Funding Agency:
Muscular Dystrophy Association

Discovery Research 

Discovery research includes the search for understanding the causes of disease, unraveling pathways involved in disease, identifying novel drug targets, and testing new strategies to treat disease. The goal for discovery research is to form a solid foundation which informs and accelerates all subsequent drug development. Since each rare disease poses unique challenges to therapy development, discovery research may include various types of studies related to the unmet needs of each disorder including the creation of improved disease models, biomarker discovery, and the identification of the genetic causes of disease, among others.

  •  Research Grants

  •  Development Grants

Letters of Intent are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on December 1.

Grant applications are due by 5 p.m. ET on January 31.

Translational Research

MDA’s translational research program represents an innovative way to fund research that’s designed to move new drug targets into the clinic as rapidly and efficiently as possible. The program was developed in response to the increasing number of promising therapeutic avenues for neuromuscular diseases that have developed from MDA's discovery research program.

MDA Venture Philanthropy is the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s drug development program, which is exclusively focused on funding the discovery and clinical application of treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases. MVP funds projects from proof-of-principle studies through phase 2 trials. For-profit entities are required to contribute funds that match or exceed MDA’s contribution. MDA will negotiate return on investment. Projects funded by MVP are milestone-driven projects, with funds released according to the completion of pre-agreed upon sections of the project.

Deadline for receipt of letters of intent (LOI):

  • March 1
  • June 1
  • Sept. 1
  • Dec. 1

Clinical Research 

MDA’s clinical research program supports the continued development of exciting therapies in the pipeline moving into testing in humans. This includes human clinical trials testing repurposed drugs and non-drug interventions as well as clinical research studies which are non-interventional. As part of the Clinical Research program, MDA also supports clinician scientists in training as well as clinical research networks and travel grants to aid patients traveling to and from clinical research sites.

  • Clinical Research Grants: Applications will be accepted once per year with Letters of Intent due April 1 and the application due August 1. 

  •  Clinical Research Network Grants: Applications will be accepted once per year with Letters of Intent due April 1 and the application due August 1.

  •  Clinical Trial Travel Grants

Infrastructure Grants 

Infrastructure Grants are designed to support the development of tools, techniques and services of need to the neuromuscular research community. The main review criterion for this grant is need for the infrastructure to further research for the purpose of therapy development. Recipients of an MDA Infrastructure Grant must develop a plan to make this MDA-funded resource available to the research community and have a plan for sustaining the infrastructure beyond the period of MDA support. Letters of support from the community are an essential part of the application.

Applications will be accepted once per year with Letters of Intent due April 1 and the application due August 1.

Conference Grants 

MDA supports conferences, meetings, and workshops which facilitate the exchange of scientific ideas and crucial information relevant to diseases under the MDA umbrella.

Letters of Intent for Conference Grants will be accepted twice per year due on January 15th and July 15th. 

Agency Website



Amount Description

Funding levels for primary Research Grants are unlimited. Development grants are a maximum of $60,000 per year. Overhead is limited to a maximum of 10% percent of direct costs to be included in the total amount of the grant request.

Funding Type



Medical Fellow/Resident
Post Doctoral Fellows


Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science

External Deadline

December 1, 2020