Research Funding

PSG Mentored Clinical Research Award (MCRA)

The mission of the Parkinson Study Group is to advance knowledge about the cause(s), pathogenesis and clinical impact of Parkinson disease and related disorders and to develop and implement scientific strategies to examine promising therapeutic interventions.

Proposal Criteria

  • The research plan should entail patient-oriented research in PD or other parkinsonian disorders, and address unmet needs of people living with these conditions.
  • The research findings should have the potential for broad application among the PD/parkinsonism community.
  • The work proposed should have potential to lead to advances in clinically relevant treatment options.
  • The proposal should be hypothesis driven and carry an appropriate data analysis plan.
  • The scope of work should be achievable within the 1 year funding period and appropriate for the budget of the award.
  • The project should include a clearly described mentorship plan.
Award Details for Grant Cycle 2024-2025:
  • Applications start on February 1, 2024.
  • The deadline to apply is April 1, 2024. 
  • The program will run May 13, 2024 – May 12, 2025.


  • Any early career investigator (i.e., MD or PhD within 5 years of completing training) seeking to become an independent researcher in the field of PD, or
  • Any established investigator beginning a new line of research for which preliminary clinical data are needed.

Applications will be reviewed by the PSG Mentorship Committee according to the criteria and timelines described. Successful applicants will be required to submit a short written summary of progress at six months and at one year after funding. The awardee will be required to attend a future (TBD) annual PSG meeting in order to present the results of their research, with meeting expense to be supported by the PSG separate from the grant award.

Application Process:

  • Cover letter stating intent and clearly stating if submission is a revision of a proposal previously submitted.
  • Applications that have been revised and are being resubmitted should include a brief Introduction (no more than 1 page) addressing the response to the prior reviewers’ comments. Indicate actual changes in the revised application using some convention, such as bold, italic or highlighting text, unless the changes are so extensive that this is not practical. In the latter case, please indicate this clearly in the introduction to the revised application.
  • Abbreviated NIH format proposal (maximum=6 pages) to include the specific aims of the study, background, preliminary studies, research design and methods, plus references, and a protocol synopsis and schedule of activities, if applicable.
  • Clinical research proposals need not be pre-approved by institutional IRB, but should include a Human Subjects section that addresses concerns pertaining to risk, benefit and consent (not included in the 6 page limit).
  • A Budget and brief Budget Justification are required for all funds requested. No indirect costs will be funded.
  • An NIH-style biosketch.
  • A letter of support from the PSG Mentor that you intend to work with endorsing the project.

PSG 2022-2023 Mentored Clinical Research Awardee:
Mitra Afshari, MD, MPH

Dr. Mitra Afshari is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Rush University in Chicago, IL, Division of Movement Disorders Neurology where she works as a clinician, deep brain stimulation specialist, young investigator, and Associate Fellowship Director.  Mitra is originally from Chicago, where she completed her undergraduate (Biomedical Engineering), medical school, and residency training at Northwestern University. She completed her fellowship at the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), where she received comprehensive training in neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and her research interest in technology-enabled care blossomed under the auspices of Drs. Nicholas Galifianakis, Caroline Tanner, and Jill Ostrem. Mitra’s research career goal is to become an independent health services researcher, interfacing technology and clinical care to develop innovative and accessible clinical care solutions for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. This goal reflects her training in Biomedical Engineering, Public Health, and Movement Disorders Neurology. The project Mitra will be working on, under the fine mentorship of Dr. Christopher Goetz, involves the testing of a novel and innovative telemedicine-based protocol to improve home safety and prevent falls in PD patients. The data from this project is informing a larger trial for fall prevention for which she has submitted an NIH K23 proposal. 

PSG Visiting Mentorship Program (VMP)

The PSG Visiting Mentorship Program is funded by a grant from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. The goal of this program is to promote the continued development of newly trained movement disorders clinician-researchers into world-class investigators. This initiative focuses on the mentorship of young investigators committed to clinical research in the Parkinson arena by seasoned, established clinical investigators. While there are several courses and conference that a young investigator can participate in, there is no substitute for a personal mentor-mentee relationship, where the mentor can review the mentee’s proposed initiative(s), and meet with the mentee’s team, local set up, and provide in-person sage advice.

This award cycle, the PSG has funding for four (4) mentor/mentee partnership with a total funding of $7,450 for each partnership. See the budget breakdown below for further details.

Words from PSG Visiting Mentorship Program Participants:

Mentee Eligibility:

  • Any early career investigator (i.e., MD or PhD) seeking to become an independent researcher in the field of PD
  • Within 10 years from their fellowship training in Movement Disorders
  • With a proposed area of investigation in Parkinson disease or other forms ofparkinsonism

Mentor Eligibility:

  • Active PSG Members who are established investigators in the areas of their mentee’s interest
  • Must be someone from outside of the mentee’s institution
  • Must agree to travel to the mentee’s institution for at least one in-person meeting to include delivering one lecture (e.g. Grand Rounds, teaching conference), and have one roundtable discussion with the local team
  • After initial meeting, must provide written feedback to the mentee, with a copy sent to the PSG Mentorship Committee
  • Must agree to have 2-3 brief teleconferences with the mentee throughout the year to follow up on the progress of the mentee’s project

Application Process

Application Requirements

  • Research proposal
    • Format: Background, Objectives, Methods, Significance, Timeline of milestones (1 page limit)
    • Proposal must be based on a one-year project
    • Needs to be an investigation into an aspect of PD
  • NIH-style biosketch
  • Mentor letter stating their willingness to participate as a mentor for the applicant if selected


Project Budget

  • Mentor stipend = $5,000
  • Economy airfare for mentor to travel to mentee’s institution = $600
  • Hotel accommodations for 1-2 nights = $600
  • Lunch or dinner with the mentee’s team = $1,000
  • Incidental travel costs for the mentor = $250
  • Total budget per mentor/mentee partnership = $7,450

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Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Parkinson's Disease

Funded by the Parkinson's Foundation and American Brain Foundation, in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology

The application period is June 1, 2022 – September 1, 2022.

This award aims to recognize the importance of rigorous clinical research and to encourage early-career investigators in clinical studies in Parkinson’s disease.

This award will consist of a commitment of $65,000 per year for two years, plus a $10,000 per year stipend to support education and research-related costs for a total of $150,000. Supplementation of the award with other grants is permissible, but to be eligible to apply for this award, the other grant source(s) cannot exceed $75,000 annually.

Important Dates:

  • September 1, 2022: Application deadline: Note that this is the deadline for all documents, including those from the mentor and chair. Applications will be declined if this information is not submitted by September 1.
  • January 2023: Notification of recipients
  • July 1, 2023: Funding begins


  1. For the purpose of this scholarship, research is defined as “patient-oriented research conducted with human participants, or translational research specifically designed to develop treatments or enhance diagnosis of neurologic disease. These areas of research include epidemiologic or behavioral studies, clinical trials, studies of disease mechanisms, the development of new technologies, and health services and outcomes research.” Disease-related studies not directly involving humans or human tissue are also encouraged if the primary goal is the development of therapies, diagnostic tests, or other tools to prevent or mitigate neurological diseases.
  2. Recipient must be an AAN member interested in an academic career in neurological research who has completed residency or a PhD no more than 5 years before the beginning of this award (July 1, 2023). If you have completed both residency and a PhD, your eligibility is based on when you completed residency. If you completed a fellowship of any kind after residency, your eligibility is still based on the date you finished residency.
  3. Applicants at accredited US and international institutions are eligible.