Since its inception, the Ataxia Canada Foundation has had the mission of supporting research to contribute to the development of therapies targeting both the causes and the effects of different forms of ataxia. The pursuit of this objective is still very much alive within the administration and the members of the Foundation.

Research funded by Ataxia Canada

Ataxia Canada funds relevant research where ataxia is the primary symptom and is genetic (recessive, dominant) and progressive in nature. This includes conditions such as Friedreich ‘s ataxia (FA) , Beauce’s ataxia (SCAR8, ARCA1) , spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA), ataxias with oculomotor apraxia (AOA1-4) , episodic ataxias and other cerebellar ataxias.



Academic researchers, academic institutions, private research companies, research centers of the health network, qualified persons or collaborative groups formed from these combinations are eligible for funding.

Ataxia Canada only accepts grant applications for which the principal applicant has his research activities in Canada. The Foundation is however willing to evaluate requests grant to researchers working outside of Canada if their research present an immediate potential benefit for people with ataxia.

Ataxia Canada is a small charitable organization, the following particularities should be taken into consideration:

  • The research grants awarded are normally for a period of one to two years and between 15 000 $ and 50 $ 000 CDN as total annual budget allocated, although in exceptional circumstances it may be higher.
  • The candidates are encouraged to seek co-funding from other organizations. We also encourage pan-Canadian collaborative research.
  • Long-term research projects (more than two years) are normally not supported; Ataxia Canada prefers to fund a variety of seed projects and allow researchers to then seek more substantial funding elsewhere. It may be possible to make exception for a continuation of funding for special projects.

The number of research projects funded annually depends on the number and quality of the applications received as well as the annual budget total granted by the Foundation.


Research priorities for Ataxia Canada – Claude St-Jean Foundation
Advancing the understanding of neuroscience Understanding neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative changes in ataxia and their implications regarding the pathogenesis for therapies.
Advancing the understanding of cardiac involvement in FA Understanding the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy associated with Friedreich’s Ataxia and efficacy of therapies to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by heart diseases.
Advance drug discovery and develop effective therapies. Priority will be given to genetic, epigenetic and protein replacement approach. Highly feasible therapeutic development projects focusing on pathways likely to affect disease progression of key symptoms will be prioritized.
Facilitate the process of drug development and translational research Ataxia Canada wants to support promising therapeutic discoveries by facilitating their rapid translation to clinical trials.

High priority is given to studies for the IND designation projects or new medication research and the discovery and validation of clinical outcome measures and biomarkers.

Proposals aimed at developing new analytical methods to support the manufacturing processes of gene, protein and cell therapy are also highly admissible.

Advance research in collaboration with patients Ataxia Canada supports efforts that enable clinical research in patients. These include natural history studies, establishment of biomarkers and measures of clinical outcomes (including patient-reported outcomes).

Research projects aimed at improving the quality of life of patients are also desirable (physiotherapy, speech therapy, hearing, vision, etc.)

High priority is given to clinical research that uses and expands the resources of collaborative clinical research network, particularly the identification of new functional endpoints the clinically significant changes with measurable detectable in a period of one year.




In all cases, the projects submitted must clearly explain the expected benefits in terms of therapy development. Projects concerning therapeutic trials or the search for new specific therapeutic routes for one or more forms of ataxia are particularly encouraged.


An annual report must be submitted to the Board of Directors, including a description of the expenditures. Ataxia Canada also requires a summary presentation for communication to the members through our website and by presentation at the annual general meeting.



It should be noted that Ataxia Canada has decided not to fund research into conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ataxic cerebral palsy, or other conditions in which ataxic symptoms are also present following another underlying condition. Research on ataxia from stroke, head trauma and toxicity are not considered for funding. Also, the Foundation does not fund research on ataxia telangiectasia and ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, because there are Canadian charitable organizations that support these forms of ataxia (Ataxia Telangiectasia Children’s Project Canada and Fondation de l’Ataxie Charlevoix-Saguenay).

Application Process

Applicants are invited to submit a full application (application form ). All duly completed research proposals will be analyzed.

Grant Type, Deadline and Grant Amount
Grant type Ataxia type Deadline for submission Amount financed
General research grant [1] All types October 30th 2020 Between15 000$ and 50 000$ per year for 1 or 2 years
General research grant in collaboration with National Ataxia Foundation) [2] SCA’S October 30th 2020 Between15 000$ and 50 000$ per year for 1 or 2 years
Research grant for research into cardiac symptoms of FA[3] FA October 30th 2020 Between15 000$ and 50 000$ per year for 1 or 2 years
Claude St-Jean research grant[4] FA October 30th 2020 Between15 000$ and 50 000$ per year for 1 or 2 years

[1] The general research grant is open to qualified researchers who propose projects corresponding to the research priorities of Ataxia Canada.

[2] The general research grant in collaboration with NAF is open to qualified researchers who propose projects corresponding to the research priorities of Ataxia Canada and the National Ataxia Foundation.

[3] The grant for research into cardiac symptoms of FA is awarded to researchers with their proposed research will focus on improving the understanding and / or treatment of cardiac symptoms in FA.

[4] This grant, in memory of the founder of Ataxia Canada is awarded to the researchers with the best proposal who is focused on preclinical and clinical investigations that will advance the treatment of FA.


Grant application rules and guidelines

Research grant application form