Industry Partnerships

Your group can form partnerships with a pharmaceutical company (industry) and/or facilitate formation of a larger partnership between key stakeholders, including your group. 

Federal Funding Opportunities

Your group can help researchers find funding opportunities for discovery research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Funding Research

Your group can help fund academic research or start-up medical research companies directly to ensure that relevant research for your disease is pursued. Funding discovery research directly can occur in several ways.


Patient groups often choose to raise money to support research or seek other funding sources from the government or larger nonprofits. Some groups form their own grant program, where researchers submit a proposal and a scientific review committee recommends which projects to fund. Another option is to team up with other organizations that have overlapping interests to support mutually beneficial projects.

Tips for Success


Therapy development, including translational research, is a team sport. Determining areas where your patient group can support and drive research efforts will help you become an effective part of the team. Organizing virtual and in-person meetings between academic researchers and  your disease community can foster collaboration, maintain productive communication, and fuel interest in research. Meetings can promote an understanding of which therapy/treatments are currently within reach and which may be longer term goals. Special programs and meetings with the specific Institutes and Centers (ICs) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may increase collaboration.

Other FDA Meeting Opportunities

The FDA offers additional opportunities to meet with patient groups early in therapy development. If you are uncertain which meeting type and the timing of your request to meet, contact the FDA Patient Affairs Staff at (301) 796-8460 or Other FDA meeting opportunities include:

FDA Critical Path Innovation Meeting

A Critical Path Innovation Meeting (CPIM) is a meeting to discuss the science, medicine, and/or regulatory aspects related to innovation in therapy development. The meeting is between FDA staff and individuals from industry, academia, and/or groups like your own. 

Organize In-Person Scientific Meetings

Though it may seem like meetings that last an entire day or multiple days will be much harder to organize than short meetings, you may want to think of in-person scientific meetings—also called scientific conferences—as just a series of short meetings. However, a scientific conference does require more planning, so leave yourself plenty of time to complete all the necessary preparatory tasks. 

Just like a virtual meeting, you want to start with establishing your goals. Unlike virtual meetings, a scientific meeting usually has multiple goals. Goals may include:

The skills you mastered holding virtual meetings with researchers and other stakeholders will be essential to organizing a scientific conference. However you will also have opportunities to learn about the funding resources, as well as expand your organizational skills. Before the meeting, you can:

Organize Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings or conference calls can be a good starting point to bring researchers and other key stakeholders together. Virtual meetings require a smaller time commitment from the participants since there is no travel required. Although your group may be familiar with holding virtual meetings among staff, volunteers, medical advisors, or your board of directors, you may want to make a few changes when involving outside medical and scientific researchers.

Consider your goal for the meeting. You may want to choose only 1 or 2 goals, especially for the first meeting. Some possible goals include:

Successful meetings rarely just happen. Knowing how to focus planning efforts can save time and energy, while still providing the elements needed to achieve the meetings goals.  There are a number of steps you can take before the meeting to ensure it is productive.