Through its research grant program, the RLS Foundation honors promising scientists whose work supports the goals of the Foundation.

One important way that we foster change is to promote innovative research that will impact the lives of individuals living with restless legs syndrome. The Foundation strives to spur the research community to generate novel ideas to unlock the mysteries that will ultimately lead to a cure for this often devastating disease.


The RLS Foundation, on behalf of the RLS community, wants a safe, well-tolerated, and durable treatment for RLS--in short, a cure--or ways to improve patients' quality of life. 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 biotechs 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.  We will award up to two $35,000 grants in 2015.

Application Process: Initial contact should be through a letter of intent containing the following: a one-page abstract of the proposed project, including its clearly stated relevance in addressing one or both of the RLS Foundation’s goals of finding a cure and developing effective treatments; a copy of the principal investigator’s NIH-style bio-bibliography; and a tentative budget and list of other sources of funding.

The letter of intent receipt deadline is January 19, submissions MUST be received on or before January 19, extensions are not available. The grant funding period is August 1 through July 31.

The Foundation funds up to two $35,000 grants for one year with a potential for renewal of support for an additional year. The Foundation will not fund indirect costs. Payments will be made directly to the principal investigator’s institution.

Please download the application (word document or pdf) and email your proposal or any questions to