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Research Grant Program

NORD’s Research Grant Program provides seed grants to academic scientists for translational or clinical studies related to development of potential new diagnostics or treatments for rare disease. In at least two cases, NORD grants have resulted ultimately in FDA-approved treatments for patients.


Research Grant Program

How it works

The studies funded with NORD research grants provide preliminary data, on drugs, devices or medical foods that researchers may then use to attract funding from government or industry sponsors to pursue further clinical studies.

Research Grant Policy

NORD’s Research Grant review guidelines follow those of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and administrative costs are kept to a minimum. The grant selection process is unbiased and independent; awards are based solely on scientific merit, as determined by NORD’s medical advisors. Read the full research grant policy.



NORD research grants are funded largely by patients and patient organizations. In many cases, they are the only source of funding for the study of specific rare diseases. Donors may target their donations to research on a specific disorder.  A minimum of $35,000 is required to fund a grant. When this target amount is reached, NORD begins the process of issuing a request for research proposals. If the target amount is not reached within a specified time-period, the funds may go towards a related condition.  Donate to a research fund >


Medical Advisors

NORD grants are competitive and international. NORD’s Medical Advisory Committee is composed of rare disease medical experts who generously donate their time to help NORD provide this program on behalf of its members and the rare disease patient community.