Research funding

We support the development of clinical interventions for the treatment of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Since our founding, we have invested almost $50 million in more than 700 research, clinical and scientific grants, fellowships and scientific meetings.

The mission of the PKD Foundation is to discover and deliver treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease and to improve the quality of lives of patients living with this disease. To achieve this, we support investigator-initiated research that range across the research continuum, including basic, translational and clinical research. Additionally, we are committed to supporting a robust pipelines of junior investigators interested in a career in PKD through our Fellowship and Young Investigator Award programs. 

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Fellowship grants

Our fellowship grant program recognizes early-career scientists whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars – the next generation of scientific leaders in PKD research. Our fellowships aim to attract promising trainees who will obtain significant research experience as they initiate and – we hope – spend long and productive careers in PKD research.


Request for applications for fellowships are released in October with a January deadline. Recipients are notified in May, and the grant cycle begins on July 1 of the same year. Each recipient receives $60,000 a year for two years.


Applicant must have a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. This application is for a training position and requires a mentor who is knowledgeable about PKD and the project. Applicants must describe a clear career path and explain how this project is relevant to that path. A mentor may sponsor only one applicant.

Review process

Applicants are evaluated by our Grants Review Committee, comprised of members of the Scientific Advisory Committee. Applications are given a priority score based on the scientific merit of the project, its relevance to PKD research, and the training potential of the applicant. Funding of awards is based on the priority score, the recommendations of the Grants Review Committee and the availability of funds. Recipients submit mid-cycle and final reports to update on their progress.

Research grants

The principal goal of our research grant program is the development of clinical interventions for the treatment of PKD. This program funds basic laboratory research aimed at increasing understanding of the genetic and pathological processes involved in PKD as well as research with an obvious or direct potential to accelerate the development of potential therapies.


Request for applications for fellowships are released in October with a January deadline. Each grant recipient receives $80,000 per year for two years. After the first year of funding, grant recipients submit updates on the progress of their research. After the final year of funding, grant recipients submit the results of their studies in a final report.


Applicants must have an M.D., Ph.D. or equivalent degree and hold a faculty appointment at the institution where the research will be conducted. Applicants need not be United States citizens.

Young Investigator Award

An optional third year of support will be available to a young investigator(s). The recipient(s) will be selected from meritorious grant applications to support the transition of a junior scientist to an independent investigator.

Interested applicants will need to clearly outline their interest, eligibility, and scope of research for this third year of funding.

Review process

A scientific peer review process determines the scientific merit of each proposal. Applicants are evaluated by our Grants Review Committee, comprised of members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and independent outside scientific reviewers.

Applications are judged on the following:

  • Conceptual basis on which the proposal rests
  • Novelty of the concept and strategy
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Overall plan for transitioning research findings to clinical applications
  • Likelihood that the proposed project will contribute to or result in a viable therapeutic intervention for PKD patients
  • Experience, background and qualifications of investigator(s)
  • Adequacy of the applicant’s resources and environment (facilities, patient population, data management, and data analysis)
  • Likelihood that successful completion of the proposed studies would result in further research funded by another agency (e.g. – NIH, FDA)
  • Adequacy of provisions for the protection of human subjects (if applicable)
  • Institutional Review Board approval (if applicable).

Scientific meetings

The scientific meeting grant program is focused on funding PKD-relevant scientific and clinical meetings that bring together PKD scientists from around the world to discuss current findings and encourage research collaborations. We have also funded medical education programs at national clinical meetings to educate medical professionals in the basic science, diagnosis, disease management and potential treatments for PKD.

We have provided funding through educational grants to support scientific conferences and meetings that support our mission. The amount of funding ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 per conference.

We accept scientific meeting applications on a rolling basis.

Other funding opportunities

  • The Department of Defense has released funding opportunities for multiple awards in the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. A webinar series has also been made available to assist in exploring funding opportunities and career development in clinical research. 
  • ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Career Development Grants Program provides funding for young faculty to foster evolution to an independent research career and a successful application for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) full R01 grant or equivalent. By the end of the grant period, a recipient will have an independent research career and be competitive for federal and nonfederal funding. For details, click here.

Meet our 2019 fellowship and grant awardees

PKD Foundation Grants Policy Statement Regarding Sexual Harassment