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Grant Submission Process

SENS Research Foundation funds external research that advances SENS targets. We consider letters of intent for new grant proposals quarterly. Such letters should clearly indicate the specific SENS target and explain how the research would further progress toward developing therapies that remove, repair, replace, or render harmless that target.

Letters of intent are next due on September 23, 2021 using the format below.

All research projects are selected and periodically reviewed by our Research Development Committee (RDC), and its decisions are ratified by our Board of Directors.  The RDC convenes quarterly.

If you wish to submit a letter of intent for a new grant proposal, please follow these guidelines. Please note that SRF typically does not cover indirect costs.

If you have questions about the submission process or this application, please first read the FAQs below, and if you still have questions, you can send them to [email protected] or call 650-336-1780.

Preliminary Letter of Intent

Prior to beginning the grant proposal process, please submit a letter of intent of no more than two pages in length (using 11 point font or greater) including:

  • A basic description of your research project,
  • The SENS target to which it relates, and how the grant proposal would further progress on that target,
  • Contact information for the Principal Investigator (PI) and associated personnel,
  • Brief biographical sketch of the PI,
  • Location and company/organizational affiliation,
  • Estimated total budget, and
  • Any outside funding you have or expect to receive.

Letter of Intent review

Letters of intent will be reviewed by the RDC, and where applicable and appropriate the RDC will invite the submitter to continue with the grant proposal process outlined below.  Invited participants will then have one year (or two submission deadlines) to submit a full grant proposal.

Letter of Intent submission deadlines

To have your letter of intent reviewed at our First Quarter meeting, please submit by February 1st; at our Second Quarter meeting, by June 25th; at our Third Quarter meeting, by September 23rd; and at our Fourth Quarter meeting, by November 1st

The RDC may in some cases attempt to review letters of intent sent well in advance of those deadlines in time to allow grant submissions by the deadline.

Grant Proposal Submission

SRF grant applications should follow the following format and adhere strictly to the maximum page limits (using only 11 point font or greater):

  • Abstract (1 page)
  • Background and Significance (3 pages)
  • Preliminary Data (3 pages)
  • Experimental Plan (4 pages)
  • References (no limit)
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • NIH Biosketch (including present and pending support, 4 pages maximum) for PI’s, post-docs and others involved in the project (excluding laboratory technicians)
  • Letters of collaboration and support

Grant proposal submission deadlines

To have your grant proposal reviewed at our First Quarter meeting, please submit by February 1st; at our Second Quarter meeting, by June 25th; at our Third Quarter meeting, by September 23rd; and at our Fourth Quarter meeting, by November 1st.

Where to send your documents

Please email your Letter of Intent and/or grant proposal in PDF format to [email protected].

Thank you!

Grant Proposal FAQs:

SENS Research Foundation was founded to catalyze progress in the “damage-repair” approach for medical intervention in degenerative aging, and we will only fund proposals that clearly offer the potential to progress toward medical therapies using this approach. “Damage-repair” interventions are those that directly remove, repair, replace, or render harmless specific cellular and molecular “damage” in aging tissues.

By “damage,” we mean stable, structural, accumulating alterations to molecular and cellular structures over time, rather than unstable intermediates or reactive precursors:  for instance, advanced glycation endproducts rather than Schiff bases and Amadori products; established mutations rather than repairable DNA lesions; stable aggregates such as beta-amyloid oligomers and plaques rather than initial APP cleavage products.

We will not fund proposals aimed toward therapies that modulate metabolic pathways as their approach. This eliminates most interventions that could be achieved by small-molecule drugs, which inhibit or promote some targeted pathway of metabolism. Indeed, it rules out most medical therapies used in current clinical practice or in human clinical trials today.

Instead, a “damage-repair” proposal will clearly lead toward the direct removal or repair of some form of aging damage, which generally entails delivering some novel capacity that the organism does not intrinsically have as part of normal metabolism.

For example, a “damage-repair” approach to lipofuscin or other stable intracellular aggregates could be to develop and deliver a novel hydrolase that would augment the lysosomal complement of enzymes so as to newly enable the direct hydrolysis of lipofuscin [link here to Grune project page]: proposals aimed instead at upregulating autophagy or modulating pathways regulating lysosomal pH will be rejected. Similarly, we are currently carrying out research on allotopic expression of mitochondrially-encoded genes as a “damage-repair solution to the accumulation of mitochondrial mutations, but would not fund projects aiming to solve the problem through upregulation of mitophagy. As a final example, we are currently funding a project for a novel approach to direct neuronal replacement with exogenous neuronal stem cells: we would not fund projects aimed to restore or upregulate pathways involved in neurogenesis or endogenous neurotrophic factors.

No, we will only fund proposals with a clear and direct path toward a clearly-conceived, translatable medical intervention for use against the degenerative aging process in humans: we will not fund proposals for early discovery- or curiosity-driven basic research, or for descriptive studies.

We accept proposals from established PIs from any country around the globe, from either academic institutions or independent nonprofit research centers. We also accept proposals from postdoctoral students working within such institutions, provided they have already obtained the approval of their PI to run the proposed project.

Companies or for-profit entities can apply for funding through this process; however, the support would be given in form of an investment, not as a grant.  SRF typically takes a small stake in the ownership of the company (commensurate with the amount invested), an observer Board position, and/or a portion of future royalties. The exact structure of the investment is negotiated between parties once the research proposal is approved through the RDC.

SRF typically awards grants in the US$50-300K range for 1-3 years, but there is no minimum or maximum funding level restriction. Projects expected to last more than 12 months should identify interim milestones and will be reviewed annually. If you have a proposal that would require greater or longer funding, please initiate a discussion via an email to [email protected].

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