Research & Grants

Research Grants

The RLS Foundation Research Grant Program supports basic and clinical restless legs syndrome (RLS) research. The Foundation challenges the research community to generate novel ideas to unlock the mysteries that will ultimately lead to a cure for this often devastating disease.

We are currently reviewing the program and will introduce a new grant application available in Fall 2021.

Launched in 1997, the Research Grant Program has funded close to $1.8 million in competitive research grants for the study of RLS. In 2016, in order to reinvigorate this program, the Foundation commited to:

  • Increase research funding to $200,000 annually for up to eight pilot grants
  • Accept grant proposals on a continual basis, rather than just once per year, using the same rigorous review process currently used to evaluate grant proposals
  • Provide counsel to RLS Foundation grant seekers to improve the strength and outcomes of their research studies
  • Identify potential sources (NIH) of later-stage funding for grantees
  • Expand the reach to biotech and medical technology companies as collaborators that can help achieve progress toward a cure

Read our one-page overview of the RLS Research Grant Program since its inception in 1997.


Support the Success of the RLS Research Grant Program

Thanks to generous donations from individuals in the RLS community, the Foundation has funded more than $1.8 million in competitive research grants for the study of RLS since 1997.

Every donation makes a real difference in our understanding of the disease, leading us one step closer to a cure. Consider making a donation to the RLS Foundation research program today!


Please read about our most recent grantees and the exciting research that supporters like you have made possible! We THANK YOU!

New Drug Development Request for Proposals

To the extent that basic studies directly contribute to the development of new curative agents, we are willing to support them, especially if the resulting data can be used to apply for government funding. That said, it should be clear that we are anxious to build a bench-to-bedside research portfolio:

  • We need an animal model of RLS with good face validity and predictive value. Such a model would allow us to test drug candidates or understand the cause (and potentially mitigate) augmentation
  • We need well-defined and validated drug targets, and assays that can be used to screen small molecule libraries or characterize therapeutic antibodies
  • We need grantees who are willing to use the screens described above to discover "hits" and refine them into clinical lead compounds
  • We need objective state and trait markers for RLS
  • Since RLS is a 24/7 disease that affects multiple body systems, we need treatments that will improve symptoms other than restlessness.

Grantees need not be members of academic institutions. Scientists in the biotechnology industry are encouraged to apply for money that will allow them to seed relevant projects and obtain SBIR grants if necessary. Multi-institutional collaborations are encouraged.