Minnesota Office of Higher Education

David J. Tomassoni ALS Research Grant Program


The Office of Higher Education administers the David J. Tomassoni ALS Research Grant Program, named after the late Minnesota Senator, provides funding for translational research that leads to the prevention, functional improvement, and curative efforts for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Tomassoni, who was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, was a professional hockey player turned lawmaker. He served in the Minnesota legislature, representing District 5B in the Iron Range, from 1993 until his passing in 2022. He was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2021 and passionately advocated for research into the rare disease. In his final term as a Senator, he successfully authored and passed the legislation that provided $25 million in one-time funding to support ALS research and caregiver resources.

Funding Sources

2022 Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 42, Section 2 appropriates $20,000,000 in from the State’s General Fund to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) for the purpose of accelerating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. The David J. Tomassoni ALS Research Grant will award $19,600,000 to research institutions in Minnesota on a competitive basis to support clinical and translational research related to ALS.

Request for Proposals

The Commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health and the ALS Association, are soliciting proposals to accelerate research into these topics that span the spectrum of ALS knowledge, prevention, and treatment.

Eligible grant applicants must be lead institutions/organizations located within Minnesota and fall into one or more of the following categories: research facilities, universities, and health care systems located in Minnesota. Applicants may coordinate research endeavors and submit a joint application, however there can only be one institution acting as a fiscal agent.

Small businesses, for-profits, and other entities within the science/medical technology industry must partner with an eligible institution who will act as the fiscal agent on the project.

In order to address each area of importance, three funding options are available through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Applicants may submit multiple applications within one specific funding option, or across different funding options. Each option is listed below:

Option 1: Disease Pathology and Prevention

  • Max Request: None. Budget should justify proposed work plan and scope of project.
  • Project Time: 3 years
  • Project Details: projects undthis category are focused oner environmental factors, models, biomarkers, and genetic testing, and other research focused on pathology and prevention of ALS.

Option 2: ALS Treatment

  • Max Rediseasequest: None. Budget should justify proposed work plan and scope of project.
  • Project Time: 3 years
  • Project Details: Primarily for research that focuses on addressing the treatment of ALS. Topic areas may include drug development and testing, precision medicine, surgical interventions, and other potential medical interventions to slow, stop, or eliminate ALS development in humans.

Option 3: Functional and Care System Improvements for ALS Patients and Caregivers

  • Max request: None. Budget should justify proposed work plan and scope of project.
  • Project Time: 3 years
  • Project Details: projects under this category focus on assistive technologies for the functional improvement of quality of life for people living with ALS, research related to high quality ALS care delivery, supportive services and innovations for patients and care givers, palliative care.

Letters of Intent to Submit are mandatory and are due October 7, 2022.

Eligible applicants will receive an invitation to submit a full application no later than October 21, 2022.

Proposals are due by 4:30pm CST on December 16, 2022.

More information, including full Request for Proposals and Letter of Intent to Submit form, can be found on the Grants Portal.

Frequently Asked Questions All questions are to be submitted in writing to lain.desalvo@state.mn.us

Questions will be responded to and posted anonymously below.