On July 1, 2015, the Rheumatology Research Foundation awarded more than 80 grants to a wide range of rheumatology trainees and professionals. The recipients, who submitted applications in 2014, will receive funding for essential education and training, as well as innovative research projects. Their applications were closely examined by experts in different areas of the field to ensure awards went to the most promising studies and programs.
In the coming fiscal year (July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016), the Foundation will fund an estimated 265 awards totaling nearly $13.2 million. Recipients of the remaining awards will be announced later this year. While some awards will support the education and training of future rheumatology professionals, others will fund innovative research projects that will lead to breakthroughs in treating people with rheumatic diseases.
One example is the Disease Targeted Research Pilot Grant, which encourages established investigators to begin tests of novel research ideas into rheumatoid arthritis and related autoinflammatory diseases by providing seed funds to gather preliminary data. Another award, the Career Development Bridge Funding Award: K Supplement, encourages junior investigators to expand promising research by providing additional support to cover research costs and help investigators become independent. Additionally, the Fellowship Training Awards support the training of a rheumatology fellow to provide a more robust and highly trained workforce to care for people with rheumatic diseases.
The Foundation is able to provide this critical funding because of generous donations, which it uses wisely, from various groups dedicated to advancing the field. The Foundation has a four-star rating, the highest awarded, for the sixth consecutive year from Charity Navigator. Only three percent of all charities have maintained a four-star rating for six straight years. On average, 90 cents of every dollar given to the Foundation is directly invested in its awards program.
For the Foundation’s biggest corporate supporters, the awards recently given by the Foundation are a reminder of the importance of their investments in the field. AbbVie, Amgen Inc. and Pfizer are all Leadership level donors of the Corporate Roundtable (CRT), a dynamic partnership between the Foundation and industry leaders. Jim Salanty, vice president, U.S. Rheumatology, AbbVie, says, “AbbVie is proud to continue its support of the Rheumatology Research Foundation’s commitment to innovative research to ultimately improve the lives of people living with rheumatologic diseases. At AbbVie, we are focused on applying our scientific expertise to address unmet needs and make a remarkable impact for people living with a range of immune-mediated diseases.” Officials with Amgen Inc. and Pfizer echo the sentiments, saying they are proud to support the Foundation’s work providing funding to advance essential rheumatology research and training.