As many people know, the federal budget situation in recent years has led to late starts in our annual award process. When we do not know how much money we will have for the year, we don’t make many awards. And as you’d imagine, when we are without a budget, it is hard to develop a payline for the year. One unintended consequence of these delayed starts is that we have made a very large share of our awards towards the end of the federal fiscal year. So our awards are stacked up in September—how do we untangle that traffic jam? Read More
Are you an early career gastroenterologist, neurologist, or orthopedist, or some other type of medical or surgical specialist? Do you spend time caring for older patients? If so, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the gaps in our understanding and treatment of this complex group of patients. The NIA has funding available for junior faculty clinician-researchers in medical and surgical specialties. These grants can help you establish a track record in aging research. Please apply, and share this opportunity with others. Read More
Posted on August 7, 2013 by Nancy Nadon, Program Officer of the Biological Resources Program and Chief, Biological Resources Branch, Division of Aging Biology.
Have you come across a compound or treatment in your own research that you think might promote healthy aging? Now is the time to propose it be tested! An NIA program is accepting proposals for candidate interventions for testing in a genetically heterogeneous mouse model. The next deadline is September 20. Read More
While preparing for a recent talk, I took a close look at our data on the scoring of grant applications. Every applicant wants great scores, and we want to help you understand how you’ll be scored, and why. For example, you may have heard that the Approach criterion score is highly correlated with the final impact score assigned to a grant application. Let’s get into the details of that. As most applicants for NIH grants know, reviewers assess research grant applications using five criteria. Read More
The NIA summer training program builds the pipeline for the future biomedical research workforce. Our Summer Institute, just renamed the Butler-Williams Scholars Program, provides early to mid-career scientists with a unique opportunity to interact with leaders in the field of aging and health disparities research. Scientists who attend learn how to design strong projects and put together competitive grant applications, as well as develop relationships and networks that often continue long after the week-end goodbyes. I’d like to share with you how the training works its magic. Read More
Posted on July 17, 2013 by Rebecca Ferrell, Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities.
Scientific Review Officers like me often hear from reviewers about things that applicants have or haven’t done in their grant applications, and how those applications fare in peer review. Many of the issues are related to grantsmanship: writing a neat, tidy, clear and complete grant application that a reviewer will pay attention to despite having read umpteen other applications in the previous 48 hours. Others are more substantive issues with the science. I would like to share some of the main issues we hear about, starting in this post with human research protections. Read More
Maybe you are a graduate student, a postdoc, or a new junior faculty member. You have carefully crafted a fellowship application or a career development application. Now, you sit on pins and needles hoping to hear that reviewers love what you propose and that the NIA will make an award. But wait! I wish that happy conjunction (reviewers love it, the NIA funds it) were always true. But in these times, it can happen that reviewers love it, but the NIA does not have the money to fund it. For fellowship and career development awards the unhappy conjunction (too much reviewer love for the money) also makes funding decisions particularly tricky. Read More
The NIA views support for research career development and pre and postdoctoral fellowship training as a priority. The availability of funds to support career development (K) and fellowship training (F, T, and NRSA) awards is critical to the advancement of the next cadre of scientists conducting research on aging and age-related disorders. This year’s sequester budget cut provided us with a real dilemma: do we fund fewer new awards or do we cut the funding of researchers with non-competing awards in their out year? Read More
Recently an NIA-funded study on the economic costs of caring for people with dementia was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study drew a lot of attention, and I want to tell you a little more about it. I am the program officer for this grant. As the lead federal agency for Alzheimer’s research, the NIA takes a broad interest in characterizing the societal effects of this disease. This study is the first peer reviewed, national estimate of the economic costs of dementia care. Read More
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... --Charles Dickens. These words sum up the state of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, specifically therapy development, over the last few years. On the one hand, the budget climate and dismal therapeutic results cloud the future. On the other hand, there are tremendous opportunities presented by the U.S. National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and by the emergence of systems and precision medicine. These could transform AD research and drug development. Read More