disorders.

    Our goal will be reached when all those with HSP and PLS are diagnosed, treated, and cured. With our research grant program, we strive to help make that day a reality.

    2021 Research Grants:

    Grants up to $75,000 per year will be awarded for one and two-year proposals. (Maximum grant of $150,000 over two years.) Proposals on any aspect of hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) or primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) will be considered.

    Research grants may provide “seed monies” to assist investigators with new ideas, early or pilot phases of studies, or as supplemental support in ongoing investigations. We anticipate that early studies funded by the SPF will develop into projects that can successfully attract future funding from other sources.

    We encourage everyone who may apply for a grant to examine the list of previously funded proposals at: .

    DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: October 29, 2021

    Separate PLS and HSP Grants

    The SPF intends to invest approximately the same amount of money funding PLS proposals as we will on HSP proposals. Proposals dealing with PLS will therefore not compete with proposals for HSP. As a result, the SPF could fund a PLS proposal even though it is ranked lower than an HSP proposal that did not receive funding (and visa versa).

    Publicity and Confidentiality

    The title of each study funded by the SPF, the name of the principal investigator, as well as his or her institution, city and state will be published on our web page, newsletter, annual report and wherever else the SPF feels is appropriate. Accordingly, each grant application must include a title, understandable to the lay public.

    All other parts of the grant application are considered confidential and will be released only to members of the SPF Scientific Advisory Board, the Research Grant Committee, and the Board of Directors.

    Grant recipients are encouraged to provide information and patient samples collaboratively to other researchers in the field.

    2021 Application Procedure

    Proposal Contents:

    1. The formal title of the proposal, and a second, modified title that is understandable to the lay public and will be used by the SPF for public relations and publicity purposes.

    2. Research target (HSP, PLS or both). Note that a proposal concerning the genetic aspects of PLS will be considered a PLS proposal, not a complicated HSP proposal.

    3. Specific goals. Briefly indicate what specific aim(s) the research proposed in the application intends to accomplish.

    4. Background and significance.
    5. Research design and methods. Describe techniques and scientific approach. I

    6. Facilities available and budget. Do not include indirect costs, equipment or conference expenses, or PI salary. All amounts must be in US dollars.

    7. Criticality of SPF funding for your proposed project.

    8. SPF grant recipients are encouraged to collaborate and share data and/or patient samples with other SPF grant recipients. Your proposal should state if, when and how the knowledge gained in the performance of research under the proposed grant will be shared.

    9. Curriculum vitae/biographical sketch and bibliography.

    Proposal Page Limit:

    Proposals shall be no more than 8 pages long (excluding CV/ bio sketch and bibliography).

    DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: October 29, 2021

    Proposal Delivery:

    October 29, 2021 is the deadline for emailing your complete application (as a PDF file) to the SPF. Please email it to . You will receive an acknowledgement of your submission – in one to two days. If you do not receive it, please re-submit the proposal with a note that it was previously sent.

    All applications will be reviewed by the SPF’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which will evaluate and rank all proposals. The Board of Directors will be guided by the recommendations of its SAB in making its final funding decisions.

    Funding decisions will be based on the ranking assigned to each proposal, and the amount of available funds. HSP and PLS proposals will not compete against each other.

    Funding decisions will be announced to applicants by approximately May 30, 2022. Researchers awarded a grant will sign a contract with the SPF and will be asked to provide a short progress report every six months.


    When a paper or poster by an SPF Research Grant recipient, based on work supported by an SPF grant, is published or presented before a scientific organization, a copy of the paper or poster must be emailed to the SPF as either a PDF or MS Word file.

    All papers, posters and exhibits by an SPF Research Grant recipient, based on work supported by an SPF grant, must carry a credit line to the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation, Inc.

    A short, final report must be submitted to the SPF within four months of end of the grant period. The SPF will publish this report on its web site, in its annual report, and wherever else it deems appropriate. It must be written so that the average lay person can understand it. The SPF takes seriously its responsibility to its contributors to report to them on the use of their donations.

    Further Information:

    Funding can be used to cover expenses such as technical assistance, supplies, and small equipment.

    Funding cannot be used to cover overhead, equipment or conference expenses, or other indirect costs.

    The SPF Scientific Advisory Board will review all applications for scientific merit.

    Clinical drug trials must meet the requirements established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    If a study involves humans, copies of the Informed Consent and the Institutional Review Board (Ethics Committee) approvals are required from each site involved in the study before payment.

    If a study involves human gene therapy, please submit a copy of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) review or waiver of review.

    Grant recipients may be asked to serve on our Scientific Advisory Board and will be expected to do so if asked.

    These two-year grants are intended to help an investigator explore a new idea, or to collect preliminary data that can lead to a larger-scale proposal.

    Proposals from new, young investigators are encouraged.

    Proposals should explore no more than one or two Aims, as the scope (time and funding amount) does not realistically permit more.

    Proposals should indicate, briefly, what the investigator thinks will come next after this Aim is accomplished.

    Proposals that demonstrate an awareness that experimental results sometimes do not turn out as expected—and a fallback plan—are encouraged.

    Novel ideas and approaches, and a high degree of relevance or applicability to HSP/PLS are preferred.

    Questions or inquiries may be directed to .