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Medical Research Funding

Additional Research Programs

Occasionally, the RCF initiates new programs to accelerate the development of a particular focused area. In 2023, we launched the Tauopathy Challenge Workshop, a grant opportunity of up to $500,000 in direct costs over two years.

Tauopathy Challenge Workshop

  • Workshop Date / Location: September 25-27, 2023 / Chicago, IL
  • Letter of Intent Deadline: Applications are now closed. Applicants were notified by 3/31 regarding their submission.
  • Letter of Intent Notification Date: March 31, 2023
  • Workshop Participation Grant Amount: $10,000 / invited participant*
  • Post-workshop Research Grant Amount: $500,000 direct costs over 2 years. No indirect costs allowed.
  • Start of Post-workshop Grant Term: January 2024


The Rainwater Charitable Foundation (RCF) supports efforts to enable the development of treatments for primary tauopathies through its grant programs and convenings of researchers from around the world. In September or October 2023 (exact date to be announced), the RCF will be hosting a small, invitation-only challenge workshop with the goal to solve key gaps in our understanding of mechanisms of pathology in primary tauopathies. Additionally, we hope to increase interdisciplinary alignment and collaboration around the challenges in understanding the mechanisms of primary tauopathies.

Workshop participants will be selected by means of a competitive Letter of Intent (LOI) process. Through the LOI process, 12 participants will be selected to attend the workshop to brainstorm with other investigators on identifying and solving for key knowledge gaps in the field. For their full participation, each attendee will receive a $10,000 grant to support their laboratory research. In addition, participants’ air, travel and lodging expenses will be covered. Following the meeting, workshop attendees also may apply for research grants providing up to $500,000 over two years; up to four awards will be funded, pending budget availability. 

Letters of Intent

The purpose of this LOI is to identify novel ideas from researchers with diverse specialties and backgrounds to solve for key gaps in our understanding of mechanisms of pathology in primary tauopathies, with a focus on Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and Frontotemporal Dementias (FTDs). Applications from researchers outside of the field of neurodegeneration are encouraged. Special consideration will be given to early-career scientists (i.e., Assistant Professor-level). Interested investigators must submit a LOI outlining a novel hypothesis and research plan including budget.

High priority LOI topic themes include:

  • Novel mechanisms of tauopathy pathology
  • Normal Tau vs toxic/pathogenic
  • Neuroinflammation in primary tauopathies
  • Lipid or metal neurobiology in tauopathy disease

Submission Requirements

  1. Eligibility Criteria
    • Hold a faculty appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor or above, or be an industry leader.
    • Have an independent laboratory space and be able to hold independent funding as confirmed by their institution.
    • Work at an academic, medical, research institution or company anywhere in the world.
  2. Research Project Criteria
    • Proposed projects may be in basic, translational, or clinical related research and must have direct applicability to the understanding of mechanisms of primary tauopathy pathology with a focus on PSP and FTDs. LOI topic themes of high interest (see page 1) will be prioritized.
  3. Letter of Intent Description
    • The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a tool designed to identify projects with the greatest scientific potential and alignment with the program guidelines. A limited number of applicants will be invited to attend the Workshop. The LOI must follow the guidelines below and include the outlined information:
    • Scientific Abstract (limited to 2 pages, size 10 font), which should provide a clear, concise, and comprehensive overview of the proposed milestone-based project. This should include background information with sufficient preliminary data to support the proposed research.
      • Budget
      • Biographical Sketch
      • Research references (max 2 pages, size 10 font)

Applications closed at 6 PM EST on February 15, 2023. Applicants were notified by March 31, 2023 regarding their submission.

Evaluation of Letters of Intent

The LOIs will be scientifically reviewed by the medical research staff of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. Other appropriate, non-conflicted experts will be engaged as necessary. The following criteria will be considered when reviewing the LOIs:

  • Innovation: Does the application challenge and shift current tauopathy research paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or interventions?
  • Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned, supported by preliminary data and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust, inclusive, and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
  • Significance: Does the project address an important problem or critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? Is the proposed project of high quality, and what potential does it have to advance the field?
  • Investigator: Is the applicant well-suited to project? Does the PI have a successful track record in research?


Inquiries about the program guidelines, eligibility requirements, and Letter of Intent materials can be directed to RCF’s medical research team at

* Participants must fully attend the workshop to receive the stipend.

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