Research Grant Program

The Research Grant Program was created in 2022 by the United Cerebral Palsy Research Committee (URC).  This program awards grants that advance clinical and translational research and focus on knowledge translation to advance the state of the science, bridging the gap between research and care to transform the lives of children with cerebral palsy and related neurodevelopmental disabilities.

In honor of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, the Research Committee will open the 2024 grant cycle on March 25, 2024 with awards up to $20,000 for clinical and translational research that focuses on knowledge translation.  While we welcome applications on any topics relevant to cerebral palsy and related neurodevelopmental disabilities from researchers and clinicians in the U.S., the URC gives preference to (1) those that are focused on early diagnosis and early treatment of cerebral palsy and to (2) research applicants from or collaborating with UCP’s affiliates. Both biomedical and therapy-focused studies are welcomed.

This year we welcome a new grant category: Affiliate Planning Grants.  The Affiliate Planning Grant is designed to support the process of formulating an idea to later apply for the pilot or extension grants. This opportunity is only available for affiliates of the UCP Network in good standing. Awards up to $10,000 are available for this category.

The grant cycle is now open! A recording of the informational held on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 can be found here.

A letter of intent (LOI) is required to apply, and is due by April 26, 2024 at 11:59 PM EDT.

  • Affiliate Planning Grants:  Small planning grants to formalize a research idea into a future pilot or extension grant application.  Available only to affiliates in the UCP Network.
  • Pilot Grants:  Small pilot grants to provide preliminary data for larger scale future projects or to perform novel analyses on existing data sets.
  • Extension Grants: Grants to expand an existing research project (e.g., add additional interventions, outcome measures, follow up assessments, etc.), or to set up the infrastructure for a collaborative research effort.


  • Children and the transitional stage of young adulthood
  • Cerebral palsy and related neurodevelopmental disorders

Special Consideration:

  • Early diagnosis
  • Early treatment
  • Research applicants from or collaborating with affiliates of UCP

The UCP Research Committee will sponsor and support high-quality proposals, addressing shared goals and priorities. Grant applicants for the categories of pilot and extension grants should consider the following criteria:

  • A research idea should address treatment for cerebral palsy or a related neurodevelopmental disability. Submissions on transition to adulthood and lifespan will also be considered.
  • Appropriate project goals should be set considering SMART design principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Data collection, compliance, and progress reporting will be required. 
  • The Principal Investigator and all co-investigators on the grant must be in professional good standing and have relevant expertise related to the research proposal. 
  • Applicants must have the infrastructure appropriate to their project, including study design and implementation, facilities and services, patient recruitment, and staffing. 

For those applying for the category of affiliate planning grants, the proposal should address a project or question that could be formalized into a research question for a future pilot or extension grant.

Other Considerations:

  • For the affiliate planning award, applicants must be an affiliate of the UCP network.
  • For the pilot and extension awards, applicants do not have to be part of the UCP affiliate network, but preference will be given to those applications from centers who are UCP affiliates or have a strong association with UCP. 
  • Applicants can work with other centers on the same project (multicenter project), but these centers should submit a common application to better ensure collaboration. 
  • Projects that will facilitate sustainable, ongoing novel treatments or services that can be adopted by other organizations after completion of the project will be given preference. 


Note: Awardees may be able to apply for additional grants to complete the next step of the project if their initial project demonstrates success and ongoing goals are appropriate.

  • March 25, 2024 – Grant Application Form becomes available
  • April 26, 2024 – Letter of Intent submission deadline
  • Late May 2024 – Full applications requested from strong candidates
  • June 21, 2024 – Full submission deadline
  • August 2024 – Notification of awards sent
  • October 1, 2024 – Grant funding period begins

For pilot and extension grants:

The following criteria will be scored by UCP Research Committee member reviewers and outside reviewers (ad hoc).

  • Significance: How might this work support or enhance the community or advance the science in the field of cerebral palsy?
  • Innovation: How original and/or novel are the ideas of the application? Both the setting and the field of investigation will be considered (e.g., bringing a novel intervention to a center where it is not currently available may be innovative).
  • Investigators: Does the research team have appropriate expertise or have they shown commitment to obtaining the necessary expertise?
  • Approach: Are the investigators well trained or have they shown commitment to obtaining training? Are the methods sound? Is the research plan realistic?
  • Environment: Is the setting supportive of the research? Will it facilitate the project’s success?

For affiliate planning grants:

The following criteria will be scored by UCP Research Council member reviewers and outside reviewers (ad hoc) for affiliate planning grants:

  • Rationale for Project:  What are the ideas that generated the application? Is there a  problem or question your project is aiming to address? 
  • Significance: Do you have a novel idea or potential solution you want to explore to address the problem?
  • Evidence for Project: Are you aware of any research on this topic? If so, what is research evidence that could guide your project?
  • Project Team: Does the project  team have appropriate expertise, or have they shown commitment to obtaining the necessary expertise? 
  • Resources and Capacity: Does your organization or partnering organizations have support from their affiliate for needed resources and capacity?
  • Impact: How might this work support or enhance the community of individuals with cerebral palsy or related neurodevelopmental disabilities?
  • Award recipients will be expected to provide a progress report at 12 months in a short-answer format.  A final report will be due within 3 months of the end of the funding period (month 21) in the form of one of the following options: Abstract, Annual Meeting Session, Report for Publication/Whitepaper
  • Award recipients should expect to present accomplishments at the UCP Board of Trustees, UCP Town Hall meetings and/or at the UCP Annual Meeting. Findings from URC-supported research may warrant press releases and videos highlighting investigators and describing URC-sponsored discoveries may be used in support of national fundraising efforts.

For more information on the Research Grant Program, view the FAQs.

Questions can be sent to