FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I contact the Foundation about a donation?
Thank you for your generosity in supporting our fight against Parkinson's disease. If you have questions about how to help, please contact us during business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST) by phone at (800) 708-7644 or via email to email@example.com. If you call or email outside of business hours, please leave a message and we will respond the next business day.
I want to make a credit card gift but I don't like submitting the information over the Web.
Although donating online is a fast and secure way to make a gift, there are several alternatives available. You can print out the Downloadable Donation Forms (PDF), fill out all information, and mail or fax it to us at (212) 509-2390. You can also call us at (800) 708-7644 and we'll take your credit card information over the phone. Or, you can mail your check to us.
Is my credit card information secure?
The Michael J. Fox Foundation takes every precaution to protect our donors' information. When you submit sensitive information via the Web site, your information is protected both online and offline. We use the industry standard security protocol to communicate with your browser software, which makes it extremely difficult for anyone else to intercept the credit card information you send to us. Independent audits are also conducted on our practices to ensure the privacy, security and appropriate processing of your information on our site. In addition, we work to accurately process your contribution information.
My donation didn't go through. Why?
If you received an error message after completing your transaction, it is likely that the information provided, such as the credit card identification number, did not match exactly with what is on file at your bank. For further assistance, contact us at (800) 708-7644, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I find out more about the research my donation is supporting?
Can I make a recurring credit card donations?
Recurring gifts are a wonderful way to support the Foundation's vital work. Please see our Make a Donation page, contact us at (800) 708-7644 or email email@example.com and we will assist you.
What percentage of my donation goes to Parkinson's research?
The Michael J. Fox Foundation strives to make every dollar count as we seek a cure for Parkinson's disease. We keep a sharp eye on expenses. From inception, 89 cents of every dollar we've raised has gone to research-related activity. The Foundation does not stockpile funds in an endowment, choosing instead to identify the most promising Parkinson's disease research worldwide and commit resources to it as fast as possible. Furthermore, thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, 100% of Team Fox proceeds will go directly to research programs.
Can I make a donation in honor or memory of someone?
Yes. For more information about this process, please visit our Honor and Memory Gifts page. The Michael J. Fox Foundation will mail an acknowledgment card to your designated recipient or recipients, informing them of your donation (the amount of the gift is not included). You will receive a gift receipt for income tax purposes.
I can't find my receipt. Can I have another one?
We can send you a copy of your receipt. Please call us at (800) 708-7644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name as it appeared on your donation, your address, the date you made the donation and the amount. Please include a phone number or email address so we can get in touch with you if we need to.
Does the Foundation sell, rent or trade donor information (e.g., mailing and e-mail addresses and phone numbers) to other agencies?
The privacy of our donors is very important to us and we do not share or sell this information.
I donated several weeks ago. Why haven't I received a receipt?
This is not normally the case, so please call us at (800) 708-7644 or email email@example.com with as much information as possible about your donation. It's possible we had an incorrect address for you, so when you call or write, tell us your full name as it appeared on your donation, your address, the date you made the donation and the amount. It is also helpful if we know how you made the donation: check, credit card, online, etc. And please include your phone number or email address so we can respond as quickly as possible.
Does The Michael J. Fox Foundation issue tax receipts?
Yes, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, tax-exempt organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code. When you contribute over $5 to the Foundation, you will receive a charitable tax receipt for income tax purposes. Our tax ID number is 13-4141945. For all other donations, your canceled check or credit card statement can serve as record of your donation.
You can expect your receipt for your donation within one to three weeks from the date you send it in. If you make your gift online, your receipt will be emailed to you.
If you are making a recurring donation through your credit card, your contribution will be charged automatically on the day and the frequency you have selected. You will receive an annual statement summarizing your gifts to the Foundation (either electronic or hard copy), and your credit card statements serve as additional record of your contribution.
I made a donation online (or a memorial/tribute gift) and now I have questions about it. Whom can I call?
Please call us at (800) 708-7644, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I made a one-time donation but it shows as a "recurring donation" on my bank statement.
This can sometimes occur as a result of how our donation system is configured. It does not affect your actual donation and you will not be charged more than once. You can call us at (800) 708-7644 or email us to confirm.
Are there trials that do not require a visit to the trial site?
Clinical trials vary in flexibility regarding where certain evaluations or tests can be administered. Most trials will require at least one in-person visit; however that is not always the case. Trial teams can provide more information about how many visits are required and the frequency of visits.
Some clinical trials may take the form of surveys, typically completed online, that do not require a physical visit to a site.
Why is it so important that more people volunteer for trials?
Clinical trials and studies play a critical role in the development of new and better therapies. Yet under-enrollment in trials is one of the greatest challenges clinical researchers face. Under-enrollment in trials slows research progress and deters potential funders from investing in research -- and we all pay the price in terms of higher costs and longer time horizons to get to therapeutic breakthroughs. Across all diseases, 85 percent of clinical trials finish late due to difficulties enrolling participants and nearly one-third of trials fail to recruit a single subject and cannot ever begin. According to a 2011 ORC Poll commissioned by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, only one in 10 people with Parkinson's participates in trials.
In spite of this low participation rate, we know that the Parkinson's community has a significant interest in stepping up to participate in research. The same Harris Poll found that over 85% of PD patients are at least somewhat interested in participating in a trial. Patients site not knowing about specific trial opportunities in their area that need someone like them as the greatest barrier to trial participation.
Fox Trial Finder is one solution to help patients and their loved ones act on the intention to get involved in research by making it easier to find trials that are right for them -- and letting volunteers know when new trials start that could be a good match.
What types of volunteers do clinical trials need?
Clinical trials need volunteers of all different types, including those without PD. Researchers design clinical studies with certain eligibility criteria in mind based on the hypothesis they are testing in the trial. These criteria establish a set of guidelines for who can participate in a trial and outline the characteristics qualified volunteers must possess (e.g., age, gender, particular symptoms).
At times, both interventional and observational studies also seek control volunteers who do not have Parkinson's disease. Having a control group in a study allows researchers to compare a drug's effect or a natural change in people with PD to individuals without PD to determine the difference.
For study results to be statistically significant, researchers must ensure that their volunteer group is large enough and includes those most appropriate for the study.
How do volunteers get involved in clinical trials for Parkinson's disease?
To get started, interested volunteers can create a profile on Fox Trial Finder. Volunteers can then anonymously reach out to a member of a trial team through the Contact Trial Team messaging feature on the site for a trial they are interested in. Trial teams can answer any questions about the trial and help determine if the trial is the right fit.
Trial team contact information is also provided on Fox Trial Finder, enabling volunteers to call or email to discuss their interest in the trial or specific questions. Trial teams are accustomed to spending time with volunteers to help them make decisions about trial participation, as they know that there are many details to consider before making an informed decision about participating.
Before enrolling in a trial, volunteers may want to discuss trial participation with others, including family, friends, doctors, specialists or even local support group members who have participated in trials.
What do the different trial phases mean?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its corollary agencies abroad require that clinical trials be conducted in a series of phases:
- Phase I trials test a potential therapy, procedure or drug for the first time in human beings. The most important goal at Phase I is to establish that a potential new treatment is safe for humans, typically in groups of 10-80.
- Phase II trials more comprehensively evaluate a treatment's safety and effectiveness in a larger group of participants (usually 100 to 300).
- Phase III trials confirm a therapy's effectiveness, monitor side effects and compare it against the current standard treatments in a large group of people (around 1,000 to 3,000). Phase III trials last longer, are usually conducted at multiple centers and evaluate whether a treatment will benefit people with Parkinson's -- and if the benefits associated with a therapy outweigh the risks.
- Phase IV trials are conducted after a treatment has received FDA approval and been brought to market. These trials help further evaluate long-term side effects and potential new uses for other conditions.
Why are clinical trials essential to the drug development process?
The process of developing new drugs is long, expensive and arduous. Unfortunately, a drug is more likely to fail than to succeed at any given stage. The "graduation" of a potential Parkinson's drug to clinical testing is in itself cause for cautious celebration. This is because clinical testing is initiated only after therapies have already beaten the odds multiple times by moving successfully through years (and millions of dollars of investment) of chemical and biological studies, first in test tubes and Petri dishes, later in pre-clinical models.
The U.S. FDA, and its corollary agencies abroad, requires that a potential therapy's safety and efficacy be tested extensively in a large group of human volunteers before it can receive approval to be manufactured and made available to patients. Yet clinical testing can -- and often does -- fail because not enough people volunteer. Without sufficient numbers of trial participants, the drug development process stalls and a trial must be repeated, scaled back or, even worse, the potential new therapy is abandoned. This lengthens the time it takes for new treatments to come to market. No amount of funding or other resources can compensate for the lack of clinical research volunteers. That's why volunteers can play a truly unique role at this pivotal stage of drug development, which is crucial for new treatments to reach pharmacy shelves.
Can volunteers leave a clinical trial after joining?
Yes. Although ideally all study participants remain enrolled until the study's completion, circumstances, disease progression and other factors may contribute to a volunteer's decision to leave a trial. This is permissible at any time. To withdraw from a study, a volunteer should immediately inform the trial coordinator of this decision and will need to follow specific protocols to officially withdraw.
Can volunteers be compensated for participating in a clinical trial?
Due to ethical and practical considerations, every trial has its own policy regarding volunteer compensation. Some trials may reimburse volunteers for expenses related to their participation or even offer some compensation to volunteers for participating. Some trials that require significant travel or an overnight stay may cover the associated expenses. A trial team member can provide more details on whether compensation is available as part of trial participation.
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials (also referred to as clinical studies or more broadly as clinical research) are research studies involving human volunteers. The U.S. FDA, and its corollary agencies abroad, requires that a potential therapy be tested extensively in a large group of human volunteers before it can receive approval to be manufactured and made available to patients.
All trials and studies on Fox Trial Finder relate to Parkinson's disease. These trials assess the safety and effectiveness of new ways to diagnose, prevent, or treat PD; they also provide insight about the disease process, and how it might be treated. Clinical trials are a vital part of the scientific research process and are essential to developing better treatments for people with Parkinson's.
What happens when a trial is over?
Once a clinical trial is over, the trial team assesses the data, distills key findings, publishes or presents any novel findings and determines the appropriate next steps for future testing, as appropriate. They may continue to evaluate the treatment in the next trial or discontinue research because the treatment has not been shown to be safe or effective. In some cases, if the treatment continues to the next phase, trial participants will be given the option of participating in that phase of the study as well.
The FDA requires that trial results be published in a scientific or medical journal and made available to the public within 12 months of the last participant's visit. However, because it is hard for the FDA to track and enforce these regulations, it can be difficult to learn about trial results. Volunteers can search the Web or follow up with the trial team to inquire about study outcomes.
What types of trials are there?
There are two main types of clinical trials:
Observational clinical trials do not test drugs or treatments. Researchers observe participants by monitoring their health over a period of time. These studies provide researchers with data that advances our understanding of Parkinson's and how to treat the disease.
Interventional clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of a candidate drug, therapy or experimental treatment.
How are volunteer rights and my safety protected in a trial?
Every trial follows an extensive and carefully monitored protocol subject to federal regulations, many of which focus on the safety of the participants in a trial. The protocol is a detailed plan that describes the study process. In addition to the protocol, each study has a consent form (also sometimes referred to as informed consent or consent to participate) that volunteers must read and sign before joining the study. The consent form will explain rights and responsibilities of a volunteer and what to expect during the study. Study protocols and consent forms must be reviewed and approved by a regulatory body before any volunteers can be approached about or recruited into a study to ensure that the study is safe, ethical and appropriate.
Trial team members will discuss the consent form and any aspects of the protocol in detail during a trial screening visit. Volunteers can also request a copy of the consent form to review it in advance of this in-person visit.
Has The Michael J. Fox Foundation worked on biomarkers before?
Yes. With investments of over $54 million to date, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has spent years searching for a Parkinson's disease biomarker. As we embark on PPMI, we believe more strongly than ever that the discovery of Parkinson's disease biomarkers is a high-impact use of our intellectual and financial resources -- and that this study will pay dividends toward better treatments and a cure.
Do other diseases have biomarkers?
Some do, but most don't, and the lack of biomarkers is a particular problem for neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's and ALS in addition to Parkinson's disease). You may have heard of a study called the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Launched in 2004, ADNI has made important strides toward discovering biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease and has reinvigorated research focused on disease-modifying treatments for AD. We anticipate similar outcomes for Parkinson's from PPMI.
In the absence of a PD biomarker, how have there been clinical trials of disease-modifying treatments at all?
Most trials use some form of clinical measure, such as the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), to determine whether a treatment is working. However, given the subjectivity and variance in clinical measures, and because symptoms of Parkinson's disease are affected by the medications and therapies patients have already used, it is difficult or impossible to measure disease-modifying effects in this way. This may have contributed to a history of inconclusive results from trials of disease-modifying treatments in particular.
What are some specific ways that Parkinson's patients are affected by the lack of biomarkers?
There is no way to identify people at risk for Parkinson's disease or to establish strategies for Parkinson's disease prevention. It is an often-stated reality that by the time the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease become evident, as many as 60-70 percent of an individual's dopamine neurons may already have died. A diagnostic marker would allow us to earlier identify people at risk for Parkinson's disease. Diagnosis is subjective, based on observing symptoms and rating them on a clinical scale. This translates to a high rate of misdiagnosis, especially among general practice physicians and neurologists who do not specialize in movement disorders.
Parkinson's disease clinical trials are frequently and frustratingly inconclusive. Why?
- With no diagnostic marker, an estimated 10 percent of Parkinson's disease trial enrollees unwittingly do not have Parkinson's disease, confounding results.
- With no progression marker to track the disease, there is no way objectively to measure treatment effects.
These factors make Parkinson's disease trials highly risky for drugmakers and prolong the wait for next-generation Parkinson's disease therapies.
I thought a biomarker was basically a gene -- and don't we know the genes that play a role in PD?
No -- in fact, a biomarker is not the same thing as a gene or genetic mutation. Remember, it's possible to have one or more genetic irregularities linked to Parkinson's disease, but never get the disease. Genetic research leads scientists to certain biomarker candidates, but many other physical and cellular characteristics are valid as possible biomarkers if they are measurable and provide an accurate window into disease presence or progression. Here are the major avenues of pursuit today:
- Imaging-based markers (such as PET/SPECT) can provide indirect measures of dopamine neuron function, but do not have sufficient resolution to measure actual cell numbers. More sensitive neuroimaging markers for Parkinson's disease, capable of measuring dopamine function in the brain, are also under development. These include DATscan (already approved for clinical use in Europe) and other ways to measure dopamine activity. These dopamine-based markers may provide a way to monitor the disease in its earliest stages. MRI and ultrasound markers are also in development.
- Biological markers in blood, urine, cerebral spinal fluid or tissue biopsies can serve as "signatures" of the disease. These can include genetic, protein or other chemical and molecular signposts. Leading biological marker candidates include measures of antioxidants such as urate, or measures of proteins produced by Parkinson's disease-implicated genes such as alpha-synuclein and DJ-1.
- Clinical measures -- such as tests of motor ability -- or the presence of disease-associated symptoms -- such as loss of the sense of smell, sleep disorders, constipation or early speech problems -- can be good markers. Though not necessarily Parkinson's-specific, they may still provide a means for detecting early stages of Parkinson's disease or tracking disease progression. The downside is that clinical measures are subjective, variable over time, and very sensitive to symptom-masking effects of drugs, limiting their utility to measure disease-modifying effects sought in neuroprotective trials.
Overall, it is likely that we need to develop a combination of markers (imaging, biologics and clinical) and measure them in the same individuals over time to identify useful biomarkers for Parkinson's disease. The Foundation's PPMI study is designed to achieve just this.
What are the biomarkers of Parkinson's disease?
Unfortunately, no practical, definitive biomarkers of Parkinson's disease have yet been identified. There are a few markers used in advanced neuroimaging techniques (approved for clinical use in Europe but not yet in the United States) that can help clinicians diagnose Parkinson's disease in its earliest stages. But no widely and easily applicable, affordable diagnostic markers, and no progression markers whatsoever, have been conclusively validated.
What is a biomarker?
A progression biomarker (or progression marker) can be any objectively measurable characteristic that changes over time in a way that can be correlated to the progression of disease. This type of marker is a critically needed tool for successful clinical trials, particularly trials of potential disease-modifying treatments. A diagnostic biomarker (or diagnostic or risk marker) can be any objectively measurable physical characteristic associated with the presence of disease. Here are two examples from other health conditions:
- White blood cell count is objectively measurable and a progression marker of leukemia. A count that rises to abnormal levels indicates that the condition is getting worse, while a count that returns to normal indicates improvement.
- Cholesterol is objectively measurable and, when high, acts as a risk marker of potential heart disease.
Progression markers could help transform the development of next-generation Parkinson's disease treatments. Imagine that researchers conducting Parkinson's disease clinical trials could run a straightforward, standardized laboratory test to understand how or if a possible new treatment was successfully slowing the disease process, helping to speed effective therapies toward pharmacy shelves. This is the kind of acceleration that a progression marker could make possible.
Diagnostic markers could help transform diagnosis and treatment for people living with Parkinson's disease today. Imagine that your doctor could simply draw some blood and instantly confirm a Parkinson's disease diagnosis, know how far the disease had already progressed, and make an informed prediction about the rate and nature of your disease progression. While it may not ultimately come in the form of a blood test, this is the kind of simplicity and objectivity that a diagnostic marker for Parkinson's disease could make possible.
What is Team Fox and its relationship to The Michael J. Fox Foundation?
Established in 2006, Team Fox is the grassroots fundraising community of The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). Since its start, Team Fox has mobilized thousands of individuals worldwide in support of the Foundation's mission to speed a cure for Parkinson's disease. From running in a big city marathon to hosting a gala or a bake sale, Team Fox members transform their personal passions and creative ideas into fundraisers in support of a cure. Thanks to the support of prominent donors, 100 percent of Team Fox proceeds go directly to the high-impact research and policy programs of the Foundation.
I want to host a fundraiser as a Team Fox member, where do I begin?
If you know what type of fundraiser you want to host, start by registering as a Team Fox member to gain access to Team Fox resources including:
- A customizable fundraising page to share with your supporters
- The Team Fox logo to put on your event materials (Please note: All materials created with our logo require approval prior to distributing or printing.)
- Team Fox-branded banners, stickers, brochures and other promotional resources
- The Team Fox Event Calendar to post your fundraiser and learn about other events near you
- Online tools and the opportunity to work with our Team Fox staff, who will help you throughout your campaign.
If you know that you want to support the Foundation, but are not sure of what you exactly want to do, visit www.teamfox.org and explore the resources and event ideas on our website. We are even happy to brainstorm with you! Reach out to us at email@example.com.
Iím an athlete and interested in participating in an endurance athletic event with Team Fox. Which events are Team Fox charity partners and how can I gain entry?
Each year we partner with worldwide endurance events including marathons, half marathons, 5Ks and triathlons.A list of events with available Team Fox spots can be found at michaeljfox.org/sponsoredathletics.
To participate as a Team Fox-sponsored athlete, you are required to sign a fundraising commitment in exchange for entry, which varies by event. Should you not meet your fundraising minimum three months after the event date, your credit card will be charged the difference.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register for one of the events above.†
I would like to donate a portion of proceeds from sales of my product or services [book, CD, art, jewelry, etc.] to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. How does this work?
Please email email@example.com with a detailed outline of your proposed portion of proceed campaign.† Our staff will review the proposal and provide you with our guidelines for setting up this type of campaign, which includes signing a portion-of-proceeds agreement. While the Foundation is not set up to help promote the sales of such items, we greatly appreciate your generosity in donating part of your sales to speed Parkinsonís research.
Where can I get regular updates on Team Fox?
Visit the Team Fox website at www.teamfox.org or our dedicated section of the FoxFeed blog for Team Fox news and inspiring stories. Find Team Fox member-led events in your local community by searching our event calendar. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Iím a Team Fox member and I have questions about fundraising, sending in contributions or having a Foundation representative at my event. Where can I find answers?
Please log into Team Fox Fundraising HQ and download the Team Fox Handbook. This resource can help you plan and execute your event and includes information about these topics, in addition to tips on fundraising and gaining sponsorship, guidance on Team Fox logo usage, and templates for donor outreach and thank you letters.††
Accelerate Your Research
What is BioFIND?
BioFIND was an observational clinical study designed to collect biosamples for Parkinson's Disease (PD) biomarker discovery and verification projects. The study was conducted at eight academic clinical sites in the United States. The recruitment recruited 119 Parkinson's patients (diagnosed within the last five to 15 years) and 96 controls began in 2012 and closed in 2015. This study was sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research with support from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). BioFIND was led by Principal Investigator Un Jung Kang of Columbia University.
What are biomarkers?
A biomarker can be any objectively measurable physical characteristic associated with the presence of disease (diagnostic marker), or any characteristic that changes over time in a way that can be tied to the progression of disease (progression marker). Examples from other health conditions include: blood pressure, which is objectively and easily measured and, when high, acts as a diagnostic marker of potential heart disease; and, white blood cell count is a progression marker of leukemia. A count that rises to abnormal levels indicates that the condition is getting worse, while a count that returns to normal indicates improvement.Learn more about biomarkers.
What data and specimens will be made available to researchers from BioFIND?
All clinical data and biospecimens collected as part of the BioFIND protocol are submitted to the LONI BiOFIND database and a collaborative program with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), respectively, and made available to qualified researchers. Refer to the BioFIND homepage for a chart of the currently available clinical data, whole blood pellets, plasma, DNA, RNA, and CSF as well as more information about how to gain access to these resources.
Who has access to BioFIND data and specimens?
The BioFIND clinical database is open access; therefore, qualified investigators from academic institutions and industry organizations may access the data repository. Investigators who apply for access to BioFIND data are required to submit information about themselves for basic administrative review to ensure legitimacy. Upon approval, investigators will be given immediate access. For a more in-depth overview of the process as well as instructions to get started, visit Accessing BioFIND Data.
In addition, investigators from academic institutions and industry organizations are eligible to submit an application to access BioFIND samples. BioFIND samples are made available through the Biospecimen Resource Allocation Committee (BRAC), a collaborative resource access program with NINDS.†For a more in-depth overview of the process as well as instructions for submitting an application to access BioFIND samples, visit Accessing BioFIND Biospecimens.
What kinds of research can be conducted on the data and specimens?
BioFIND data will be available to any researcher who is approved for access to the database, with an emphasis on biomarker discovery. If investigators are seeking specimen for verification or validation projects, PPMI samples may be more appropriate. Learn more about PPMI data and specimens
What review criteria does The Michael J. Fox Foundation use when selecting proposals to fund?
The Foundation looks for scientifically compelling, logical, and well-crafted research proposals that offer real potential for improving treatments for people with Parkinson's disease. In general, proposals are reviewed along a number of key factors, including responsiveness to the specific funding program, scientific rationale, experimental design, investigator expertise, and overall feasibility.
Do you have a Conflict of Interest policy for the Foundation reviewers of grant proposals?
Yes. Reviewers may not submit a proposal to a program where they are acting as a reviewer or would have a clear and direct conflict. This includes proposals on which they are acting as a lead investigator or receiving payment. Additionally, reviewers are not allowed to participate in the discussion of any grant where the applicant is from the same institution as them or has a current collaboration with them.
How do I submit a full application once my pre-proposal has passed the first stage of review?
For funding programs with a two-stage review process, applicants who pass the pre-proposal stage will be sent additional instructions via email for submitting a full proposal. Full proposals will be linked to pre-proposals through our online system. Applicants will be asked to update the online submission form of their original pre-proposal and attach proposal documents.
How is my full application reviewed?
A review committee, made up of the Foundation's scientific staff and external experts in the fields appropriate to the funding program, reviews all of the proposals. In general, each proposal is reviewed by at least two independent reviewers. Top proposals are discussed at a meeting of the review committee. MJFF scientific staff makes final award decisions based on feedback from these reviewer discussions and an analysis of current MJFF funding portfolio overlap.
Do I need to submit a "pre-proposal"?
Some programs require the submission of a "pre-proposal". Pre-proposals may require simply a brief summary of a project's goals and aims or may require more detailed information about the rationale and/or current status of a project idea. Programs may have different requirements for what to include in the pre-proposal and applicants should carefully review the submission instructions. Pre-proposals are reviewed by internal Foundation scientific staff and external advisors as appropriate in order to identify projects to invite for further funding consideration. Not all applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Given the desire for rapid decision making, no formal feedback is given to applicants whose projects are not invited to the second stage of review.
What makes a successful grant proposal?
Successful proposals are based on clear scientific ideas that hold obvious potential to impact our understanding of Parkinson's disease and ultimately development of improved treatments for people with the disease. Applicants should clearly state the scientific question being addressed and provide a detailed research plan. Proposals should fit the goals of the specific funding program, so it is important to review all program information before submitting a proposal.
How quickly are proposals reviewed?
The Foundation prioritizes speed and efficiency in its review and funding of research grants. MJFF employs an expedited review process. Depending on the program, funding decisions can be made as early as six weeks or up to three months after full proposal submission. Review the specific funding program information for details on expected review and funding decision dates.
How do I apply for a grant?
The Foundation accepts proposals primarily through our designated Requests for Applications (RFAs). All proposals must be submitted online through the Foundation's online grant submission system unless otherwise directed by a Foundation research staff member. In general, we do not accept unsolicited proposals, although investigators are invited to contact research staff to help determine the RFA most appropriate for the proposed work.
Can I have a deadline extension for submitting my proposal?
No. The Foundation has tight timeframes for reviewing proposals, given our desire to fund work quickly. Therefore, we must strictly enforce our deadlines and no extensions are granted. Applicants should ensure they are available to communicate with Foundation staff after the deadline to answer possible questions regarding their proposal. If a proposal is submitted on time, but no one is available to answer clarifying questions after the deadline, the application could still be disqualified and removed from the review process.
Can I submit a proposal to the Foundation using another funder's proposal format?
No. The Foundation posts specific application format and instructions with each funding program on our website. Using other funding organization's instructions and templates (e.g., NIH) is not appropriate and could result in disqualification during administrative review.
What is the Foundation's policy for direct and indirect costs?
MJFF believes in maximizing its impact through good stewardship of our funds, while also acknowledging the true cost for our partners of delivering efficient results. In keeping with this belief, MJFF's indirect cost policy is to fund expenses that are associated with general running of our partners' business.
MJFF defines direct costs as expenses required to execute a grant that are directly attributable to and can reasonably be allocated to the project (for example, personnel salaries and materials are direct costs). In contrast, MJFF defines indirect costs as general overhead and administrative expenses that support the entire operation of the grantee and may be shared across projects (for example, utilities, IT systems, and general administrative staff such as HR). These expenses would be incurred regardless of whether or not the grant is funded. Recouping indirect costs on a grant is optional. However, MJFF allows grantees to apply an indirect cost rate to their budget's total direct costs, subject to the following limitations:
Universities and non-profit institutions may apply a rate of up to 25%
For-profit institutions may apply a rate of up to 10%
Please note that these are the maximum rates allowed. A grantee with an actual indirect cost rate lower than the maximum should not apply the maximum rate. We expect that grantees are regularly assessing their overhead costs in relation to their ability to operate effectively and efficiently. Grantees should ensure consistency with their own internal policies regarding indirect cost rates, up to the maximum rate allowed under MJFF policy. Please note that MJFF reserves the right to request substantiation of any grantee's indirect cost rate.†
INDIRECTS AND MULTI-INSTITUTION COLLABORATIONS:
If multiple institutions are collaborating on a grant and both receiving funding directly through MJFF, each institution may apply an indirect cost rate to their institution's total direct costs in accordance with MJFF policy. If one institution is a non-profit and the other is a for-profit, the first may apply a rate of up to 25% to that institution's direct costs and the second may apply a rate of up to 10% to that institution's direct costs.
INDIRECTS AND SUBAWARDS:
If one collaborating institutionís budget includes subawards (paid directly by the collaborating institution and treated in the budget as part of that institutionís direct costs), then the subawardee(s) may recoup indirect expenses through the application of an indirect rate to their direct costs. For this reason, it is important that the lump sum for the subaward on the Detailed Budget consist of direct costs only. MJFF expects collaborating institutions to request detailed budgets from their subawardees and ensure that indirects are not being included in the lump sum of direct costs reported to MJFF.
If the subawardee is a non-profit or academic institution, up to 25% may be applied. If the subawardee is a for-profit institution, up to 10% may be applied.
Does the Foundation cover travel costs?
Yes and no. The Foundation allows costs to cover travel necessary for completing a research project such as traveling off-site to perform work in the field or in a collaborator's lab. However, general travel costs to scientific conferences and meetings are not allowed. Travel costs for Foundation-required assessment meetings are paid directly by the Foundation and should not be included in the proposal budget.
Does the Foundation allow multi-investigator, collaborative proposals?
Yes. Since one laboratory group may not possess the expertise in all steps of a particular project, collaborations are strongly encouraged for all proposals submitted to the Foundation. This is especially important for applicants seeking to use specific reagents or tools -- including animal models of Parkinson's disease -- for which the applicant has limited previous experience.
Does the Foundation fund outside the United States?
Yes. The Foundation funds grants in labs around the world in order to engage researchers with a broad range of expertise and promising ideas.
Does the Foundation fund only academic labs?
No. The Foundation is interested in funding high-quality Parkinson's science wherever it can be done best. We fund researchers working in labs at universities, for-profit companies and nonprofit research institutions.
What are the administrative guidelines?
Visit our Administrative Guidelines page.
Can you switch PI's after submitting a Pre-proposal?
Yes, the Principle Investigator can be changed at the full application stage. Please note, the new Principle Investigator will have to meet the eligibility requirements for the program they are applying to. The same Application Portal account must be used during pre-proposal and full application submission.
What is the MJFF salary cap?
Consistent with the NIH salary cap, the maximum base salary for an individual applying to an MJFF funding program is currently $189,600. Please refer to https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm for up-to-date information on the current salary cap.
Do you allow collaborations between for-profit and non-profit institutions?
Yes, collaboration between for-profit and non-profit companies is allowed. Please note, the budgetary requirements for non-profit and for-profit companies are different. If both institutions are receiving grant funding, please submit a multi-institution budget that considers the following:
MJFF policy is that no more than 25% (non-profit institutions) or 10% (for-profit organizations) of the direct costs may go to indirect costs. (Please see the submission instructions for each program regarding specific budget restrictions, including maximum allowable indirect cost percentages).
Why do I not see my current proposal within my account?
Please make sure that the login information (email and password) that you are using for the current submission round. If you have the correct login and are still experiencing difficulties we ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
What does it mean to be a Foundation Awardee?
First, congratulations for receiving an MJFF award! Without you, The Michael J. Fox Foundation would not be able to promote the critical work needed to accelerate delivery of new treatments and a cure for people with Parkinson's disease. As an awardee, we welcome your hard work and commitment and look forward to interacting with you during the course of your project.
It is important to understand that the Foundation in general funds specific research projects rather than simply providing funds to a researcher to use for general research efforts. Therefore, all awardees work with the Foundation's scientific staff to define an appropriate set of project deliverables and milestones. An awardee must also sign a contract that details the specific terms and conditions for accepting MJFF funding. If appropriate, additional special requirements for awardees are indicated in the funding program information. In general, awardees must guarantee they have not received, nor will seek, direct overlapping funding from another organization for a project that the Foundation agrees to fund. Awardees must provide valid approvals (IRB, IACUC, etc.) that cover the entire duration of the project period. Awardees also must participate in assessment meetings and calls as directed by MJFF staff, including submitting required progress and expense reports. Grantees must participate openly in discussions regarding the project with the Foundation's scientific and research staff and advisors. Grantees are also responsible for adhering to the Foundation's data sharing rules, as well as publishing information as quickly as possible. For any resulting publications (during or after the grant period), awardees are required to acknowledge that the project was funded by "a grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation."
Where can I find information about progress and expense report requirements for my grant?
Awardees will be sent information and reporting templates when required by the Foundation staff for internal review or formal assessment meetings. It is important that reports are complete and accurate when submitted as these are often used for making decisions about continued payments and/or supplemental funding opportunities.
Can funds be reallocated and/or carried forward from year to year?
Awardees are required to inform The Michael J. Fox Foundation if any changes need to be made to their award scope, budget or timeline. Funding reallocation decisions are made on a grant-by-grant basis. To request reallocation of funds (e.g., to move from supply costs to personnel costs), awardees must contact the Foundation's research staff for permission in advance of the reallocation. A justification for the reallocation request will be required, as well as an up-to-date expense report for the grant and details of the funds to be reallocated. Reallocations are subject to approval by the Foundation's research staff. In general, the Foundation has no problem carrying funds forward from one year to the next for multi-year projects. However, decisions about carrying forward funds are made on a grant-by-grant basis in the context of the grant timeline and suitable progress of the project. Carry-forward requests must be justified and should be communicated to the Foundation's Research staff through required expense reports, or by email if the Foundation staff has indicated that it is a case where a no-expense report is required. Carry-forward requests are subject to approval by the Foundation's Research staff.
Can I request a no-cost extension for my grant award?
Yes, but no-cost extensions are approved only on a grant-by-grant basis. To request a no-cost extension, awardees must contact the Foundation research staff in advance of the end of the grant. Awardees must justify the reason for the no-cost extension request, as well as provide a proposed updated timeline for the completion of the work, and a current expense report for the grant. In general, an awardee may request only one no-cost extension
Can I apply for supplemental funding?
The Michael J. Fox Foundation considers supplemental funding requests on a case-by-case basis. Often, such considerations occur at the end of a grant when awardees have presented their final project results. The Foundation staff may request supplemental proposals as part of the post-award feedback. Awardees may also submit next-step proposals to open funding opportunities, but are encouraged to discuss such proposals with the Foundation's research staff before submitting. Please note that the Foundation cannot guarantee that supplemental funding will be available immediately upon completion of the original award and does not generally offer "bridge funding". Awardees should prepare for this possibility in advance of the end of the grant funding period.
Does The Michael J. Fox Foundation ever terminate funding?
Yes. The Foundation will terminate funding when necessary. Reasons for termination are detailed in awardee contracts but may include improper use of funds or re-direction of funds toward activities not part of the project as funded. The best way to avoid termination of funds is to contact research team staff before making any major changes to your project scope. In addition, some projects may include clear "go/no-go" milestones where if the milestone is not met, the project will be terminated. Such milestones will be discussed with the awardee at the time of award contracting.
What is the Foundation's position on intellectual property related to projects it supports?
Every Foundation grant contract includes detailed IP and sharing policies, and grantees are required to adhere to these policies. The Michael J. Fox Foundation acknowledges that discoveries made by researchers under its sponsorship are the property of those conducting the Research and shall have the first opportunity to exploit the Research commercially or otherwise. You will be required to agree that you will cooperate and collaborate with the Foundation and other researchers and share access to results under fair and reasonable terms and conditions. Applicants with questions about the specific IP and sharing terms that apply to their award contracts should read our MJFF Administrative Guidelines.
I'm moving. Can funds be transferred to my new institution?
For most Foundation grants, research funds stay with the Principal Investigator. If you change institutions, notify the Foundation research staff in advance of your move. You will need to provide an acknowledgment from both the current and future institution recognizing the transfer of work as well as funds, and a current expense report outlining spent and remaining funds. Unspent funds remaining at the original institution must be returned to the Foundation so that they can be provided to the new institution.