About NIA

Dr Richard J HodesWelcome to the website of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Since 1974, the NIA -- one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the NIH -- has been at the forefront of the Nation's research activities dedicated to understanding the nature of aging, supporting the health and well being of older adults, and extending healthy, active years of life for more people.

Data from the Census Bureau tell us that in 2015, there are around 47.8 million Americans age 65 and older, up from about 25.5 million just 35 years ago; demographers predict that in another 35 years, there will be nearly 88 million Americans in this age group. The rate of growth of the “oldest old” population—those age 85 and older—is even more dramatic: Their numbers currently stand at approximately 6.3 million, but by 2050, that number will have almost tripled, to 18.7 million Americans. This population explosion is unprecedented in history, and the resulting demographic shift is causing profound social and economic changes.

At NIA, our mission is to discover what may contribute to a healthy old age as well as to understand and address the disease and disability sometimes associated with growing older. In pursuit of these goals, our research program covers a broad range of areas, from the study of basic cellular changes that occur with age to the examination of the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.

I invite you to explore our website and to learn more about the ground-breaking work of NIA researchers and the international community of scientists engaged in aging research. Take a look at some of the ways we are collaborating across the Institute and NIH on initiatives of special interest. For the general public and health professionals, we offer consumer-oriented information on a wide range of topics important to older people and their families. Scientists will find detailed information on areas of research interest and funding opportunities. If you're new to the NIA, our Strategic Directions document -- a road map for progress in aging research -- is a great place to start.

We thank you for your interest in aging research.

Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
Director, NIA

In addition to the research priorities of its intramural and extramural divisions, NIA is involved in a number of special initiatives that expand and enhance its mission. These initiatives often involve other NIH Institutes and Centers, as well as other organizations and agencies involved in research on health and aging.

Minority Aging and Health Disparities

The NIA is committed to enhancing the competitiveness of minority research applicants and to supporting initiatives and activities that address major health problems from which older minority people suffer disproportionately.

Trans-NIH Research Activities

The NIA is integrally involved in several initiatives that involve other NIA Institutes and Centers. Working collaboratively with other scientist-administrators, NIA staff seek to support research across a spectrum of areas.

Translational Research

Translational research is a multidisciplinary effort that creates a two-way loop between basic science laboratory studies and clinical research. The NIA has several translational research projects under way and participates in several trans-NIH initiatives in this area.

Comparative Effectiveness Research

Comparative effectiveness research (CER) compares the clinical outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of interventions to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases, disorders, and other health conditions. NIA supports an evolving portfolio of CER research relevant to aging.

Global Aging

NIA has pioneered cross-national research, sponsors collaborative international projects, collaborates with several international organizations, and disseminates findings in aging-related conditions and concerns affecting people worldwide.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

NIH received approximately $10 billion to be used in Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 from funds appropriated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Some of these funds were used to support the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research initiative.

Budget Requests

View current and past budget requests »

How We Develop the NIA Budget

The National Institute on Aging’s budget is included in the larger NIH budget. The process of developing the NIH annual budget is complex and includes three phases:

Formulation: Through the NIA’s comprehensive planning process, the Institute identifies priorities and proposes new or continuing initiatives to address those priorities. A draft budget estimating necessary allocations is developed.

Presentation to Congress: NIH Institutes – including NIA – each prepare an annual Congressional Budget Justification, which provides the Senate and House Appropriations Committees with detailed estimates and justifications for research and research support activities that NIH anticipates funding. Congress obligates, or assigns, funds to each Institute.

Execution: Funds are spent in accordance with NIA’s plans, needs, and priorities.

To learn more about each phase of the budget, go to the NIH Budget Process page or visit the Office of Management and Budget website.

NIH Budget History

The complete history of NIH budget appropriations from 1938 to the most recent fiscal year can be found at http://www.nih.gov/about/almanac/appropriations/index.htm

NIH Categorical Spending on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Research

The NIH uses the Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC) system to classify spending according to disease or research area.

Note: This system was implemented in FY 2008; data from prior years are not included in the RCDC system. Prior to 2008, another system (the NIH Historical Method) was previously used to categorize spending in different areas and this cannot be compared with the new RCDC system.

NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. In 1974, Congress granted authority to form NIA to provide leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people. Subsequent amendments to this legislation designated the NIA as the primary Federal agency on Alzheimer’s disease research.

NIA Timeline: A chronological history of the NIA.

National Advisory Council on Aging

The National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Director of NIH, and the Director of NIA in its mission. The Council meets three times a year to consider applications for research and training and to recommend funding for promising applications.

Meeting Information »
Membership Roster »

Visitor Information

Directions, campus map, parking info and more.


How can someone donate to NIA?

Careers at NIA