Issue Date: September 13,  2021
Letter of Intent Due Date: October 11, 2021 by 11:59 pm ET
Invitations to Submit Full Application Notification: By January 28, 2022
Application Due Date: March 14, 2022 by 11:59 pm ET
Grant Selection Notification: By July 29, 2022
Period of Performance: Category I: 1-3 years
Category II: 1-2 years
Category III: Up to 1 year
Amount of Grant: Category I: Up to $250,000
Category II: Up to $100,000
Category III: Up to $50,000

The AASM Foundation is committed to improving patient-centered diagnosis and care for all patients with sleep disorders. To ensure that there is a continued advancement in effective diagnosis and care of patients with sleep disorders, the AASM Foundation provides research funding through the Strategic Research Grant. This grant is investigator-initiated and supports high-impact research projects aimed at addressing gaps in knowledge that impact the ability to provide optimal, patient-centered, cost-effective diagnosis and care for patients with sleep disorders.

This year, the AASM Foundation is issuing four different Strategic Research Grant request for applications focused on the following research domains that will advance the field of sleep medicine and population sleep health.

These research domains were determined by the AASM Foundation Board of Directors, based on identified needs from AASM members and the sleep community. Details for each request for application, relevant research domains and related topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one of the research domains and topic areas will be considered.

2022 Strategic Research Grant: AASM Strategic Plan Goals

LOI and Application Overview

This is a focused request for applications (RFA) open to topic areas related to the following American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) Strategic Plan Goals: Advocacy to Improve Patient Care and Technology Innovation. Topic areas that address the AASM Strategic Plan Goals must advance the field of sleep medicine and population sleep health. Details and examples for each of these specific research domains and topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one of these research domains will be considered.

 1. Advocacy to Improve Patient Care – Positively influence clinical practice for providers and their patients.

Research that can be shared with payers and government decision-makers to increase recognition of the value of services provided by sleep physicians and the sleep team and that can provide evidence-based support for various sleep medicine advocacy initiatives would be valuable in moving the sleep field forward. The AASM Foundation has identified the following research domains that would be relevant to this strategic goal:

  • Central Sleep Apnea
  • Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders
  • COVID-19
  • Diagnosis of Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence1
  • Insomnia
  • Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Primary Care
  • Population Sleep Health
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
  • Sleep Related Movement Disorders
  • Special Populations
  • Translational Science

 1The AASM Foundation is working with the Hypersomnia Foundation to support projects related to Diagnosis of Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence. By applying to this RFA, your project may be considered for co-funding from the AASM Foundation and Hypersomnia Foundation.

2. Technology Innovation – Positively influence the impact of technology on patients and the sleep team.

Research on emerging technologies and their impact on the sleep field and understanding how additional information from current sleep medicine procedures can be utilized to personalize patient care, would help strengthen knowledge on how best to harness new technology, and the data from it, to provide high quality patient-centered care. The AASM Foundation has identified the following research domains that would be relevant to this strategic goal:

  • Follow-Up Polysomnography and Home Sleep Apnea Tests
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Special Populations

The AASM Foundation collected a list of high-impact sleep research topics that fall under each of the research domains above as examples of what would be considered responsive to this RFA. Applicants are encouraged to review the following list of high-impact sleep research topics before drafting a letter of intent: 2022 Strategic Research Grant: AASM Strategic Plan Goals – High-Impact Sleep Research Topics

2022 Strategic Research Grant: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

LOI and Application Overview

This is a focused request for applications (RFA) open to projects which address research gaps in the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This a timely RFA in response to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Draft Technology Assessment – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and future research recommendations included in the multi-society comment letter. Details for each research domain and related topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one of these research domains and topic areas will be considered.

1. Alternate Study Designs and Analytical Strategies for Assessing CPAP Treatment for OSA

There is a need for studies that use alternate designs and analytical strategies for determining if treatment of OSA with CPAP improves clinically important outcomes. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Alternate randomized control trials, such as adaptive enrichment designs, sequential, multiple, assignments, randomized trials, blinded randomization trials with sham, etc.
b. Adaptive trials and studies of CPAP withdrawal.
c. Alternative non-randomized study designs, including carefully designed propensity score matching studies.

2. Studies that Enhance Prediction of Outcomes

It is acknowledged that current physiological measures of OSA, such as AHI, are limited and there is a need for novel measures that enhance prediction of outcomes. Research topics that fall under this research domain include studies that use:

a. Molecular biomarkers and omics strategies to predict outcomes.
b. Genetic markers to predict outcomes.
c. Novel physiologic measures to predict outcomes.

3. Special OSA Patient Populations

There is considerable heterogeneity in patients with OSA both from a clinical symptomatic perspective that affect outcomes and individual variation in outcomes. Research topics that fall under this research domain include studies in patients with:

a. Depression or anxiety
b. Cognitive impairment
c. Specific cardiovascular disorders

4. Enhancing Long-Term CPAP Adherence

There is need for establishing successful interventions and methods that optimize long-term CPAP adherence in patients with OSA in studies. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Education at initiation of CPAP therapy
b. Behavioral interventions
c. Troubleshooting methods
d. Remote monitoring
e. Use of telehealth

Note: Proposals are encouraged to recruit and study patients who will likely benefit from CPAP for a specific outcome.

2022 Strategic Research Grant: Hypopnea Scoring Criteria

LOI and Application Overview

This is a focused request for applications (RFA) open to projects that will retrospectively analyze data to evaluate the impact of diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) based on the hypopnea scoring criteria utilized in adult patients. Currently, the AASM Scoring Manual includes two rules for scoring hypopneas in adults:

Recommended Rule

Score a respiratory event as a hypopnea if ALL of the following criteria are met:

a. The peak signal excursions drop by ≥30% of pre-event baseline using nasal pressure (diagnostic study), PAP device flow (titration study), or an alternative hypopnea sensor (diagnostic study).
b. The duration of the ≥30% drop in signal excursion is ≥10 seconds.
c. There is a ≥3% oxygen desaturation from pre-event baseline or the event is associated with an arousal.

Acceptable Rule*

Score a respiratory event as a hypopnea if ALL of the following criteria are met:

a. The peak signal excursions drop by ≥30% of pre-event baseline using nasal pressure (diagnostic study), PAP device flow (titration study), or an alternative hypopnea sensor (diagnostic study).
b. The duration of the ≥30% drop in signal excursion is ≥10 seconds.
c. There is a ≥4% oxygen desaturation from pre-event baseline.

*Currently, the rule required in Medicare coverage determinations.

Using different criteria for scoring hypopnea can change the determinations made about diagnosis when assessing patients suspected to have OSA. In 2018, the AASM published a position statement, titled Polysomnography for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Should Include Arousal-Based Scoring, which asserts the importance of recognizing respiratory events leading to arousal. The position statement states that by accounting for both oxygen desaturations and arousals, the Recommended hypopnea scoring criteria helps more definitively rule out the presence of OSA in patients with symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, insomnia, or other neurocognitive symptoms. Not accounting for arousal-based scoring may lead to a lack of proper diagnosis of OSA, misclassification of OSA severity, or misidentification of another sleep disorder or medical disorder.

The AASM Hypopnea Scoring Rule Task Force recently held a series of meetings to help identify gaps in research that would strengthen the evidence base for utilizing the AASM Recommended hypopnea scoring criteria in adults. It was determined that assessing the benefit of treatment in patients diagnosed with OSA based on the Recommended hypopnea scoring rule, but not diagnosed using the Acceptable hypopnea scoring rule, is important.

There are several data sets available from previous large OSA studies performed, patient registries, and large health systems that have potential in being reanalyzed to provide additional information. This request for applications is specifically for projects that will perform retrospective analysis of existing data sets to assess the impact of treatment in patients with OSA who qualify for treatment using the Recommended hypopnea scoring criteria but not the Acceptable scoring criteria. Analyses of interest in this OSA population include:

  • Studies that assess differences in outcomes of interest, including sleepiness, quality of life, daytime function, excess mortality as well as neurocognitive, metabolic, and/or cardiovascular outcomes.
  • Studies that assess and compare outcomes in subpopulations of patients (e.g., sex, age, race/ethnicity).
  • Studies that evaluate the association between untreated OSA and comorbidities (e.g., depression, hypertension).

2022 Strategic Research Grant: Treatment of Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

LOI and Application Overview

This is a focused request for applications (RFA) open to projects which address research gaps in the treatment of central disorders of hypersomnolence that were identified in the recently published systematic review titled, Treatment of central disorders of hypersomnolence: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine systematic review, meta-analysis, and GRADE assessment. Details for each research domain and related topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one or more of these research domains and topic areas will be considered.

The AASM Foundation is working with the Hypersomnia Foundation to support projects related to this RFA. By applying to this RFA, your project may be considered for co-funding from the AASM Foundation and Hypersomnia Foundation.

 1. Comparisons between Treatments for Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

There is a need for studies that directly compare different medications used to treat central disorders of hypersomnolence. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Comparative-effectiveness studies of new medications that enter the market against standard treatments so physicians and patients can factor this information into treatment decisions. This includes studying treatment options other than stimulants for idiopathic hypersomnia, since some patients cannot tolerate stimulants.
b. Well-designed studies evaluating commonly used traditional stimulants for central disorders of hypersomnolence and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors cataplexy treatments for patients with narcolepsy type 1.
c. Prospective clinical trials for venlafaxine, a drug widely used for treating cataplexy. The low cost of this therapy is attractive, and it is already commonly used across the world.

2. Patient-centered Outcome Measures for Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

There is a need to identify, develop and validate patient-centered outcome measures that can be used to evaluate and monitor important outcomes in patients with central disorders of hypersomnolence. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Identify validated outcome measures that most closely reflect patient priorities in order to develop and validate disease-specific patient-reported outcome measurement tools, and to delineate clinical significance thresholds to harmonize future research and facilitate future clinical guideline development.
b. Research focused on quality of life measures, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, to help the field better understand aspects of the disease most disruptive to patient lifestyles.

3. Mechanistic Studies for Understanding Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

Studies designed to understand the biological process and pathophysiology of central disorders of hypersomnolence and the mechanism of action of certain treatments are needed. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Research to understand the mechanisms of hypersomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness in specific conditions, so that more targeted therapies can be developed.
b. Understanding the role of the innate and adaptive immune system in the development of narcolepsy should herald clinical trials in immune modulating treatments that could attenuate disease severity.
c. Understanding the molecular architecture of the human orexin receptor129 to inform development and testing of orexin specific therapies.
d. Mechanistic data for understudied conditions like Kleine-Levin syndrome, idiopathic hypersomnia, narcolepsy type 2 and hypersomnia due to specific medical and psychiatric disorders for targeted drug development and testing.

4. Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence in Pediatric Populations

Many central disorders of hypersomnolence start in childhood and adolescence, yet clinical trials of medications are lacking for those under 18 years of age. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. High quality randomized control trials for pediatric patients with central nervous system hypersomnia since children and adolescents may react differently to medications for hypersomnolence than adults, and side effect profiles can vary based on patient age.

5. Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

Reliance on medications alone to treat central disorders of hypersomnolence is likely insufficient without broader guidance on behavioral and environmental influences on symptom management. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

a. Evaluating cognitive behavior therapy (in-person, online), sleep scheduling, naps, exercise, and specific diets for furthering medication effects and/or demonstrating independent treatment benefit.

Note: Proposals are encouraged to use standardized, validated assessments, which will permit clinicians and patients to compare clinical trial data to get an estimate of comparative effectiveness.

2022 Strategic Research Grant: General Information

The Strategic Research Grant program is organized into three categories to allow flexibility and a range of funding opportunities to potential applicants:

  • Category I is for those applicants seeking funding for projects up to $250,000 and covers a project period of up to three years.
  • Category II is for those applicants seeking funding for projects up to $100,000 and covers a project period of up to two years.
  • Category III is for those applicants seeking funding for projects up to $50,000 and covers a project period of up to one year.

The funds can be used for research expenses such as salary support (commensurate with current stipends or salaries), supplies, participant costs and institutional overhead. There are no restrictions on the distribution of expenses, however, indirect costs are capped at 8%. The grant is executed as a contract between the AASM Foundation and the grantee’s institution.

  • Individuals with the following education and training are eligible to apply:
    • Master’s level degree or higher.
  • Individuals may apply for multiple AASM Foundation grants, however, the same proposal (i.e., projects with budgetary and scientific overlap) may not be submitted for multiple requests for applications in a given cycle.
  • Individuals who are the Principal Investigator on an open or previous AASM Foundation research grant at the time of the application deadline are eligible to apply if they can demonstrate that there is no budgetary or scientific overlap between their open grant and the new project they are applying for funding. If there is budgetary and/or scientific overlap between projects, the applicant must indicate their plan to close their open grant in the event their new application is selected for funding (e.g., relinquish the current grant or complete the current grant to start the new grant).
  • International individuals who meet all the eligibility criteria are eligible to apply; however, payment of grant funds must be accepted by the institution in US dollars.

The following individuals are not eligible to apply:

  • Individuals who have a financial conflict of interest or have the potential to incur significant financial benefit from the proposed work and beyond the work itself are not eligible to apply.
  • Individuals who are seeking funding from AASM Foundation research grants to support ongoing projects that are currently funded by another granting body or supplement ongoing work (e.g., enrolling additional subjects into an ongoing trial) are not eligible to apply.

Note: The principal investigator will be required to make a statement to this effect prior to execution of the contract.

This grant is a two-stage application process, in which a letter of intent (LOI) is required prior to submission of a full application. Applicants will then be notified whether they will be invited to submit a full application. If the LOI is not approved, the applicant may not apply for the grant.

Please note that the information submitted in the LOI (e.g., grant category, key personnel, research domain) is final and those invited to submit a full application will be bound by the content of their approved LOI unless a modification was specifically requested and approved by the AASM Foundation.

For an overview on how to write an effective LOI and Application for the AASM Foundation Strategic Research Grant, please view the following resources:

Strategic Research Grant Letter of Intent Guide

Strategic Research Grant: How to Submit a Competitive Letter of Intent and Application Webinar

For an overview of the information that is requested on the Letter of Intent application form, please download the 2022 Strategic Research Grant Letter of Intent Outline.

For applicants who voluntarily submit a LOI, the AASM Foundation Executive Committee will review all submitted LOIs. The following criteria will be considered in determining whether the applicant will be invited to submit a full application for consideration:

  1. Responsiveness: Responsiveness to one of the topic areas being requested as part of this RFA.
  2. Significance and Innovation: Potential impact/significance and innovation of the planned research in advancing the field of sleep medicine.
  3. Feasibility: Feasibility in carrying out the planned research.
  4. Methodology: Overall quality of the methods and analytic plan.
  5. Investigators: Expertise and experience of the investigators and other key personnel conducting the planned research.
  6. Inclusivity: Inclusion of individuals of all ages, including children and older adults, unless there are scientific or ethical reasons not to include them.

Once LOIs are reviewed, invitations will be sent out to applicants who have a favorably reviewed LOI so a full application may be submitted. For invited applicants who submit a full application, a grant review committee, appointed by the AASM Foundation Executive Committee, will evaluate and score all submitted applications. Factors that will be taken into consideration include:

  1. Significance: Strong scientific premise of planned research in addressing important problems or critical barriers needed to progress the sleep medicine field.
  2. Investigators: Experience, training, and ongoing record of accomplishments of the principle investigator(s) and key personnel.
  3. Innovation: Use of novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions that challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms.
  4. Approach: Strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, methodology, analyses, and benchmarks for success are well-reasoned and appropriate for the specific aims of the planned research.
  5. Environment: Institutional support, availability of equipment and other physical resources that contribute to the probability of success of the planned research.

Only materials submitted within the application will be used in the evaluation of applications. The AASM Foundation Executive Committee will submit funding recommendation to the AASM Foundation Board of Directors based on the Grant Review Committee scores. The AASM Foundation Board of Directors will make the final funding decisions

Category I Grants:

Payment #1 – Upon execution of contract 50%
Payment #2 – At project midpoint after approval of Progress Report 40%
Payment #3 – Upon receipt and approval of Final Report 10%

Category II and Category III Grants:

Payment #1 – Upon execution of contract 90%
Payment #2 – Upon receipt and approval of Final Report 10%

If unique circumstances are explained in the budget justification of the applicant’s proposal, the Board of Directors will consider requests for an alternate payment schedule, with a maximum variance of 10%.

Note: Once awarded, reallocation of funds of <10% do not require approval.

The AASM Foundation Strategic Research Grant supports high-impact research which will advance the diagnosis, treatment, and delivery of patient-centered care across the healthcare continuum for patients with sleep disorders. The AASM Foundation intends that the research funded by this award will lead to the publication of original research in peer-reviewed journals.

Applicants are expected to address the specific aims as described in the application. Major modification of the proposed aims requires AASM Foundation Board of Directors or Executive Committee approval.

The expected results and deliverables should be clearly stated in the application. The applicant must submit progress and final reports during the project period, describing project activities and results, as outlined below. Failure to meet the deliverables or submit progress or final reports may result in termination of project funding.

Progress Reports Every six months
Final Report Within 90 days of award completion

Outcomes evaluation is an essential component of this grant. All proposals must identify the goals and appropriate outcomes measures of the research. The outcomes should align with the goals and objectives stated in the applicant’s proposal for this grant.

If using human or animal subjects, the applicant will be responsible for obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and use Committee (IACUC) approval. The IRB or IACUC letter of approval for the specified project must be on file with the AASM Foundation office prior to the execution of the contract. No funds will be released for the project without receipt of written approval by an IRB or IACUC. Failure to obtain IRB or IACUC approval will result in retraction of the grant.

Step 1: AASM Foundation Grant Request registration
To apply for this grant, you must register on AASM Foundation Grant Request. Please refer to the AASM Foundation Grant Request User Access Guide for guidance on setting-up an account.

Step 2: Complete LOI Submission
ACCESS THE 2022 STRATEGIC RESEARCH GRANT: AASM STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS LETTER OF INTENT
ACCESS THE 2022 STRATEGIC RESEARCH GRANT: CONTINUOUS POSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE TREATMENT FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA LETTER OF INTENT
ACCESS THE 2022 STRATEGIC RESEARCH GRANT: HYPOPNEA SCORING CRITERIA LETTER OF INTENT
ACCESS THE 2022 STRATEGIC RESEARCH GRANT: TREATMENT OF CENTRAL DISORDERS OF HYPERSOMNOLENCE LETTER OF INTENT

The LOI Checklist on each RFA shows required attachments to be uploaded.

Step 3: Complete Application (invited applicants only)
For invited applicants, full applications must be completed and submitted through AASM Foundation Grant Request. A special link for submitting the full application will be sent to invited applicants. Instructions for required forms are available via the online submission system. The Application Checklist on each RFA shows required attachments to be uploaded.

We encourage potential applicants to contact us early in the application process with questions. Eligibility questions may need to be reviewed by a member of the AASM Foundation Executive Committee, so please allow for at least a 1-week response time for eligibility questions. For all other inquiries, please allow a minimum of two business days for a response. Please note that questions received within 48 hours of an application deadline may not be answered before the deadline.