NIA announces the release of the 2013 GEMSSTAR competition.
The receipt date for RFA-AG-13-006  is October 1, 2012.
- APPLICATION PROCESS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What do you mean by ‘specialist’?
- Are geriatricians eligible to apply?
- Do I need to be board-eligible or board-certified in my specialty to apply?
- Is there a time limit after completion of training during which I must apply?
- I have been a Principal Investigator on an NIH grant focusing on aging research. Can I apply to the GEMSSTAR program?
- I have been a Principal Investigator on an NIH grant for research unrelated to aging. Can I apply to the GEMSSTAR program?
- I have been a Principal Investigator on a grant from a non-NIH source. Can I apply to the GEMSSTAR program?
- I am in the last year of my residency/fellowship training. Can I apply to the GEMSSTAR program?
- The professional society that represents my clinical specialty does not appear to be involved in GEMSSTAR. Does that mean that I should not apply?
- Can non-physicians apply?
- I do not have a medical license. Am I ineligible?
- Are foreign medical graduates eligible?
- Are clinician-scientists in other countries eligible?
Professional Development Plan (PDP)
- How do the Williams and Jahningen Scholars Awards relate to GEMSSTAR?
- I plan to include a mentorship plan as part of my PDP. What qualifications should my mentor(s) have?
- How should I indicate who my mentors are in the PDP?
- When should I apply for funding support for my Professional Development Plan?
- What documentation of funding support for my PDP should I provide?
- Should I submit my PDP using the Just-In-Time (JIT) link in eRA Commons?
- There have been some new developments since I submitted my R03 application. What additional materials am I now allowed to submit prior to peer review?
- Should the senior collaborator(s) on my R03 application be the same as the mentor(s) on my PDP?
- Is each institution limited to submitting only one application?
- Can an investigator send in more than one application?
- What are some examples of appropriate research projects?
- Should I apply as a multi PD/PI?
- Are resubmissions allowed?
- SCIENTIFIC CONTACT
The overall goal of the GEMSSTAR Program is to provide support for early stage clinician-scientists to establish a track record in aging research. The GEMSSTAR award is targeted to early faculty members who have recently completed their clinical training in any medical or surgical specialty and are embarking on a career in clinical aging research in their specialty area. The award is intended to offer support in a particularly vulnerable time in a new clinical faculty member’s career.
The 2008 Institute of Medicine report “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce”  emphasized the emergent need for additional health care personnel to address the medical needs of a growing population of older Americans with complex medical problems. Effective approaches to this impending health care crisis involve not only increasing the number of practicing physicians trained in geriatrics and in specialty fields related to the health problems of elders, but also fostering the development of the next generation of physician-scientists whose clinical research will lead to improved care and more effective treatment options for older patients with complex medical conditions.
Applications to the GEMSSTAR program involve a two-step process. In the first step, Investigators apply through the GEMSSTAR RFA  for two years of support from the NIA using the small research project (R03) mechanism. After peer review of eligible applications, NIA will ask each investigator with a meritorious score to submit a Professional Development Plan (PDP) that will run concomitant with the R03 award. The PDP must be supported through non-R03 funds as described further below. Applicants are encouraged to seek out sources of PDP support as soon as they apply to the GEMSSTAR RFA.
An important component of the GEMSSTAR award is to provide support for the early career specialist to gain specific training in techniques and skills specific to aging research and/or clinical care of older adults in their specialty. Whereas the R03 award supports the research project component, non-R03 funding must be secured to support the candidate’s Professional Development Plan running concurrently for the duration of the 2-year R03 award.
Components of the PDP
The specific time commitment and components of the applicant’s PDP will be dictated by the specialists’ background, research goals and career goals. The funding secured for the PDP should be commensurate with the activities proposed. Possible suggested components include the following:
- Mentor or mentoring team
- Pursuit of an advanced degree; e.g., PhD, MPH, MS
- Defined training plan with milestones; e.g. publications, presentations, abstracts, grant proposals
- Participation in CTSA training, K12 or R25 programs, Older Americans Independence Center (Pepper Center) activities, or other NIH-supported programs
- Protected time consistent with the proposed professional development activities. Please note that a minimum level of protected time is not specified; rather, the amount of protected time should be commensurate with the candidate's professional development needs and proposed activities.
Resources for PDP Funding
- Applicant’s institution or affiliated Veterans Administration hospital
- Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)
- NIH K12 or R25 program
- Specialty societies, such as through the Association of Specialty Professors (ASP) or the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) 
- Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)  Research Career Development Core (RCDC)
- Other government, public, or private sources
RFA Release: July 18, 2012
Letter of Intent due to NIA (strongly encouraged): September 1, 2012
Letter of Intent to Potential Funder(s) of PDP: we encourage this as early in the process as possible.
R03 Application Due: October 1, 2012
Scientific Peer Review: January/ February 2013
PDP due to NIA: May 2013
Notification of Award: by July 2013
Any physician who has completed residency and/or fellowship training is considered a specialist. Specialties include, but are not limited to, the traditional medical and surgical specialties, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, general internal medicine, general surgery, geriatrics, hospital medicine, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, palliative medicine, physiatry/rehabiliation medicine, and psychiatry.
Yes. Physicians trained in geriatric medicine, alone or in combination with another specialty, are eligible.
NIA does not require board certification to apply; however, it is expected that candidates who have completed their clinical specialty training will be at least board-eligible in their specialty.
While there is no specific time limit, we expect that the vast majority of candidates will be within a few years of completion of their training. In unusual circumstances, candidates may be more advanced chronologically; however, they should still be early in their careers with respect to aging-related research.
The GEMSSTAR award is intended for early stage physician-scientists aiming to get a “foot in the door” in research related to aging in their clinical specialty area. This award is not intended for candidates who have already received funding for aging-related research; however, candidates who have received support through institutional awards, such as KL2, R25, or Older Americans Independence Center Research Career Development awards, may apply.
In unusual circumstances, early stage physician-scientists who have had previous funding in a non-aging-related field may wish to refocus their research efforts on aging-related science. Such candidates must provide a strong and clear explanation for how their proposed research will entail a meaningful shift towards aging-related science within their clinical specialty. The R03 application and the Professional Development Plan should demonstrate how the GEMSSTAR award will allow the candidate to bridge his/her clinical specialty and gerontologic science. Merely supplementing one’s current research efforts with aging-related science would not be considered a meaningful shift. The R03 application and Professional Development Plan proposal will be reviewed closely for substantial evidence of a commitment to aging research.
Yes, as long as other eligibility criteria are satisfied.
Yes, as long as you will have a faculty appointment by the start of the GEMSSTAR award. Official documentation of this appointment must be included in your R03 application and/or PDP. A faculty appointment that is conditional on receiving a GEMSSTAR award is not acceptable.
No. Specialty societies represent only one of many possible sources of funding for the PDP part of the GEMSSTAR program. If your specialty society does not appear to be involved, we encourage you to investigate other potential funders, such as your department chair or other individuals within your institution, foundations, or other public or private sources. In addition, we encourage you to contact your specialty society, the Association of Specialty Professors, or the American Geriatrics Society, to see whether your specialty society be interested in supporting your PDP.
No. This program is intended for physicians who have received an M.D., D.O, M.B.B.S., or other physician-equivalent degrees.
No, a medical license is not required to apply.
Yes, as long as other eligibility criteria are satisfied.
No. Only candidates at U.S. institutions are eligible.
These are grant programs sponsored by the Association of Specialty Professors and American Geriatrics Society, respectively. They represent two of the many possible sources of funding support for PDPs.
I plan to include a mentorship plan as part of my PDP. What qualifications should my mentor(s) have?
The goal of the GEMSSTAR program is to support the specialty candidate’s transition into aging research. Thus, the mentor(s) named in the PDP should have sufficient expertise in specific techniques and skills related to aging research. We encourage you to seek out geriatricians or gerontologists at your institution who may be able to provide you with appropriate mentorship.
You should include a letter of support from each mentor indicates his/her role in your PDP. If you have multiple mentors, you should also describe how you will coordinate interactions among you and your mentors in your PDP.
You should notify potential funders of your PDP early in the application process. We encourage you to submit letters of intent to your department head, specialty society, foundation, and/or other potential sources at the same time you submit your R03 application. Doing so may allow funders sufficient time planning and allocation of resources.
An official letter from the institution, society, foundation, or other source should be included in your PDP indicating the amount and duration of funding and any stipulations for use of funds.
No. The JIT link should be used only if you have received a specific request from grants management staff to do so.
Acceptable post-submission materials are described in NOT-OD-10-115 . There are no exceptions for this RFA.
Not necessarily. The senior collaborator(s) on your R03 would likely have expertise in geriatrics, gerontology, or other areas complementing your background. In many, though not all, cases, it would make sense to name such an individual as a mentor on your PDP.
No. An institution may submit multiple applications from individual investigators as long as each application is distinct.
No. Each investigator may submit only one application.
The following list includes some examples of aging-related research, but it is not exclusive or exhaustive
- Characterization of an aging-related disease, condition, syndrome, or phenomenon relevant to a clinical specialty
- Pilot investigation of a specialty-related intervention in older adults
- Elucidation of mechanisms underlying specialty-related diseases in older age
- Identification of predictors and/or outcomes of specialty-related interventions specific to older populations
Except in rare circumstances, we expect that there will be one principal investigator for each GEMSSTAR application. Other members of your investigator team, whether junior or senior, can be listed as co-investigators, collaborators, or consultants, depending on their role in your proposal.
One resubmission is permitted per NIH policy.
For questions, please contact:
Susan J. Zieman, MD, PhD or Basil Eldadah, MD, PhD
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org