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New possibilities for research training, small business research

Dr. Robin Barr
Robin BARR,
Director, DEA,
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)
.

The mighty push for research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) continues at NIA. While an earlier blog highlighted the research initiatives we have published, this chapter covers the more recent publication of two training initiatives and four small business-related initiatives.

Research training

If public interest in Alzheimer’s research continues to increase (along with the funds available for it!), then a short mental leap takes us to the plausible proposition that we need to train more researchers in this field. Yet, the science behind Alzheimer’s research is pushing in multiple directions at the moment. How do we chart a training path in these unsettled times?

We are signaling two different routes with our two initiatives. The training grant initiative on ADRD offers the opportunity to focus training directly on the disorder and its consequences for families and society at large. With our initiative on revision awards to active training grants on aging (and on nursing), we hope to facilitate the integration of the study of these dementias into the study of aging more generally.

Through these initiatives, we intend to help you to create a next generation of researchers with the skills to pursue Alzheimer’s as a disease and with the background to understand that disease in the context of aging.

Small business initiatives

Two of the four recently published initiatives are successor funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to the small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer research (STTR) FOAs that we published last year. As the prior announcements did, these FOAs cover most topic areas in Alzheimer’s research. The difference from the earlier FOAs is that the new SBIR and STTR announcements have set-aside dollars associated with them directly. That means money specifically reserved for funding of deserving applications!

The remaining SBIR and STTR FOAs focus on improving tools for the clinical care and management of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Though we all thrill to the possible future that eliminates these dementias from our lives, the reality is that millions of individuals suffer from them today, and their families suffer too. We are woefully short of tools that allow successful communication with patients, that help prevent and manage challenging symptoms, and that can increase competence of patients with AD in the simple tasks of daily living. Small businesses are well placed in translational research to allow rapid development of new and better approaches. These opportunities await your applications!

We still live in uncertain times

NIA and most of the rest of the government now are supported through a second continuing resolution (CR) that ends in April 2017. (The prior CR ended on December 9.) It remains a waiting game as we anticipate a final budget for the year, or perhaps a full-year continuing resolution.

Still, we have funds available as a result of prior year allocations such that we can use them this year on competing awards, even in the absence of additional dollars. You could be one of the very deserving individuals who receives an award. That is, only if you apply, of course!

In the meantime, best wishes for a healthy and happy new year! “Inside NIA” will resume on January 11.

Alzheimer's Disease Funding Opportunities Small Business Funding Training