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Grant Guidelines

Grant Guidelines & Application
Amount: Up to $85,000
For a One to Two Year Grant Period

Deadline: March 1, 2024
Total Funding Allocation: Up to $425,000 (U.S. dollars)


Please read through the sections below and if you have any questions, email me (Kristin Thorson). My role is to assist potential applicants and facilitate the grant review process.

Be sure to read through the applicant requirements so that you understand our policy on overhead expenses as well as large equipment/salary expenses. If you are uncertain whether your proposed project falls within AFSA’s research-funding goals, the quickest way to find out is to email a brief Letter of Intent (LOI) in PDF format (see the last section for details).

Completed applications, which include a signed Conditions of Award and Reviewer Recommendations form (all in PDF format), should be submitted by email by the March 1, 2024 deadline. However, you may submit your proposal before this deadline date to speed up the review process and minimize IRB funding delays. I look forward to working with you.

Kindest regards,

Kristin Thorson
President and Founder of AFSA

P.S. – If you missed the above deadline for the RFA, keep AFSA in mind for next year. We will have annual RFAs but priorities may change. Check back in July 2024 for details.

Priority Areas for Research Funding

Proposals submitted for review should be relevant to AFSA’s research priorities. By investigating the areas described below, AFSA believes that better diagnostic tools and treatments will be made available to patients with FM.

Test therapeutic interventions or agents for reducing FM symptoms, including treatments that build upon the recent findings of neuroinflammation.

Evaluate/identify peripheral and central mechanisms responsible for causing FM.

Identify/develop potential lab markers or other test measures that can be used for diagnostic and clinical evaluation purposes.
Explore the physiologic mechanisms responsible for the symptom of fatigue and test pharmacological treatments to alleviate this symptom.

Explore the physiological mechanisms responsible for the neurocognitive deficits (fibrofog) in people with FM and test pharmacological treatments to alleviate this symptom.

In general, AFSA’s research funding focus is to identify the causes of FM as well as test treatments for this condition.

All proposed studies must be clinically focused but may also include transfer of fluids/samples from patients to rodents for additional evaluation. Keep in mind that proposals to test expensive treatment modalities that are not usually covered by insurance could hinder your “patient relevance” score. The same holds true for testing hypotheses that apply to a small subset of FM patients.

Please note, AFSA does not fund the following types of studies:

  • behavioral interventions
  • psychosocial assessments
  • self-help or lifestyle change strategies
  • movement therapies (e.g., any form of exercise)
  • surveys
  • development/testing of animal models (no human fluids involved)

Grant Application Requirements

Potential applicants for AFSA funding should meet the following requirements and budget constraints:

The Principal Investigator (PI) must be fluent in English and be the coauthor of at least one project published in a peer-reviewed English language medical journal. If applicant resides outside the United States, please indicate the budget in U.S. dollars.

The PI must be a board certified “M.D.”, “D.O.”, or “D.D.S.” or a Ph.D. with applicable basic science research experience. All Ph.D. applicants must team up with an experienced FM clinician (M.D., D.O., or N.P.) for assessment of human subjects. In fact, all applications must include at least one member who is experienced with diagnosing FM as well as ruling out other painful conditions.

The 2016 ACR “survey” criteria for diagnosing FM may certainly be used for screening study participants, but a thorough physical exam is needed to confirm the diagnosis and assess pressure pain thresholds. FM participants cannot have other chronic conditions that cause multisite pain.

No institutional overhead or other indirect costs will be paid and should not be included as part of any grant request. Also, beware that substantiative equipment costs, as well as salaries for the PI and other team members, may jeopardize project funding.

Almost all of AFSA’s revenue comes from FM patients. Our awards are intended for the collection of preliminary data needed to assist investigators with obtaining larger sums of money from the NIH or similar financial institutes. A letter to your institution explaining this condition can be provided, if needed.

The methodology used to determine the required sample size of participants for the proposed study must be provided. In addition, applicants must demonstrate the ability to recruit the required number of participants quickly to avoid project delays.

An application may be submitted with an institutional review board (IRB) pending, but the IRB must be approved before the project can be funded.

All funded projects must be capable of testing one or more hypotheses and, if possible, without reliance upon another funding source. However, tag-on grant proposals to government-sponsored projects (such as the NIH and similar agencies) are acceptable as long as the following two conditions can be met for the AFSA portion: (1) is designed to test a specific hypothesis or meet a specific aim, and (2) has a clearly defined budget with justification.

If a government tag-on project is being proposed, the applicant must explain how the AFSA section fits into the overall scope of the project and why it is important. Also, due to the special nature of tag-on projects, the applicant should provide additional description about the full project (aside from the AFSA portion). This must be submitted as a PDF attachment along with the AFSA grant application.

All grants awarded by AFSA are for one time only. The PI should demonstrate the ability to complete the project within one to two years of being funded. If an applicant is considering a two-part project or a study that requires more than two years to complete, please consult AFSA before submitting such a proposal.

Conditions of Award

Prior to filling out AFSA’s application, please review our Conditions of Award to make sure you can meet our requirements. Download the PDF below.

Conditions of Award

Grant Application and Instructions

In addition to the Conditions of Award, please download the instructions and PDF file below. Use your word processor for the Main Body of the application (Project Description and CVs) and then convert it to a PDF file.

Instructions for the Grant Application
Research Grant Forms

Submissions must contain three PDF files: the Research Grant Forms, the Main Body, and the Conditions of Award.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download and use all PDF forms.

Guidelines for a Letter of Intent (LOI)

An LOI can be submitted if you are uncertain whether your proposed project qualifies for AFSA funding. It consists of a brief synopsis of your proposal that is only one or two pages long (attachments may be added if deemed necessary). Understandably, investigators may not have all of the details worked out at this stage, however AFSA encourages applicants to include the following six components in their LOI:

Study investigators: Name of principal investigator, degree, and area of speciality (as documented by previous studies), and the names and degrees of primary people involved in the study. If this study will be performed within an institutional environment (such as a university, hospital, or research center), please identify the institution.

Study hypothesis: This consists of a one-sentence statement with supporting sentences that may include documented references, clinical data on a small number of subjects, or whatever else has led you to your hypothesis.

Study goals or objectives: Please specify what you hope to prove by conducting your proposed study.

Study design: Identify the study population(s), duration of study, primary testing methods to be used, and other comments that describe how the study will be conducted.

Estimated budget: Include a total dollar amount (in U.S. funds) as well as a breakdown into the following sections: (a) principal investigator salary, if any; (b) technician(s) or other supportive staff salary, if any; (c) permanent equipment costs, if any (and identify the equipment); (d) cost of consumable supplies; and (e) cost of other expenses (itemize as much as possible). AFSA realizes that these budget figures are only estimates, but if possible, please provide anticipated budget totals for each of the five categories. The maximum award size is $85,000 in U.S. funds. Contact AFSA if you are considering a proposal for a larger sum of money. Exceptions to the one-time maximum award amount may be made on a case-by-case basis.

Patient-relevance: Describe how your study could potentially lead to the improved well-being of patients with FM. Please be specific and be certain that your project proposal offers something “new” in terms of the possible causes of or treatments for FM. Keep in mind, AFSA does not fund studies related to behavioral, psychosocial, self-help, or movement therapies.

Note: No institutional overhead is allowed because all funds for research are obtained from patients with FM. If you are concerned about being able to meet this requirement, please contact AFSA. We can usually persuade your institution to waive its overhead fees prior to submitting an LOI or application (whichever one comes first).

All LOIs should be submitted in PDF format to:
Kristin Thorson