From transplanting cells and regenerating damaged nerve fibers to designing adaptive canoe seats, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation supports innovative research and fellowships that improve the lives of those with spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D). The Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, last year funded $796,402 in grants, and since its inception in 1976, we’ve invested 644 grants for a total of $54,109,999. The grant funds the following categories:

  • Basic Science - laboratory research in the basic sciences to find a cure for SCI/D
  • Clinical  - clinical and functional studies of the medical, psychosocial and economic effects of SCI/D, and interventions to alleviate these effects
  • Design and Development  -  of new or improved rehabilitative and assistive technology/devices for people with SCI/D to improve function, which also includes improving the identification, selection and utilization of these devices.
  • Fellowships  - for postdoctoral scientists, clinicians and engineers to encourage training and specialization in the field of spinal cord research

NEW! The Research Foundations now supports one, two or three year grants in the four areas of emphasis. Grants in Basic Science, Clinical Applications, and Design & Development categories will now be funded up to $200,000 for the grant period and Grants in the Fellowship category will now be funded up to $150,000 for the grant period.



The Research Foundation is focused on funding projects grounded in basic laboratory science and the education of scientists working on breakthroughs directed toward a cure for paralysis, secondary health effects and technologies associated with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D).  These projects should be designed to find better treatments and cures for paralysis and support efforts to improve the quality of life of individuals with SCI/D until improved clinical treatments, technologies or cures are discovered, as well as to train post-doctoral fellow investigators and encourage them to specialize in the area of spinal cord research.

Before submitting a grant application, carefully read the Research Foundation's Policies and Procedures as policies may change from year to year.


  • Application Period Opens: April 1, 2024
  • Application Period Closes: July 1, 2024
  • Award Notification: December 1, 2024
  • ​Grant Start Date: January 1, 2025


Eligible grantee institutions must be located in the United States or Canada. However, investigators and fellows are not required to be U.S. or Canadian citizens. All grant applicants must have a professional degree: Ph.D. or M.D. preferred.

Senior fellows are encouraged to apply as principal investigators. Post-doctoral scientists are eligible to apply for fellowship support within four years of receiving a Ph.D. or completing M.D. residency. Graduate students can participate in Foundation-related research and be paid from a Foundation award. However, graduate students cannot apply for a Foundation grant as a fellow or as a principal investigator.


Grant applications undergo a stringent, independent peer review for scientific merit and relevance to spinal cord dysfunction. A panel of reviewers, assigned by the Peer Review Contractor, will evaluate each eligible application.

Reviewers will utilize the following criteria to evaluate the applications:

  • Innovation and Significance
  • Approach
  • Feasibility
  • Investigators
  • Facilities
  • Budget

The PVA Research Foundation Board of Directors, composed entirely of Paralyzed Veterans of America members, considers reports from the peer review. Final funding decisions rest solely with the Directors.

At the close of the grant cycle, upon notification of grant decisions, applicants will receive copies of their grant reviews.


Charles Brown, Chairman; Washington, DC

Shaun Castle, Executive Director; Washington, DC

Cheryl Vines, Secretary; Washington, DC

Cheryl Topping, Treasurer; Washington, DC

Peter Axelson, Class III Member; Minden, Nevada

Rory Cooper, Class III Member; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kenneth Curley, Class III Member; Frederick, Maryland

Cheryl Lewis, Class III Member; Gulfport, Mississippi

Eduardo Tinoco, Class III Member; North Hollywood, California

Matthew Mickunas, Class III Member; Burien, Washington

Daniel Dudek, 1st Alternate; Roy Washington

Kenneth Ness, 2nd Alternate; Elm Grove, Wisconsin


For questions on the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation, contact:

Lindsay Perlman
Associate Director, Research and Education

Phone: 202-416-7611