“Mini-Moon” Fixel – MBI Pilot Grant Mechanism for Dystonia and Related Disorders

Applications due: 11/30/2020

Funding period: 1/1/2021–6/30/2020

The Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases and the McKnight Brain Institute is committed to promoting research for neurological disorders. We have an amazing partnership with Tyler’s Hope and also the state of Florida to promote and build dystonia research. Many scientific ideas can potentially advance research and lead to meaningful treatments for dystonia and other movement disorders. These research ideas can potentially be competitive for extramural funding, but our internal investigators frequently lack the start-up resources necessary for the development of the project and to support the specific aims of a future NIH or foundation clinical research into dystonia and related disorders. In addition to the scientific merits and feasibility of the project, proposals demonstrating a high probability and clear plans for subsequent external peer-reviewed funding will receive priority.

Criteria for the application and evaluation of the application:

  • Must show relevance to dystonia research, especially if a related disorder.
  • Likelihood the research will impact dystonia.
  • Applications can be either clinical-research or basic/translational research
  • Any topic or approach is encouraged, including but not limited to the mechanistic understanding of these disorders and the promotion of novel treatment approaches.
  • Likelihood that the pilot work will lead to subsequent extramural peer-reviewed funding
  • Quality, scientific merit, and novelty of the proposal.
  • Appropriateness of the budget for the proposed work.
  • Feasibility of the project to be completed on a 6-month timeline with a subsequent application for extramural funding within a year.

The investigator is responsible for obtaining appropriate Institutional Review Board or Animal Care and Use Committee approval for the proposal and this should not delay the timeline. 


Applicants must either be full-time faculty of the University of Florida or post-graduate level trainees (e.g., fellows, post-doctoral researchers) within the University of Florida. Must be mentored if junior faculty or trainee. 

Budget limitations

Total budgets of $10,000-$50,000 will be considered for each project. There will be no indirect costs allowed for the pilot grants and in general should not be used for salary support unless cleared with the Fixel Institute administration prior to submission.

 Allowable costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Funding for research personnel
  • Materials, supplies and software costs necessary for the acquisition of preliminary data
  • Funds for human subject payment
  • Small equipment that is critical to project execution
  • Funds for publication of a single pilot data article

The following costs are not allowable:

  • Tuition
  • Major equipment
  • Computer expenses
  • Travel to present data at meetings

Application process

Materials required for the application:

  • Research proposal consisting of a single page NIH-style specific aims page and an abbreviated research strategy with significance, innovation, and approach (bibliography and references cited are not included in the single-page limit but only key references should be included)
  • Structure of the study team listing names of principal investigators/co-investigators +/- mentors (if applicable). Explain the individual roles and qualifications (single page maximum)
  • Milestones and expected timelines of reaching those milestones, including submission for subsequent extramural funding (single page maximum)
  • Budget plan for the total amount requested and a brief justification for the amount (1/2 page maximum)

Compile all materials into a single PDF in the order described and send proposals via email to Aparna Wagle Shukla Aparna.shukla@neurology.ufl.edu by 11/30/2020.

Reporting requirements: Funded investigators will provide a six month and one-year project report(s) detailing milestones, subsequent funding applications, research presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. Should grant funding or publications with the supported data be obtained after submitting the progress report, investigators will report those achievements to the grant coordinating team outside the annual report mechanism.