Targeting a prize for Alzheimer's and related dementias research
In December 2016, the President signed the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255 (PDF, 973K))—legislation that included many components relevant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—into law. One requires the NIH to support and report on prize competitions in biomedical research that can advance a field and potentially improve health outcomes. A number of other NIH Institutes and Centers have used prizes to stimulate research in areas ranging from biosensors and organoid development, to biotech startups. NIA now stands ready to join the action, by initiating the first step in a prize for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias (ADRD) research.
We need your ideas!
A few weeks ago, on November 2, the NIA released a Request for Information (RFI) for the prize. It asks for input from a wide range of stakeholders, including but not limited to researchers, non-governmental organizations, industry, small businesses, individuals and families affected by AD/ADRDs, and the general public.
The request for ideas is wide open, but we thought it might be useful to offer a few of our own to get the conversation started, focused on:
- Validation of predictors of AD progression
- A radiotracer to measure in vivo synaptic integrity
- Low-cost innovation of improving systems of care for AD/ADRD patients and caregivers
We mention these areas not because they are the only ones we are considering as research priorities, but because they represent needs in the field that may be well-suited to a prize model. Many innovative concepts are certainly worthy of support, but it may be that there are other mechanisms of funding that the NIA could use to target a particular area of research (for example, a funding opportunity announcement).
What other suggestions do you think lend themselves to the competitive environment of a monetary prize? Remember, the only limitation for the RFI is that feedback should be relevant to AD/ADRD research; it does not apply in this case to direct provision of dementia care, management, or services.
How to get started
If you’re stumped as to where to start, or how to identify gaps in what we and other NIH Institutes and Centers are already doing, we have many resources that may provide useful background information:
- Our research implementation milestones database showcases specific research goals that have emerged from multiple large scientific meetings
- The International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP) database brings together funded research supported by public and private organizations both in the U.S. and abroad
- Our web page for AD/ADRD Funding Opportunity Announcements will show you what’s active in terms of relevant solicitations
- This list of concepts approved by the National Advisory Council on Aging (including but not limited to AD/ADRD concepts) will fill you in on where we are likely to be headed in the future
If you have questions about this RFI, or input that you’d like to submit, please email NIAPrizeInput@nih.gov. All prize input or feedback must be received by 11:59:59 pm (ET) on December 31, 2017. We look forward to hearing from you.