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What's ahead in 2019

Dr. Richard Hodes
Richard J. HODES,
Office of the Director (OD)

In this video post to kick off the New Year, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes discusses opportunities ahead for researchers in aging and Alzheimer’s and related dementias science, including budget, pay lines, and growing the field, as well as upcoming events and funding opportunities.


Happy new year everyone!

I’m Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging here at NIH. As we kick off 2019, I wanted to let you know about the many exciting things happening with aging and Alzheimer’s science this year, and the opportunities available to the research community.

First, we are pleased that NIH and NIA have a full budget already in place for this fiscal year -- that is, we are not having to wait until mid-year or later as we have in the past. That means we can get an earlier start on investing NIA research dollars.

This year’s NIA budget includes an increase of 84 million dollars in our general appropriation, and an additional 425 million designated for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, bringing our total budget to over 3 billion dollars —- nearly triple the 2013 level. With this increase, NIA is now the fourth largest of the 27 Institutes at NIH in terms of budget.

We are very grateful for this sustained, strong support from Congress and the American people. As our population ages, we share a sense of urgency to find answers both about healthy aging and Alzheimer’s and dementia.

With this unprecedented growth, we have been able to accelerate research, issuing dozens of funding opportunity announcements that target specific research gaps or promising areas of study. Please take a look at our funding opportunities and new concepts as the year progresses – we are eager to share the wealth and broaden the field.

With our budget in place, we have been able to set preliminary paylines for Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s projects as you see here. Although we’ve started the year conservatively, we hope to be able to increase these initial funding lines as we move into the spring.

A high priority is continuing to grow the pipeline of early career investigators as well as bringing more investigators into the field. We are delighted to see that from 2015-18, more than a quarter of our awardees were either new or early stage investigators, and over a third of our awards went to scientists who were new to Alzheimer’s research.

We continue to seek innovative ways to support and partner with researchers from other disciplines. Please help us to spread the word, take a look at the expanding areas we are funding, and contact us to learn more about how your research fits.

Another way we are growing the field is by working with our fellow NIH Institutes to award supplements to grantees who want to expand their projects into Alzheimer’s or related dementias. Last year, 25 Institutes participated and awarded more than 300 supplements. We’ll continue to offer these administrative supplements this year.

Finally, mark your calendars for two big events coming up this year: the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Summit on March 14th and 15th and the 2019 Geroscience Summit, scheduled for November 4th and 5th. Check our website for more details and plan to participate.

As we begin 2019, we are very excited by progress and possibilities. We’re moving ahead with strong momentum toward our goals of enhancing aging research and reaching the national goal of stopping Alzheimer’s.

We thank you, the NIA community of scientists, for your creativity, dedication, and perseverance and hope you’ll join us as we roll up our sleeves and continue striving forward. Please spread the word with your colleagues about the opportunities for Alzheimer’s and aging research. And, continue to follow our “Inside NIA” blog for the latest updates.

Thank you and all the best for 2019.


Submitted by LEONARD HAYFLICK on January 09, 2019

If it is universely believed that aging is the greatest risk factor for the emergence of Alzheimer's Disease (and other age-associated diseases) then why are the funds available for research on the fundamental etiology of aging, by comparison, microscopic?

L. Hayflick
Founding member of the Council of the NIA
Founding Chair of the Executive Committee of the Council of the NIA

Submitted by NIA Blog Team on January 16, 2019


Thank you for your comment. We have recently received substantial appropriated funds specific to Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s-related dementias. We are happy to report that findings from the basic biology of aging are making their way into Alzheimer’s research partly as a result of the substantial new funds that we have received. We encourage you to tune into the video of our upcoming council meeting and take a look at the concepts approved at that meeting when we post them the following week.

Submitted by Leslie Norins,… on January 09, 2019

Hopefully, the record appropriation will allow significant funding for research grants to thoroughly investigate the mounting evidence that infectious agents can be triggers for Alzheimer's disease.

Submitted by Fox Wetle on January 09, 2019

The continuing growth in the NIA budget, particularly for activities focused on Alzheimer's disease, provides important opportunity to address challenging health issues of an aging population. The guidance of Dr. Hodes and the other NIA leadership is much appreciated.

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