Usher Syndrome Society
Request for Applications (RFA)
Translational Research Grant Application Instructions

Letter of Intent Due: September 1, 2023
Applications Due: October 20, 2023
Notification of Award: December 1, 2023
Funds Available: January 1, 2024

Please submit grant materials as a single PDF file to
For questions regarding these instructions, please contact the USS
Background: The Usher Syndrome Society (USS) is a non-profit organization that uses storytelling through the arts, educational events, and collaboration to raise awareness and funding for Usher syndrome (USH) research.

USS funds research designed to develop treatments and cures for all forms of Usher syndrome. USS has secured commitments for $500,000 to fund USH research.

 To fulfill the goal of “timely and efficient translation”, USS Translational Research Grants are
intended to support translational research on Usher syndrome within the domains of:
Preclinical Research, encompassing basic science research with a direct link to the
clinical population (human genetics, patient tissue, iPSC, humanized animal models).
Mechanism-based Therapeutic Development, focused on novel disease modifying
therapeutic modalities utilizing in vitro or in vivo preclinical models.

1. Purpose of grants: Proposed research projects must be related to the mission of the USS. The USS focus is on the discovery pipeline including identification of therapeutic strategies and development of novel therapeutic agents. Emphasis is placed on collaborative efforts that extend across sensory modalities as well as platform technologies that may advance therapeutic development for multiple forms of USH. Highly promising proposals that address specific USH genes or mutations are also encouraged.
2. Description of grants:

  1. New research proposals: These grants offer up to two years of support, contingent upon adequate progress. The maximum allowable budget (direct costs only, no indirect costs allowed) is $100,000 per year. The number of awardees will be determined by the quality of the proposals, the total amount of the requested budgets of sufficiently meritorious proposals, and available funds. It is anticipated that 2-3 awards will be made. The second year of funding will be based on adequate progress and milestone achievements and will be reviewed on a non-competitive basis.
  2. Research projects that include well-documented collaborations that merge research efforts across sensory modalities and across scientific disciplines will be prioritized. Further priority will be assigned to applications that may offer the greatest benefit for the largest patient population or targeted approaches that hold great promise for select USH genes or mutations.
  3. Principle investigators selected for funding will have biannual collaborative consultations with USS scientific advisors for feedback and progress updates.

3. Eligibility: Applications will be accepted from research scientists at qualified U.S. and international research institutions. Collaborative projects between U.S. and international scientists are also acceptable. Applicant principal investigators must hold a tenure-track faculty position with an M.D., Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., or equivalent degree.

4. LOI: The Letter of Intent (LOI) will have a 1-page limit. The LOI should include name and affiliation of PIs, USH gene(s) of interest, hypothesis, specific aims and a brief description of the research design and methods. LOIs will be screened to determine if the proposed research project is consistent with the goals of the USS. Following screening, notifications will be sent to selected investigators inviting submission of a full application. LOIs must be submitted to by 5 pm EDT on September 1, 2023. An email confirmation of receipt will be returned to the applicant. Invitations to submit a full application will be sent by Sept 15, 2023.

5. Full applications (invited following review of LOI): Full applications must be submitted in single-spaced text, one-half inch margins, and 12-point Arial or Helveticafont. The primary applicant’s name must appear in the upper right-hand corner of each page. Proposal text is limited to five pages (including figures, excluding references).
Use standard PHS 398 forms for biosketch and other support.

6. Application submission: Submit applications electronically as a single PDF file to by 5 pm EDT on October 20, 2023.

7. Composition of research proposal: Invited research proposals should include:
1. Cover Letter
2. Abstracts, scientific (250 words) and lay summary (100 words)
3. Budget & Budget Justification (1 page limit)
4. Biosketch(es) (include PI and co-investigators; NIH format)
5. Other support page (list pending and current support only)
6. Research Plan (5-page limit, not including references)
    a. Hypothesis and Specific Aims
    b. Background and Significance
    c. Preliminary Results / Progress Report
    d. Research Design and Methods
    e. Statement of how proposal supports USS mission and research priorities.
7. Literature cited
8. *Letters of support from collaborators or consultants (1 page limit/letter) *optional

8. Grant review: Applications will be reviewed and prioritized for funding by a multidisciplinary scientific advisory committee composed of established hearing/vision scientists. The committee will be chaired by Jeffrey R. Holt, Ph.D., Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.