RLS Foundation Research Grant Program  

The RLS 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.  After funding close to $1.6 million in competitive research grants for the study of RLS since 1997, the Foundation is reinvigorating this program; we will:

  • Increase research funding to $200,000 annually for up to eight pilot grants
  • Accept grant proposals on a continual basis, rather than just once a 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 our grantees
  • Expand our reach to biotech and medical technology companies  as collaborators that can help us achieve progress toward a cure

Research Grant Application Process

The 2016 Research Grant Program policies and application (.doc) provide detailed information on the submission process.  All applications should be submitted to karla@rls.org for review by our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Approvals will be announced within one month of application receipt.

One important way that the RLS Foundation will 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 the RLS Foundation leadership is 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.

Per RLS Foundation policy, no overhead allocation is allowed.