The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, clinical training, and programmatic support in the United States and Canada. The Neilsen Foundation partners with scientific, charitable, and educational organizations conducting spinal cord injury research, training in spinal cord medicine, and supports grassroots organizations providing services to assist individuals affected by spinal cord injury. The Neilsen Foundation values diversity, equity, and inclusion and is dedicated to improving the world for persons with spinal cord injury.
The Spinal Cord Injury Research on the Translational Spectrum (SCIRTS) Portfolio advances novel approaches to improving function and developing curative therapies after SCI. This research is designed to improve understanding and advance the treatment of acute and chronic SCI and includes mechanistic, preclinical, translational and/or clinical studies.
This portfolio emphasizes SCI (vs. diseases or disorders that secondarily affect the spinal cord) and is intended to fill gaps in the field and to further develop new strategies to restore function resulting from SCI. The Neilsen Foundation does not intend to provide continuous funding to individual labs but to fund novel research throughout the translational spectrum.
SCIRTS Grants support research projects that include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
Mechanistic Research, including the development of novel strategies aimed at:
• Neuroprotection and/or elucidation of the pathological mechanisms that occur after SCI;
• Pathophysiology of the injured spinal cord;
• Promotion of neuronal survival, axonal regeneration, synaptogenesis, myelination, and functional connectivity after SCI;
• Transplantation strategies for SCI recovery;
• Pharmacological therapies to improve function after SCI;
• Bioengineering solutions to improve function in persons with SCI; and
• Chronic SCI treatment and issues related to aging with SCI.
Preclinical, Translational Research that will enable future clinical trials, such as:
• The effects of SCI and novel interventions on sensory and motor function;
• Use of preclinical models of SCI to develop interventions to alleviate complications of SCI including bowel, bladder, sexual and other autonomic dysfunctions, respiratory dysfunction, neuropathic pain, pressure sores, osteoporosis and the effects of aging with SCI; and
• Trial-enabling studies, e.g., to confirm the mechanism of action for novel therapeutics, dosing, toxicity, etc.
Clinical Research, such as:
• Studies to establish the natural history and progression of functional outcomes over time after SCI;
• Efforts to develop and validate outcome measures needed to facilitate definitive clinical trials in SCI populations; and
• Testing of innovative rehabilitation strategies and devices in persons with SCI.
Postdoctoral fellows may participate in an approved trial supported by the mentor’s other funding.
Funding for each year of the two-year project is up to $100,000, for a maximum total cost of $200,000
- Applicants must have a doctoral degree or an equivalent terminal professional degree (e.g., PhD, MD, DVM).
- The grantee must be a nonprofit academic/research institution or rehabilitation facility located in the United States or Canada with the capability to conduct grant-funded research.
- The Applicant is not required to be a citizen of the United States or Canada; however, the Applicant must be employed by an eligible grantee institution.
- The Applicant named in a grant application must be deemed eligible by the grantee organization to apply for a grant and is expected to be responsible for conduct of the research. Each application must include the appropriate endorsement of an institutional official who is responsible for the administration of grant funds.
- The Neilsen Foundation discourages Postdoctoral Fellows and their mentor(s) from submitting concurrent applications with overlapping Aims to multiple funding categories within this portfolio.
- It may not be necessary to provide preliminary data. Neilsen Foundation funding may be sought to allow the Applicant to obtain data to establish a line of research if the proposal provides strong rationale (i.e., support from the literature or use in an indication other than SCI) that justifies testing the hypotheses with the proposed experimental design. However, if feasibility issues add an unacceptable risk of failure, reviewers may note that preliminary data to address this risk should be provided.
See Application Guide for more information.