Research and Funding
Inside NIA: A Blog for Researchers

New grant money for health disparities research

New grant money for health disparities research

Do you conduct research on health disparities? Are you a grad student, postdoc, or junior faculty member? Are you interested to learn about some new funding that’s just become available from the NIA?

Current NIA grantees can apply for extra funding to add you their grants. That’s right! There is additional money to add appropriate, rigorous health disparities projects and researchers to existing NIA grants.

Now don’t confuse this new effort with our longstanding diversity supplement program, which supports researchers from underrepresented minority groups and other diverse backgrounds. That program is still going strong, and we will be accepting applications again beginning in September.

Today’s blog post introduces a new and different supplement program. In this one, the goal is to advance research on health disparities in the context of aging. Read on to find out what’s available and how to find NIA-funded researchers at your institution who might like to work with you.

Administrative supplements 101 – here’s how they work

Have you ever heard of an “administrative supplement”? This is an add-on to an existing NIH grant: funding for an additional, related purpose not originally specified in the grant proposal.

Administrative supplements can support pilot research projects that connect to an existing NIH award. (This existing NIH award is also called the “parent” award.) And, with these supplements, emerging investigators can receive very important mentoring from the principal investigator of the parent award.

Administrative supplements are also great for established investigators, supporting research on relevant questions that emerged from the original grant proposal or that came to light after a grant was funded.

New Administrative Supplements for Aging Research on Health Disparities

You may already know who gets NIA funding at your institution. If not, now is a good time to look it up. You can use the NIH RePORTER database. Fill in the Organization field with your institution, and specify NIA in the Agency/Institute/Center field.

Then, after reviewing the fine print below, politely reach out to grantees to ask if they know that NIA is offering administrative supplements for health disparities research. Really, it is okay to do this. You could even come with some ideas about possible supplemental projects linked to their funded work.

So, what are the rules?

  1. As described above, applications for these supplements must be tied to a NIA-funded parent award. The parent award should have at least 18 months remaining in the total funding period. This is common sense: we aren’t able to supplement grants that are just about to end. Read more fine print about the parent award and eligibility.
  2. Budget requests may be for no more than $62,500 in total costs for a one-year project period. Read more budget fine print.
  3. While not mandatory, it may be useful for the PI to discuss research ideas with me and some of the other NIA scientific/research contacts listed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement before applying. Getting in touch prior to applying might save some time and help focus the application.

We are especially interested in administrative supplement applications on these topics:

  • exploratory analyses of tissue that inform health disparities
  • psychometric testing of measures that enable health disparities research
  • new analyses of existing data that are adequately powered to allow comparative analyses that inform an understanding of health disparities

Health disparities mechanisms of interest for this new administrative supplement include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, education, residential segregation/geography, stress/coping, and socioeconomic status. Please note that the NIH identifies African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations, and Rural Populations as target populations for health disparities research.

What do we mean by health disparities, anyway?

If you’re not familiar with this field, health disparities are differences in the incidence and prevalence of disease, mortality, burden of diseases, and life expectancy that exist between population groups in the U.S. These differences are associated with a broad array of factors that influence health. Differential exposure to stress over the life course, early socioeconomic disadvantage, and social deprivation are thought to be contextual factors that accelerate aging processes, reduce life expectancy, and contribute to health disparities.

So please, get in touch with funded grantees at your institution about this possibility. We hope that you—and they—will apply for this supplemental funding and take advantage of the opportunity to work together in this important area of health disparities research.


Read next:

NIA Office of Special Populations

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Posted by Thea on Jul 23, 2014 - 2:59 pm

This is a question related to PIs for aging research in health disparities. Are there administrative supplements for community based researchers (i.e. Physicians-physical health, Counselors-mental health) who wish to get involved in building health equity for medically underserved seniors? These are professionals who do not have traditional research backgrounds and are not affiliated with the major research colleges and institutes, but serve special populations daily, and desire to engage with research institutions to improve health outcomes for populations they have served for years. Currently, they are generally left out of these critical research conversations and process. Also, here at DCT LiveWell, we would like to find funding to establish community research collaborations for persons outside the traditional university system who have expertise and desire input to create population health solutions for those who need them most. To be sure, we are still interested in collaborating with our colleges and community professionals to establish small inexpensive pilot health research studies in multiple urban cities simultaneously to identify best practices at the community level that can be implemented much more quickly than traditional multi-year research and implementation cycles. Your input and suggestions on these topics will be sincerely appreciated.

Posted by NIA Blog Team on Jul 23, 2014 - 3:56 pm

Thea, thank you for these important questions. NIH RePORT ( is a great database to find potential collaborators. You could also get in touch with your state health department to inquire if they are looking for community partners. Other parts of the U.S. federal government also have funded this kind of community research (ACF, AHRQ, HRSA, HUD), as have many foundations, and the opportunities they offer may be a good fit for you.

Posted by Emily on Jul 27, 2014 - 9:36 am

I too have less of an opportunity to work with a major research university and more community-based research options as I work with a local Area Agency on Aging. I am an adjunct professor at a local university, do you see this as an opportunity to apply for this type of grant through the university to be used at the local level for health disparity research? Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Posted by Carl Hill on Jul 28, 2014 - 9:46 am

Emily, this particular opportunity is available as a supplement to existing NIA grants, so you'd have to find an NIA grantee to partner with in order to apply. To search for other health disparities research funding from NIH that might have different eligibility criteria, use the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts:

Posted by Candace Brown on Jul 28, 2014 - 6:02 pm

Thanks for this info Dr. Hill! Are the topics, listed within the announcement, more likely to receive the administrative supplement award? Are you aware of how many awards are available? Thanks!

Posted by Carl Hill on Jul 29, 2014 - 8:36 am

Hello Candace, NIA intends to commit $250,000 in fiscal year 2014 to fund 3-4 awards. Applications that respond to the Specific Areas of Interest and Scope of Support described in the announcement are more likely to receive funding.

Posted by Anonymous on Aug 06, 2014 - 11:47 am

Great post, great information!