The Peer Review Process

The PKD Foundation strives to be transparent related to our decision-making processes. The following outlines the general composition of our grant review committees, who develop recommendations for funding, as well as the process we use as a Foundation to make funding decisions. If you have further questions about our processes or a recent review of your grant application, please email research@pkdcure.org.

Grant and Fellowship application review

Invitations to submit full awards will be determined by the Grant Review Committee as well as PKDF’s determination of programmatic relevance (whether the proposed research supports our mission and current priorities). Read more about the review and scoring of pre-applications here.

Funding of awards is based on the priority score (based on the NIH scoring system), the recommendations of the Grants Review Committee, and the availability of funds. Final review and approval rests with the Board of Directors.

The assigned scientific reviewers will evaluate at least five individual criteria (e.g., Significance, Innovation, Approach, Investigator(s), Environment), considering the strengths and weaknesses within each criterion. Reviewers may also specifically consider:

  • The conceptual basis on which the proposal rests.
  • The novelty of the concept and strategy.
  • The clarity of the presentation.
  • The overall plan for transitioning research findings to clinical applications.
  • The likelihood that the proposed project will contribute to or result in a viable therapeutic intervention for PKD patients.
  • The experience, background, and qualifications of investigators.
  • The adequacy of the applicant’s resources and environment (facilities, patient population, data management, and data analysis).
  • The likelihood that successful completion of the proposed studies would result in further research funded by another agency (e.g. NIH, DOD, FDA).
  • The adequacy of provisions for the protection of human subjects (if applicable).

Grant Review Committees

All applications are evaluated by the PKD Foundation’s Grants Review Committee, comprised of the following members:

PKDF’s Scientific Advisory Committee

Made up of 14 prestigious PKD physicians and scientists, the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) oversees our research and medical programs aimed at discovering and delivering treatments for PKD. The SAC meets throughout the year to discuss relevant medical issues, provide guidance to our staff and review and approve research applications for grants and fellowships in the field of PKD science. All our materials and publications are approved by SAC members, who possess the highest level of experience and knowledge in PKD clinical and scientific work.

A Stakeholder Review Panel

This panel has been selected by PKDF to be representative of PKD patients or caregivers following a process modeled after the Consumer Review programs used by DOD Consumer Reviewer program and other disease-oriented research foundations. Download our Guidance for Reviewers with more details on how the Stakeholder Review may impact your application. Stakeholder Reviewers will review full applications only.

We welcome applications from patients, caregivers, and parents of children with PKD who are passionate and committed to serve as reviewers for PKDF. Click here to find out more.

Independent ad hoc scientific reviewers. 

Selected by the Chair of PKDF’s Scientific Advisory Committee to serve as experts in any unmet scientific expertise needed to review the given year’s proposals.

2021 Grant Review Committee

SAC

  • Alessandra Boletta, PhD (San Raffaele Scientific Institute)
  • Neera Dahl, MD (Yale University)
  • Berenice Gitomer, PhD (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)
  • Erum Hartung, MD (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) – fellowship review only
  • Jinghua Hu, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Vishal Patel, MD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
  • Greg Pazour, PhD (University of Massachusetts)
  • Frederic Rahbari-Oskoui, MD (Emory University)
  • Richard Sandford, MD, PhD (University of Cambridge)
  • Robert Weiss, MD (University of California Davis)
  • Alan Yu, MB (University of Kansas Medical Center)

Stakeholders

  • Kristee Adams (PKD patient)
  • Alisha Graham (PKD patient)
  • James Myers (PKD patient)
  • Dwight Odland (PKD patient)

Ad hoc

  • Benjamin D. Cowley Jr, MD (University of Oklahoma)
  • Paul DeCaen, PhD (Northwestern University)
  • Sorin Fedeles, PhD (Yale University)
  • Peter Harris, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Max Liebau, MD (University of Cologne, Germany)
  • Robin Maser, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
  • Surya Nauli, PhD (Chapman University)
  • Takamitsu Saigusa, MD (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Zhaoxia Sun, PhD (Yale University)
  • Marie Trudel, PhD (Montreal Clinical Research Institute)
  • Oliver Wessely, PhD (Cleveland Clinic/ Case Western Reserve University)
  • Owen Woodward, PhD (University of Maryland, Baltimore)
  • Yong Yu, PhD (St. John’s University)

View the research proposals scored for funding in 2020 here.

2020 Grant Review Committee

SAC

  • Alessandra Boletta, PhD (San Raffaele Scientific Institute)
  • Neera Dahl, MD (Yale University)
  • Berenice Gitomer, PhD (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)
  • Erum Hartung, MD (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
  • Jinghua Hu, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Vishal Patel, MD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
  • Greg Pazour, PhD (University of Massachusetts)
  • Frederic Rahbari-Oskoui, MD (Emory University)
  • Richard Sandford, MD, PhD (University of Cambridge)
  • Terry Watnick, MD (University of Maryland)
  • Robert Weiss, MD (University of California Davis)
  • Alan Yu, MB (University of Kansas Medical Center)

Stakeholders

  • Kristee Adams (PKD patient)
  • Beverly Benson, PhD (caregiver)
  • Walt Hunt, PhD (PKD patient)
  • Michele Karl (caregiver and ARPKD parent)
  • Klee Kleber (PKD patient)
  • Dwight Odland (PKD patient)

Ad hoc

  • Whitney Besse, MD (Yale University)
  • Benjamin D. Cowley Jr, MD (University of Oklahoma)
  • Paul DeCaen, PhD (Northwestern University)
  • Iain Drummond, PhD (Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory)
  • Peter Harris, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Katharina Hopp, PhD (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)
  • Robin Maser, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
  • Luiz Menezes, PhD (NIDDK)
  • Surya Nauli, PhD (Chapman University)
  • Takamitsu Saigusa, MD (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Oliver Wessely, PhD (Cleveland Clinic/ Case Western Reserve University)
  • Yong Yu, PhD (St. John’s University)

View the research proposals scored for funding in 2020 here.

2019 Grant Review Committee

SAC

  • Alessandra Boletta, PhD (San Raffaele Scientific Institute)
  • Neera Dahl, MD (Yale University)
  • Iain Drummond, PhD (Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory)
  • Berenice Gitomer, PhD (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)
  • Erum Hartung, MD (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
  • Jinghua Hu, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Vishal Patel, MD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
  • Frederic Rahbari-Oskoui, MD (Emory University)
  • Richard Sandford, MD, PhD (University of Cambridge)
  • Darren Wallace, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
  • Terry Watnick, MD (University of Maryland)
  • Robert Weiss, MD (University of California Davis)

Ad hoc

  • Nicolas Berbari, PhD (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)
  • Whitney Besse, MD (Yale University)
  • Benjamin D. Cowley Jr, MD (University of Oklahoma)
  • Peter Harris, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Joshua Lipschutz, MD (Medical University of South Carolina)
  • Robin Maser, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
  • Luiz Menezes, PhD (NIDDK)
  • Surya Nauli, PhD (Chapman University)
  • Reena Rao, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
  • Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD (University of New Mexico)
  • Oliver Wessely, PhD (Cleveland Clinic/ Case Western Reserve University)
  • Yong Yu, PhD (St. John’s University)

View the research proposals scored for funding in 2019 here.

Conflicts of Interest

PKD Foundation Grant Reviewers are expected to be impartial and fair when reviewing grant and fellowship applications, and are expected to identify all conflicts of interest beforehand. The PKD Foundation follows guidelines set by the NIH regarding conflicts of interest on the grant review committee.

For more information, read our Reviewer Conflicts of Interest Guidance.

Confidentiality Standards for Reviewers

To preserve the integrity of the peer review process, all parties involved in the review
process (including the Grant Review Committee, and PKDF leadership and adminstrators) must adhere to PKDF’s practices regarding confidentiality and non-disclosure.

For more information, read our Non-Disclosure Agreement for reviewers.

PKDF Programmatic Review

In order to ensure that PKDF funds scientific proposals that address our mission and goals, each grant cycle gives special consideration to specific research topics. The priority areas for 2021 are: 

  • Autosomal Recessive PKD (ARPKD)
  • ADPKD in children
  • Biomarker discovery and validation
  • Lifestyle interventions (e.g., in dietary habits)
  • PKD drug discovery
  • 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)

Funding opportunities

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. 

If you have any questions, please contact research@pkdcure.org.

Last updated May 2021