Back to "Research and Funding" -  Funding

NCL Research Award

Funding applications

The NCL Foundation aims to help find a cure for the major cause of childhood dementia caused by mutations in the CLN3 gene. Together with the existing NCL research community our goal is to move promising therapeutic avenues forward to help JNCL patients. CLN3 belongs to a group of rare lysosomal storage diseases referred to as Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL), or Batten disease. NCLs are the most common neurodegenerative diseases in children. All forms including CLN3 disease lead inevitably to death. CLN3 disease begins with blindness starting around school age (5-6 years). The disease gradually progresses to stages where children and teens develop severe cognitive deficits and lose speech and communication capabilities. Patients suffer from dementia, epilepsy and paralysis. As the disease progresses, CLN3 patients in their teens become completely helpless, wheelchair bound, and eventually bedridden.


The award is intended to support postdoctoral level fellowships. We highly encourage junior scientists and clinical researchers worldwide to submit projects that hold promise to help halt or finding a cure for CLN3 disease. We also encourage scientists to apply that work in disease areas outside NCL but relevant to cell and molecular pathways  of CLN3 dysfunction.


Application procedure & steps

1. Applicants are kindly asked to first contact the scientific officer of the NCL Foundation ( or call 0049 (163) 738 3083).
We like to make sure that project proposals are in line with the main goals of the NCL Foundation to support research that helps finding or moving forward therapies for patients with CLN3 disease.
2. Provided key criteria are met, you will next be asked to submit a letter of intent in which you briefly outline the proposed project including scientific rationale, relevance and potential impact with respect to clinical translation, experimental approach, feasibility in work environment and budget.

3. Based on your letter of intent the foundation will decide to yes or no ask for submitting a full proposal. Full proposals will be sent out for peer review to at least two reviewers. We welcome recommendations for independent expert reviewer candidates as well as proposals for exclusion because of potential conflict of interest.   


Click here to open the full proposal form for the NCL Research Award 2017.

Deadline for handing in all required documents: November 30, 2017.


We are looking forward to receiving your application via email to:


Award winners in previous years

NCL Research Award 2014


Frank Husemann, Dr. Marco Sardiello,

Prof. Robert Steinfeld

For his project Molecular Pathogenesis of Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, Dr. Marco Sardiello from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston was rewarded with the 5th NCL Research Award. It was funded by the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, Astra Zeneca, and the avail of the Charity-Dinner and fundraising auction and enabled a scholarship for the post-doctorand Alberto Di Ronza, who will be working on the topic. The certificate was given to Dr. Sardiello at the 12th NCL Congress.

NCL Research Award 2012


The 4th NCL Research Award went to the British research team of Dr. Brenda Williams/Prof. Jonathan Cooper. Their award-winning project was entitled "Cell based systems as tools for understanding pathogenesis and drug discovery in JNCL." For the first time, a post-doctoral fellow, Greg Anderson, worked from King's College London in the implementation of the research idea. Novel test systems based on glial cell were developed. Upon successful establishment of cell cultures, small molecules are to be tested in a high-throughput method. The official ceremony took place at the 10th NCL Congress. Total funding to mark the tenth anniversary was 100,000 for the first time. The funds came from the proceeds of the Charity dinner and art auction, initiated by the NCL Foundation and through the support of IMS Health. 

Greg Anderson, Dr. William, Dr. Frank HusemannGreg Anderson, Brenda Williams, Frank Husemann

 NCL Research Award 2010


Dr. Sara Mole (London) was the third NCL Research Award recipient. Her submitted project "Defining the role of the Golgi apparatus in juvenile NCL" was awarded by the Scientific Advisory Board of the NCL Foundation. The project was implemented by the graduate student Davide Marotta


NCL Research Award 2009


Matthew Micsenyi and Frank Husemann

Matthew Micsenyi, Frank Husemann

Matthew Micsenyi  was the winner of the second NCL Research Award. Mr. Micsenyi carried out his doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Steven Walkley (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA). The prize money was used for his doctoral fellowship to implement the proposed project, "The Role of Altered Autophagy and Ubiquitin-Proteasome Function in NCL Disease Pathogenesis." The focus of the thesis was the analysis of two cellular degradation processes - autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome system  in NCL cells. 


NCL Research Award 2008


At the 8th NCL Congress the laureate Dr. Vydehi Kanneganti (Lab Prof. Jeffrey Gerst, Rehovot, Israel) adopted  her certificate, awarded by the Foundation founder Dr.Husemann. 

The prize money was used to set up a doctoral position to the award-winning research project: "The Yeast model for Batten disease BTN1, BTN2 and BTN3 and their Critical role in endosome-Golgi protein retrieval". Niv Dobzinski works on this project. The aim is to shed light on the NCL protein network in a yeast model in more detail. It is possible that from this, new approaches for therapy development will result. 



Frank Husemann and Vydehi Kannegati

Frank Husemann,

Vydehi  Kanneganti

This German - English translation was done by the translators Tizzy Mann, Andrea Murphy, Kate Humby and Marcia Neff for the PerMondo initiative that involves providing free translations for NGOs. PerMondo is sponsored and run by the translation agency Mondo Agit.