Researcher Resources

NAF works with the most knowledgeable, accomplished Ataxia researchers in the world. We are committed to providing the resources needed to pursue a cure and better quality of life for people with Ataxia.

Research Grants

The National Ataxia Foundation is committed to funding the best science relevant to hereditary and sporadic types of Ataxia in both basic and translational research. NAF invites research applications from domestic and International non-profit and for-profit institutions. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a research grant from NAF.
Funds provided by NAF may not be used for indirect/F&A costs.
You may contact Kelsey Trace, NAF Research Associate, at with questions.

NAF Research Grant Types

Diverse Scientists in Ataxia Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship

This URM Pre-doctoral research fellowship is a competitive, non-renewable, merit-based award intended to enhance research and/or clinical training of promising students who are matriculated in pre-doctoral or clinical health professional degree training programs and who intend careers as scientists, physician-scientists or other clinician-scientists aimed at continuing ataxia basic science, translational science or clinical research towards the goal of serving individuals with ataxia.

This award provides partial support for study and research and may be used to support pre-doctoral students who are pursuing research with an ataxia-relevant theme. Proposals across the spectrum of basic, translational, and clinical research are welcome.

2021 Diverse Scientists In Ataxia Grant Instructions

Click here to be redirected to application

There is no LOI required for this award. 

The pre-doctoral award is a two-year $50,000 grant ($25,000 per year). The second year of funding will be contingent on demonstration of progress by the awardee. A progress report is required 11 months after the start of the grant funding term.

At the time of application, the applicant must:
• Be enrolled in a post-baccalaureate Ph.D., M.D., Ph.D/M.D. or doctorate in nursing or equivalent clinical health science doctoral degree program, who seeks research training prior to embarking upon a research career.
• Be a full-time student working towards their degree.
• Identify as an Underrepresented Minority (URM): URM trainees are defined as individuals who self-identify as belonging to one or more of the following racial or ethnic groups: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaskan Native.
• Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US

At the time of award activation, the candidate must have successfully completed their qualifying exams, or equivalent*, in their respective programs and be able to devote effort to research or activities related to the development into an independent researcher or a related career aimed at improving lives of those living with ataxia through clinical care or research discoveries.

*Note: MD-only applicants must have at least completed preclinical coursework and Step 1 (US Medical Licensing Exam)

Seed Money Research Grant

For new and innovative studies that are relevant to the cause, pathogenesis or treatment of the hereditary or sporadic ataxias. Offered primarily as “seed monies” to assist investigators in the early or pilot phase of their studies and as additional support for ongoing investigations on demonstration of need.

The 2021 application cycle has closed. Please check back in July 2021 for instructions regarding the 2022 funding cycle. 


Application is not available until LOI has been approved.

One-year seed money grants not to exceed $50,000.

Faculty member or senior scientist at a research institution.

Underrepresented minorities strongly encouraged to apply. 

Pioneer SCA3/MJD Translational Research Awards

The Pioneer SCA3/MJD Translational Research Award is for a research project that will facilitate the development of treatments for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/Machado Joseph Disease.

The 2021 application cycle has closed. Please check back in July 2021 for instructions regarding the 2022 funding cycle. 


Application is not available until LOI has been approved.

The total grant funding is $100,000 for 1 year for one grant.

Established Ataxia researchers

Underrepresented minorities strongly encouraged to apply. 

Post-doctoral Fellowship Award

Post-doctoral fellowship awards are to serve as a bridge from post-doctoral positions to junior faculty positions. Applicants should have shown a commitment to research in the field of Ataxia.

The 2021 application cycle has closed. Please check back in July 2021 for instructions regarding the 2022 funding cycle. 


Application is not available until LOI has been approved.

Up to $35,000 for one year.

  • Completed at least 1 year post-doctoral training but not more than 2 years at time of application
  • Award will permit individuals to spend an additional third year in a post-doctoral position and increase chances to establish an independent Ataxia research program
  • Underrepresented minorities strongly encouraged to apply. 

Young Investigator Award

The Young Investigator Award was created to encourage young clinical and scientific investigators to pursue a career in the field of Ataxia research. It is our hope that Ataxia research will be invigorated by the work of young, talented individuals supported by this award.

The 2021 application cycle has closed. Please check back in July 2021 for instructions regarding the 2022 funding cycle. 


Application is not available until LOI has been approved.

Up to $50,000 for 1 year.

  • Must have attained an MD or PhD degree
  • Must have an appointment as a junior faculty member, senior post-doc, or clinical fellow
  • Clinicians must have finished their residency no more than 5 years prior to applying
  • PhDs must be no more than 5 years from the end of completion of post-doc training
  • The sponsoring institution must agree in writing to the following provision: the Young Investigator must be able to allocate approximately half time (50%) for Ataxia related research.
  • Underrepresented minorities strongly encouraged to apply. 
Additional Eligibility Information: For all grants, applications are accepted from U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. Applications from for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, public or private institutions, and institutions both inside and outside the United States will be considered.

Grant Process

NAF utilizes proposalCENTRAL for grant applications.

1. Create a proposalCENTRAL account.


2. Submit a LOI that contains a full title and one-page scientific abstract of your research proposal.


3. Once your LOI is accepted, apply through proposalCENTRAL.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If a letter of support is required for a grant, can I provide two letters of support?

  • Yes, if you would like to provide additional letters of support, please upload to proposalCENTRAL during the application process. However, only one letter of recommendation is required.

2. I have previously been granted a Young Investigator Award, may I apply for another Young Investigator Award in this new funding cycle?

  • No, please check your eligibility for NAF’s other grant types and consider applying for a different NAF grant.

3. When applying for a Young Investigator Award, is there a time restriction for amount of years after obtaining my PhD in order to be eligible?

  • There is no time restriction regarding amount of years after obtaining a PhD. However, applicants must not be an Associate Professor or higher.

4. I am currently a student working towards my PhD, is there a grant available for me?

  • The Diverse Scientists in Ataxia Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship is available for those who meet the qualifications. 

Recruit Research Participants

Ataxia Patient Meeting

NAF hosts an annual patient conference each year which is attended by those affected by Ataxia and their caregivers/family members. Attendance is often over 500 individuals. Presentations by leading Ataxia researchers are given during the 2-day conference. Ataxia researchers are invited to participate in the exhibit area of the meeting to recruit patients for IRB approved research studies or share their research findings. 

If you are interested in recruiting patients at NAF’s Annual Ataxia Conference, please contact us at (763) 553-0020 or email

Access Patient Registry

NAF partners with Sanford Research Coordination of Rare Dieseases (CoRDS) to maintain a registry of Ataxia patients. Access the registry to find potential participants for your research studies. 

Additional Resources

CAGC Website

The Centralized Ataxia Genomics Core (CAGC) is a freely accessible resource developed with support from the National Ataxia Foundation and hosted within the Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center based at the University of California, Los Angeles. This application is designed to facilitate connections within the ataxia research community related to shared interest in the same gene(s) and/or genetic variant(s). The goal of the CAGC is to improve collaboration to help solve undiagnosed ataxia cases through a centralized ataxia-specific data repository of genomic data collected from both research and/or clinical sources.

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