Request for Applications — Research Grants

Overview of program goals and scope

The PKD Foundation’s principal mission is to support basic, translational, and clinical research that will benefit patients with autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD and ARPKD).


Under this RFA, the PKD Foundation solicits research grant applications in the following areas:

  • Basic research — to enhance understanding of molecular basis of PKD and its pathobiology
  • Translational research — to accelerate development of predictive and therapeutic strategies for PKD
  • Clinical research — such as small pilot studies
  • Epidemiology/data analysis research — to conduct secondary data analyses utilizing existing database resources, or to develop new statistical methodologies or test hypotheses using existing data

Special consideration will be given to proposed research in the following areas:

  • Autosomal Recessive PKD (ARPKD)
  • ADPKD in children
  • Biomarker discovery and validation
  • Innovative approaches to machine learning
  • Lifestyle interventions (e.g., in dietary habits)
  • Epidemiology/ data analysis (e.g., using existing datasets)
  • Extra-renal manifestations of PKD, including but not limited to congenital hepatic fibrosis, polycystic liver disease and intracranial aneurysms
  • Clinical care disparities (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, rural versus urban)
  • Diabetes and PKD


Thanks to international PKD Foundation alliances, special consideration will also be given to grant applications for research conducted in:

  • Canada (made possible by a collaboration with the PKD Foundation of Canada)
  • Australia (made possible by a collaboration with the PKD Australia)

Important dates

Applicants must submit a pre-application in order to be considered for funding, and will be notified by October as to whether or not they are invited to submit full grant proposals. Full applications will not be accepted unless notification of invitation has been received from PKDF.

Pre-Application opens June 2023
Pre-Application Deadline  August 14, 2023
Review Period August – October 2023
Invitations to submit full applications* October 2023 
Full Application Deadline    January 16, 2024
Review Period January – May 2024
Applicant Notification May 2024
Funding Cycle July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2026


Program specifics


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 at the time of award. Researchers are invited to apply from all over the world and do not need to be United States citizens. No fellowships will be awarded under this RFA, although salary support for personnel working on the project may be requested. Applicants may only submit one grant proposal per funding cycle.

Terms of support

Award amounts will equal $80,000 direct costs per year for two years, for a total grant award of $160,000 (or $240,000 for a three-year Young Investigator Award). Future-year funding is dependent upon the availability of funds and interim research progress. The funds awarded must be used solely for the purposes specified in the proposal submitted to and approved by the PKD Foundation as executed by the investigator and institution in strict compliance with the budget attached to the application. Please note the following restrictions on salary, travel and indirect costs:

  • No Indirect Costs are paid on this award.
  • No more than 50% of the Direct Costs ($40,000) may be used for the applicant’s or other personnel’s salary. Any use of the award for salary support must be justified in the application.*
  • Consultant costs cannot exceed $10,000; equipment costs cannot exceed $12,000.
  • No more than $1500 per year may be used for travel.
  • Successful applicants may not hold any other research funding from the PKD Foundation at the time funding of this grant begins.
  • Applicants with existing funding from other sources will be eligible to apply for this award as long as there is no scientific overlap between the new application and existing or anticipated funding.
  • All current or potential funding must be disclosed at the time of application.

*Salary and equipment cost limitations may be waived on research involving epidemiology/data analysis research or other proposals requiring heavy personnel support. Please contact with details of your project to be considered.

Application review procedures

The PKD Foundation strives to be transparent related to our decision-making processes. We rely on our grant review committees, who develop recommendations for funding, as well as the process we use as a Foundation to make funding decisions. Learn more here

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.

Specific eligibility criteria at the time of the beginning of this additional support include:

  • Faculty appointment not required at time of application but must be held by start of funding
  • No other career development award may be held (e.g., NIH K-award or equivalent)
  • No major research award may be held (in the role of lead investigator) (e.g., NIH R01 or equivalent)
  • No more than 5* years from completing post-doctoral or clinical fellowship training

*does not include maternity leave, FMLA, or time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic

Interested applicants will need to clearly outline their interest, eligibility, and scope of research for this third year of funding. Grant applications should be written for the standard two-year proposal; a section will be provided for those applying to the YIA to provide an additional page justification.

Proposal resubmissions

Applicants are restricted to one application resubmission and will be asked to provide a one-page response to reviewer comments. Thereafter, the application must be submitted as a new application.

Reporting requirements

Grantees must submit an annual Progress Report to be submitted along with a Financial Report. As part of these reports, a brief (one or two paragraph) summary written for the lay public must be included.  Although Research Grant and Fellowship Awards are for a two-year period, the PKD Foundation reserves the right to terminate any grant if there has been inadequate research progress during the first year of the award.

Download the PKDF Report Requirements.


A stipulation to all awards is appropriate attribution of the PKD Foundation in any publication, news release, presentation, etc. that results from work funded by the award.  The PKD Foundation must also receive a copy of the publication and/or news release. This responsibility extends beyond the interval of provided funding.

Grantees are asked to please use language similar to the following: This research was funded by a grant from the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, The Foundation had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Intellectual property policy

All research projects funded by the PKD Foundation are subject to its intellectual property policy. Details can be found at By accepting a PKD Foundation award for a research project, the Principal Investigator or other personnel contributing to and working on the project, as well as the Institution(s) with which they are affiliated, agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this policy.

Open Access Policy

All research projects are encouraged to publish as high-quality, peer-reviewed research articles, monographs, and book chapters. We believe that maximizing the distribution of these publications – by providing free, online access – is the most effective way of ensuring that the research we fund can be accessed, read, and built upon. In turn, this will foster a richer research culture.   

Click here to learn more about the Open Access Policy 

Liability policy & reporting responsibilities

The PKD Foundation serves as a grantor not a sponsor for research grant projects.  For those involving human subjects, the responsibility for liability issues and all reporting requirements including local, state and federal regulations and requirements including those of the FDA, will reside with the sponsoring institution, not the PKD Foundation.

Conflict of interest

Any relationship between the investigators and any industrial collaborator must be disclosed in the application.

Grants policy statement regarding sexual harassment in the workplace

Prior to releasing funding, the PKD Foundation will require an Authorized Organizational Representative to certify by means of a signed letter on institutional letterhead, institutional commitment to ensuring:

  1. Proper policies, procedures and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices, and;
  2. Commitment to respond promptly and appropriately to allegations of discriminatory practices.

Failure to provide the signed letter will result in withdrawal of the application/funding. The full Foundation policy can be found here.

Pre-application Instructions

Applicants must submit a pre-application in order to be considered for funding, and will be notified by October as to whether or not they are invited to submit full grant proposals. Full applications will not be accepted unless notification of invitation has been received from PKDF.


Submit your pre-application through the Proposal Central submission portal by August 14th, 2023 at 5 pm CST.

Pre-application requirements:

  1. Letter of Intent
    • Abstract (3,500 characters w/ spaces)
    • Significance; Innovation; Specific aims and approach; and Scientific team and environment (4,500 characters w/ spaces)
    • Tables and figures (one page limit, PDF upload))
  2. References (one page limit, PDF upload)
  3. Biosketch (no page limit): new style NIH Biosketch format. Include relevant details of applicant’s career trajectory as relating to this proposal.
    • Also include a Biosketch for all key personnel.

Full Application Instructions 

 Applicants must submit a pre-application in order to be considered for funding, and will be notified by October as to whether or not they are invited to submit full grant proposals. Full applications will not be accepted unless notification of invitation has been received from PKDF.


Applicants will be asked to submit a project proposal, letters of support, and budget details through the ProposalCentral platform. If the application is a resubmission, a response to reviewers will be requested. If eligible, applicants may also submit justification to be considered for the Young Investigator Award.   

Formatting requirements

Font size and types, margins, and line spacing requirements are necessary to ensure readability. Applications that do not strictly adhere to the following guidelines will be administratively withdrawn.

  • Font size: Must be 11 points or larger. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams, and charts is acceptable, as long as it is clearly legible when the page is viewed at 100%.
    • Some PDF conversion software reduces the font size. It is important to confirm that the final PDF document complies with the font requirements.
  • Text fonts: please use one of the following:
    • Arial
    • Georgia
    • Helvetica
  • Page margins: 1-inch margins from top, bottom, left and right aspects of each page. The NIH Biosketch may use 1/2 inch margins. 
  • Line spacing: No more than six lines per vertical inch (e.g., text using Arial font size 11 would need to be at least single (1.0) spaced).
  • Text color: No restriction. Though not required, black or other high-contrast text colors are recommended since they print well and are legible to the largest audience.
  • *All images, graphs, charts, etc. should be included in the Project Plan section of the application.


For general guidance how to structure and write a grant application consider NIH resources (e.g., Format and Write Applications or Research Forms)


If you have any questions, please contact

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Learn more

In 2020, we awarded research grants to nine outstanding PKD researchers for a total investment of $1.4 million over the next two years. The Research Grant Program will fund critical research to increase understanding of the genetic and pathological processes involved in PKD and to accelerate the development of potential therapies for PKD patients.

Page last updated January 2024