Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Research Program -- Therapeutic Idea Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY20 ALSRP Therapeutic Idea Award supports hypothesis-driven therapeutic development and is designed to promote new ideas aimed at drug or treatment discovery that are still in the early stages of development. Development and/or modification of preclinical model systems or the application of high-throughput screens to define or assess lead compounds for ALS treatment may also be proposed. All research projects should include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale that holds translational potential to improve ALS treatment and/or advance a novel treatment modality. Preliminary data are not required. While the inclusion of preliminary data is not prohibited, the strength of the application should not rely on preliminary data, but on the innovative approach.

Projects that focus primarily on investigating the pathophysiology of ALS, without consideration of therapeutic development, are not within the scope of this Funding Opportunity. 

Innovation and impact are important aspects of the Therapeutic Idea Award. Research deemed innovative may introduce a new paradigm, challenge current paradigms, introduce novel concepts or technologies, or exhibit other uniquely creative qualities that may lead to potential therapeutics for ALS. Impact may be near-term or long-term, but must be significant and move beyond an incremental advancement. 

The Therapeutic Idea Award encourages applications submitted by early career investigators as well as applications that include meaningful and productive collaborations between investigators. Applicants from outside the ALS research field are encouraged to include collaborators with the necessary relevant expertise, such as experience with ALS model systems, endpoints, and pathogenic findings.  

Therapeutically Relevant Biomarker Option: The FY20 ALSRP Therapeutic Idea Award Therapeutically Relevant Biomarker Option encourages applicants to include the development of biomarker(s) in parallel with the main proposed Therapeutic Idea Award research effort. Additional funding, as described in Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, is being offered for the co-development of biomarkers that will enhance the drug development process. Efforts may include development of target engagement biomarkers, objective pharmacodynamic biomarkers to measure the biological effect of an investigational therapeutic, or predictive/cohort-selective biomarkers that indicate whether a specific therapy will be effective in an individual patient or patient subgroup. Development of markers for the purposes of diagnosis, prognosis, or measurement of disease progression without consideration of the therapeutic development process will not be supported. 

• Pre-Application Deadline: March 27, 2020
• Invitation to Submit an Application: May 2020
• Application Submission Deadline: July 23, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) are eligible to be named as Principal Investigator (PI).

Early career investigators (defined as independent, non-mentored investigators within 5 years of their last training position e.g., postdoctoral fellowship, medical residency, clinical fellowship as of the application submission deadline) are encouraged to apply.

An eligible PI, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or citizenship status, must be employed by, or affiliated with, an eligible organization.



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY20 ALSRP Therapeutic Idea Award will not exceed $500,000. The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY20 ALSRP Therapeutic Idea Award with the Therapeutically Relevant Biomarker Option will not exceed $600,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information. 

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Medical Fellow/Resident
Post Doctoral Fellows


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

March 27, 2020