Welcome to this issue of Spotlight on Aging Research – SOAR  , our periodic update on NIA policies, programs, and events. This issue features a conversation with Dr. Neil Buckholtz, director of our Division of Neuroscience, along with articles on HIV and aging, research on multiple chronic conditions in older people, summaries of recent NIA-funded research, and updates on happenings at NIA.
As we close out fiscal year 2013, I know that many of you have concerns and questions about budget and funding issues. Despite a constrained budget and the additional cuts imposed by the congressional sequester, we were able to hold our payline for R01s at the same level as in previous years. We did a little better with career development awards and fellowships, and even managed a respectable payline for small business grants. We continued to give priority to new and early-stage investigators, along with those grants requesting less than $500,000 in direct costs. We have been able, even in this environment, to continue to support important ongoing and new research.
But over that time, our buying power has continued to erode. And the additional funding directed in the last two years specifically to Alzheimer’s research by the NIH, to help meet the research goals of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, is not guaranteed to happen again. Looking ahead in FY 2014, I cannot make any firm predictions or promises. We are still looking at continued, likely significant, sequester-related cuts.
Please stay tuned on the NIA website, through our news updates and e-alerts , and, specifically, by following our research blog , for updates on funding and grants policies specific to NIA. If you are currently a grantee, don’t hesitate to get in touch with program staff, and if you are a prospective applicant, Robin Barr and his team at the Division of Extramural Activities will provide whatever information and guidance they can. As soon as news becomes available, we will share it with you.
Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
National Institute on Aging, NIH