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Get the latest round of research concepts on your radar!

Dr. Marie Bernard
Marie A. BERNARD [Former NIA Staff],
Deputy Director,
Office of the Director (OD)

Time has marched on this year at a whirlwind pace here at NIA — it’s almost hard to believe we recently wrapped up our second 2021 National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) meeting. In addition to the stimulating and inspiring scientific discussion, we once again put forth a fresh selection of research concepts, which were approved by our council as possible future funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).

Be prudent and prepare

If you’re a seasoned reader of this Inside NIA blog, then you know that a scientific idea making it to the cleared concept stage doesn’t mean an award mechanism or funding allocation is guaranteed; rather, nothing is official in the NIH world until published. With that caveat in place, the majority of NIA’s cleared concepts have historically emerged later as published FOAs.

And as a seasoned reader of this blog, you know that we tend to have fewer cleared concepts for the May council meeting than for the October and January meetings. So if you do not see something that overlaps with your interests, do not despair: There will be more each trimester. And remember, the majority of the projects funded by NIA are from investigator-initiated routes of inquiry, rather than a targeted solicitation.

Regardless, savvy scientists make a habit of keeping a close eye on our cleared concepts, and when they spot one relevant to their team’s wheelhouse, they start strategizing on how to build a successful application. Now is the smart time to contemplate, pull your team together, and begin to consider how your research ideas align.

Now on to the heart of the matter with the latest quartet of concepts:

Find your fit and follow up

NIA program contacts for each concept are listed in the information that you can access via the links above. If you see one that piques your interest, don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate program officer, or leave a question or comment below.


Submitted by Sukumar Vijaya… on May 19, 2021

There are topics that are clinically relevant but of interest to basic scientists which do not have an appropriate home but are tremendously important. For example, I work on the mechanistic link between olfactory insults and neurodegenetration but find myself in limbo between basic scientists and clinicians. It will be nice to have RFAs that target this demographic.

Submitted by Marie A. Berna… on May 21, 2021

In reply to by Sukumar Vijaya…

Dear Dr. Vijayaraghavan –

Thank you for your helpful comment! NIA and NIH recognize the ongoing and important need to support basic science. You may find this recent blog post from the NIH Office of Extramural Research helpful in determining if your study falls within a Basic Experimental Studies with Humans (BESH) funding opportunity announcement:

This recent Inside NIA blog post may also help you find and contact the best program officer to help match funding opportunities to your interests:

NIH has just developed a more robust website on BESH at, which can greatly assist potential applicants to better define BESH and navigate the applications process.

Thanks again for your input and we wish you good luck with your investigations.




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