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What are your priorities for aging research?

Kate Nagy
Kate NAGY,
Deputy Director, Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation,
Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE)

At NIA, we share an ambitious goal with our colleagues in the research community: To understand the nature of aging and the aging process and diseases and conditions associated with growing older in order to extend healthy, active years of life for all Americans. But the basic biologists, clinicians, behavioral research specialists, demographers, and experts in dozens of other scientific specialties supported by NIA will necessarily have different interests, concerns, and strategies toward achieving that common goal.

As the lead federal agency for biomedical research on aging, we recognize our responsibility to signal, clearly and publicly, our plans and priorities. The entire scientific community benefits when we share a common point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute's scientific portfolio and assessing progress.

Our current strategic plan

In 2014, with the support of stakeholders in the research community, non-governmental organizations, partners within the NIH and elsewhere in the federal government, and members of the general public, NIA established the goals and objectives outlined in Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging.

This important document outlines the broad strategic directions of the Institute. It also informs the development of new initiatives and guides programmatic activities. Notably, it does not provide a detailed outline of our plans and priorities for Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s-disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD). While Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia are addressed in the Strategic Directions document, investigators should review the Congressionally-mandated Bypass Budget for AD/ADRD for a more comprehensive discussion of our plans and priorities for those diseases.

We’d like to hear from you!

The field has progressed rapidly since 2014, and we are taking some preliminary steps toward updating our Strategic Directions to reflect new and evolving research opportunities. We anticipate releasing the new document in 2019. Internally, we are closely analyzing our overall research portfolio to identify gaps as well as new fields and topic areas that have taken off since we developed the current version.

In a few months, we’ll begin collecting input from our key constituencies about what you believe to be the most urgent questions, topics, and directions in aging research. We will carefully consider all responses as we update our Strategic Directions to make them more fully responsive to today’s fast-paced research environment.

However, before we do that, we’d like to ask you a few questions about your familiarity with NIA’s Strategic Directions, as well as how you use the information in the document. We’ll use your responses to inform the overall development and dissemination of our new document.

Clicking on this link will take you to a brief survey, which should take you about five minutes to complete. Responding is voluntary, and your response will remain anonymous.

We appreciate your time and your thoughts, and we look forward to working with you to plan for the future of the nation’s aging research agenda. If you have questions or further comments about the NIA Strategic Directions document, please feel free to contact the NIA Planning Office or comment below.


Submitted by Mike Hennenfent on April 18, 2018

try to determinnne all disease that happens because of our genetic makeup

Submitted by Jill Kagan on April 18, 2018

In NIA's strategic plan, several goal areas, most notably Goals C, D and E, reference the importance of better understanding interventions that reduce the burden on family caregivers to improve the health of the aging care recipient. To address these goals, as director of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, I want to call your attention to the ACL funded final report of the ARCH Expert Panel on Respite Research, published by ARCH. To see the final report, a list of prestigious panel members, and the research recommendations to better develop an evidence base for respite care, a critically important, but often overlooked, support service for family caregivers, please visit this link:…. The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, which facilitated the Expert Panel, is working with funders and researchers to build a research consortium to bring the document to life and ensure that the research recommendations are implemented. We plan to submit detailed recommendations when you request input in the coming months. Thank you for providing the opportunity to share the document with you.

Submitted by Henny Billett on April 18, 2018

There are very few studies on whether and how aging affects the coagulation system and platelet function.

Submitted by Leonard Hayflick on April 18, 2018

As a founding member of the NIA Council and executive committee chair I find it troublesome that the NIA has substantially failed for the last 43 years to address the major question in this field . That is, the etiology of biological aging. The NIA major focus on age associated disease, descriptive research and longevity determinants does not address this key question.

Submitted by NIA Blog Team on April 18, 2018

Thanks to everyone who commented on this blog post. This is interesting and useful feedback! We'd really appreciate it if you would go to the website mentioned in the blog and post your comments there, as well. Thanks again!

Submitted by Richard Winett on April 18, 2018

Just in the last decade and especially the last five years there have been a number of highly translatable advances for older adults in exercise and nutritional sciences. Most of these studies have been conducted in other countries and not funded in the US or by the NIA. These advances and protocols need to be further assessed in long-term behavioral interventions. The interventions are different from the LIFE intervention and Look AHEAD, which were not very effective, and which do not reflect the new evidence base.

Submitted by P. V. Ramamurt… on April 18, 2018

In future research, there has to be a greater emphasis on the etiology/epidemiology of Aging in developing nations, where nearly a half of human population resides.

Submitted by Katherine Schl… on April 19, 2018

As a pediatric geriatrician (boarded in peds, peds ID, FM and geri) I see a real discrepancy between the genetic, and subcellular and even ID and environmental research done in peds, and the paucity of this type of research in older adults. Preservation of health and function in old age probably begins in utero or in childhood, and studies on such diseases as Alzheimer's and even arthritis are probably missing the subcellular/genetic/ environmental pathology that occurs in younger folk and starts whatever degenerative process one is observing. Seeing whether 80 year olds can by intensive interventions go from a wheelchair to a walker seems like locking the barn door after the horse has escaped!

Submitted by NIA Blog Team on April 19, 2018

In reply to by Katherine Schl…

Thanks to everyone who commented on this blog post. This is interesting and useful feedback! We'd really appreciate it if you would go to the website mentioned in the blog – – and post your comments there, as well. Thanks again!

Submitted by Ann Schmidt Luggen on April 22, 2018

I’ve been interested in the trajectory of RA diagnosed in older adults. I’m interested in the varying types of Parkinson’s disease And their trajectories.