About NIA

Living Long & Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging

Research Goal F: Support the infrastructure and resources needed to promote high-quality research and communicate its results.

The availability of the infrastructure and resources needed to support present and future research, program management, and information dissemination is critical to the NIA mission. NIA must provide resources to develop a skilled interdisciplinary research workforce, ensure that scientists have access to the technology and equipment they need to perform the research, and facilitate the dissemination of research results to scientists, health professionals, and the public. We have five objectives to support this goal.

F-1 Foster interdisciplinary exchange and encourage collaborative research across disciplines.

  • Sponsor workshops and conferences that bring together scientists from various disciplines for discussion and planning.
  • Provide funding opportunities that encourage interdisciplinary efforts with co-principal investigators and/or partnerships across two or more institutions or organizations.

F-2 Engage in partnerships to create synergy and leverage resources within and among institutions and organizations.

  • Work closely with other NIH Institutes and Centers, and other government agencies, to collaborate across the continuum of research from basic science through translational research to clinical studies and to disseminate information about proven interventions (research translation).
  • Continue to participate in trans-NIH efforts such as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.
  • Partner with other government agencies, professional organizations, and advocacy groups to ensure that research results are translated into public health programs and medical practice and used to inform public policy.

F-3 Train and attract the diverse workforce of new, mid-career, and senior investigators necessary for research on aging.

  • Develop and promote flexible mechanisms to meet the rapidly changing needs of science and prepare scientists, clinicians, and communicators to work effectively in interdisciplinary team environments across the continuum of research from basic to translational to applied.
  • Develop partnerships with academia, professional organizations, and other entities to establish and improve programs for identifying, recruiting, and training scholars for careers in research on aging.
  • Participate in efforts to recruit, train, and retain scientists across the full spectrum of research on aging, especially targeting under-represented groups.
  • Encourage the training of investigators to translate the findings of basic research into benefits for older people.

F-4 Develop and distribute research resources.

  • Support colonies of aged animal models, including genetically altered animals. These colonies are necessary for research on aging processes and specific age-related diseases.
  • Make cell cultures and tissue, cell, and blood banks available for basic and epidemiological research.
  • Create and make available DNA resources for genetic studies on aging and disease.
  • Support access to imaging and other advanced technologies in shared facilities for examining aging biological systems.
  • Support the development of population-based data sets, especially from longitudinal studies, suitable for analysis of biological, behavioral, and social factors affecting health, well-being, and functional status through the lifecourse.
  • Support data archiving and data sharing, with adequate protections for confidentiality and privacy of research participants and their families.
  • Support the development of internationally harmonized social and behavioral longitudinal data on aging to foster cross-national research.
  • Support computer technologies to record and analyze interdisciplinary research findings on basic biological studies and long-term, population-based data.
  • Support candidate drug evaluation programs, facilities, and related resources for animal and clinical studies.
  • Develop innovative changes in the design, planning, and implementation of clinical trials and social and behavioral studies on the health and well-being of older people.
  • Support a robust clinical trials infrastructure to facilitate the translation of basic research to human application in age-related diseases, and vice versa. This support will include technical assistance for patient recruitment and retention of older adults in clinical trials.
  • Make results of research on patient recruitment strategies widely available to the research community. Support studies on the ethical aspects of research in older populations.

F-5 Disseminate information to the public, medical and scientific communities, and policy makers.

  • Rapidly and effectively disseminate the latest advances in geriatric medicine, research on aging, and related health data through publications, professional education materials, public service announcements, and videos.
  • Make available health information and reports of new research findings on the NIA Web site and through the NIA Information Center.
  • Maintain and promote the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center and the NIHSeniorHealth Web sites.
  • Develop materials for special audiences and diverse populations including non-English language materials (http://www.nia.nih.gov/espanol/) and materials for people with limited literacy.
  • Support national education campaigns to encourage healthy practices among older adults.
  • Support innovative programs to promote positive attitudes toward older people’s health needs on the part of health care and other service providers and the public at large.