Before considering a proposal for a research project, the science professionals in the MDA Research department must make sure that the project conforms to MDA’s mission of advancing research aimed at developing effective treatments for the neuromuscular diseases in its program. A potential grant applicant also must demonstrate that he or she has the necessary scientific credentials to conduct high-level biomedical research.
Upon acceptance of the Letter of Intent, MDA invites the applicant to submit a full research proposal. Successful research proposals typically fill between 30 and 50 pages (10 pages for the Research Plan plus supporting documents), and take great care and thought to prepare. Writing a grant proposal affords researchers the opportunity to step back from the lab bench, assess the research team’s recent findings, review the scientific literature and formulate new experimental strategies.
After receiving the grant proposal, the Research department assigns it to be reviewed by two to three members of MDA’s Scientific, Medical, Translational or ad-hoc Advisory Committees. Reviewers use a fine-toothed comb and a skeptical eye, on constant watch for potential flaws in the proposal. They also take note of innovation, imagination and ingenuity. Reviewers scrutinize both the science and the scientist. Above all, MDA reviewers look for outstanding science that will lead to therapies.
MDA’s Board of Directors
MDA grantees must demonstrate that their research programs are progressing satisfactorily, and that they are spending the monetary gifts of MDA’s donors responsibly. They are required to submit annual research progress reports, expense reports and copies of scientific publications arising from their research, which are reviewed and subject to approval by MDA staff as a requirement for continued funding.