NEW YORK, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) announced today the launch of its 2005 Community Fast Track program (CFT '05). Created in 2001, the annual program seeks out proposals that represent a new approach or new concept, and have the potential to significantly advance the field of Parkinson's research. Each year, national and regional Parkinson's groups join to help fund the program and the Foundation is currently reaching out to community partners to encourage participation. The 2005 Community Fast Track program departs from prior years in its greater emphasis on outcomes, and that it will serve as a more formalized pipeline for new ideas. These changes are designed to foster the incubation and development of innovative concepts, a continued goal of the program. The program will seek to fund innovative research projects conducted within a one- year timeframe and within a $125,000 budget. All projects will be assessed at the end of the one-year period and those researchers whose work shows strong potential will have the opportunity for supplemental funding to continue their forward progress. The Foundation anticipates awarding up to $2 million to researchers. "By shortening the project period we will be able to closely monitor each grant and quickly push ahead those novel concepts that have the potential to move the field forward," said Deborah W. Brooks, president and CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. "This approach was designed to encourage both greater risk-taking and accountability." The CFT '05 program retains the fast track philosophy, which seeks to reduce the burden of applications and speed funds to researchers, thereby maximizing their time in the lab. Letters of intent (LOI) are mandatory and due July 19th. Each LOI will be reviewed by a panel of scientific experts and those proposals that appear both promising and in keeping with the spirit of the program will be invited to submit full applications. Funding is anticipated by end of year. The Community Fast Track program is an investigator-initiated, peer- reviewed program that provides funding for cutting-edge research relevant to the cure, cause, prevention or improved treatment of Parkinson's disease. In prior years, community partners including the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, National Parkinson Foundation, The Parkinson Alliance, Parkinson's Unity Walk, Parkinson Association of the Sacramento Region, Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland, Lawrence County Parkinson's Association Parkinson's Victoria, Inc. and the Parkinson Association of the Rockies have joined with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to award more than $13 million to support 71 grants. To date, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has funded more than $50 million in research aimed at finding a cure for the disease. For more information on The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, visit www.michaeljfox.org.
SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research