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PAIR Leadership Awards

The Parkinson's Foundation PAIR Leadership Awards foster patient engagement in Parkinson's research. These grants support scientists working to formally engage Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocates and other patient advocates (people with Parkinson's and care partners) in their research. We base this award on our philosophy that when we bring together two kinds of experts – scientists who study PD and individuals who live with it – we are likely to find answers more quickly. The award is an extension of the Parkinson's Foundation Parkinson's Advocates in Research (PAIR) program. The application deadline is Thursday, June 1.

Successful applicants will have a plan to formally engage one or more of the Parkinson's Foundation's trained Research Advocates or other patient advocates (people with PD and care partners) in their project, in a way that goes beyond recruitment or trial participation. Engagement should be project-specific and applicants should demonstrate a pre-existing commitment to engaging people with PD as partners to improve research.

Some possible patient advocate activity examples include:

  • Identifying research priorities of the Parkinson's community
  • Developing specific study design and protocols
  • Serving as co-investigators on specific clinical studies

Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocates are people living with PD and care partners who have completed training to understand the science of Parkinson's and the drug development process. They are collaborating with over 120 institutions across the U.S., including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Parkinson Study Group and industry partners. The Parkinson's Foundation may be able to connect you with a Research Advocate in your community.

Funds Available

Up to $10,000 in funding is available for outstanding project ideas.

Eligibility & Restrictions

A successful PAIR Leadership Award recipient is a Parkinson's researcher in the U.S. who has:

  • Established pre-existing relationship(s) with Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocate(s) or other patient advocates within her/his community
  • Already identified a specific project that will engage Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocate(s) or other patient advocates and in which all parties (advocates and professionals) believe there is potential to accelerate PD research
  • Received the support of at least one Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocate(s) or another patient advocate who is collaborating on the project
  • Demonstrated a commitment to patient engagement to improve research


The application deadline is Thursday, June 1. We require online application submission at; we will not accept paper copies. Interested applicants should contact Karlin Schroeder prior to submitting applications at or (646) 388-7641.

Applicants should submit a maximum of a three-page proposal, formatted with no less than 1-inch margins and in an 11-point Arial font or equivalent on a U.S. letter-sized page. Organize the application into the following sections:

  • Project summary – no more than 150 words
  • Project description, including relevance to patient engagement and furthering scientific research
  • Timeline
  • Project evaluation plan
  • Project team (including Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocates/patient advocates)
  • Budget

In addition to the application outlined above, we require a support letter from at least one person with Parkinson's who is a project team member. The letter should describe the individual's relationship with the applicant, the role of people with Parkinson's in the project and why the person supports the proposed project.

Apply Now

Review & Decisions

Use awards 12 months from the time of issue. Final Decisions are usually made within three to five weeks of application submission.  

Reporting Requirements

We require PAIR Leadership Award recipients to appropriately acknowledge the Parkinson's Foundation in conjunction with the publication or presentation of any research results supported, either in whole or in part, by this award. At the end of the award period, applicants must also provide a written summary of their accomplishments. We require awardees present their projects at quarterly conference calls with Parkinson's Foundation staff and other PAIR Leadership Award recipients.

Previously Funded PAIR Leadership Awards ($60,000)

Development of a Virtual Case Manager for People with Parkinson's Disease
Bastiaan R. Bloem, M.D., Ph.D., Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence, Netherlands
John Andrejack, Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocate

Optimizing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program for Accessibility, Feasibility, Comfort, and Effectiveness for People with PD
Michelle Burack, M.D., Ph.D., and Dan Kinel, University of Rochester Medical Center, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence

PAIRing up to Address Neuropsychiatric Concerns in Parkinson's Disease
Jennifer Goldman, M.S., M.Phil., Rush University Medical Center, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence
Don Simmonds, Parkinson's Foundation Research Advocate

The DREAMS Team: Galvanizing Research Participation in the Parkinson's Underserved Community
Madeleine Hackney, Ph.D., Molly Perkins, PhD, Rebeca Dillard and Ron Wincek, Emory University School of Medicine, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence

An Investigation of Tracking Technology in the Setting of an Established Exercise Program for Individuals with Parkinson Disease
Sarah Ingersoll, M.B.A., and Kris Mendenhall, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Assessment of Changes in Gait Patterns during Cognitive and Visual Dual-Tasking using the Xbox Kinect System
Joe Signorile, Roberto Chen, University of Miami, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence 

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