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Latest cleared concepts preview possible future funding priorities

Dr. Marie Bernard
Marie A. BERNARD [Former NIA Staff],
Deputy Director,
Office of the Director (OD)

The National Advisory Council on Aging recently met for the second time this year here in Bethesda, MD. In addition to the opportunity to hear some great scientific presentations, there was the always-anticipated debut of new concepts that frequently evolve into Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). Compared to a whopping 26 cleared concepts earlier this year, this time the Council members cleared a more routine seven concepts for your reading—and planning—pleasure.

These concepts still need to be fleshed out into FOAs and make their way through NIH’s publication pipeline. Bureaucratic complexities and shifting priorities are always a possibility, so there is no guarantee that they will all be posted as FOAs. I strongly encourage researchers to check the NIH Guide regularly for active NIA funding opportunities.

Time to get started

That said, we relay this information now to allow you ample time to plan and prepare your grant proposals. Thinking through the public health implications of your research and expressing them in the application is an important part of obtaining funding through a NIH solicitation. Be sure that your grant aligns with the FOA, communicates your ideas clearly, and offers a concise yet compelling rationale for why you should receive funding. If you’re interested in any of these concepts, we encourage you to reach out to the appropriate NIA program officer to ensure your research idea aligns with the concept.

Finally, in case you missed it, check out Director of Extramural Activities Robin Barr’s recent Q&A webinar for additional information on NIA funding: (Almost) everything you wanted to know about NIA funding but were afraid to ask. This hour-long presentation features application tips direct from NIA’s funding guru and is a great place to start as you’re preparing to apply.

We are excited to share these new concepts with you.

We’d love to hear from you

Feedback is always encouraged, so please feel free to contact us or comment below. Good luck—now go get writing!


Submitted by Michael N. Oxman, MD on June 05, 2019

Chronic pain, and especially chronic neuropathic pain, is an increasingly prevalent debilitating problem in older adults, with no available safe and effective treatment or preventive measures. Identification human genomic loci that affect the occurrence and severity of neuropathic pain would be the first step on a pathway to developing effective methods for treatment and prevention. Herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia provide a good model for neuropathic pain, and the clinical data and specimens from the Shingles
Although this is a self-serving recommendation, I believe that the NIA should support our attempt to derive such a discovery cohort.

Submitted by Leon B. Kassman on June 06, 2019

Our aging population is not immune from the behavioral and psycho-social trend continually gaining impact among younger, even the youngest groups in our society. That which has the dominant role in bringing information, ease, and enlightenment to us all also has contributed negative consequences to the quality of our lives. Walk down any street - anywhere- and you will see a cell phone firmly embraced in the hands of so many that the number of inadvertent jostling 'bumps' and 'brushes' between strangers has increased dramatically as one's individual path is more and more rarely solely our own. However, such 'un-targeted' touching, is in no way a replacement for the concomitant loss of more directed interpersonal intimacies. We touch our phones more than we actually touch each other. The resultant, in fact, is that, particularly in our older (senior) class, people in plain site, sit as a kind of living stalagmite, taking space and noticed, but unless ' on the phone' almost completely alone. And, such separation has the most deleterious result in exacerbating all those diseases and conditions which age, alone, incites. Even couples, elder couples, have fallen away from the benefits of simple human touch. That which was a component to initiated sexual engagement - seems to have become like those old 'play' magnets that taught the qualities of attraction and repelling. Touch Between Humans seems to becoming vestigial. And, the NIA, should include it within their 'Cleared' foci.

Dear Mr. Kassman:

Thank you for sharing this valuable feedback. The important points that you raise speak directly to Goal B of  NIA’s Strategic Directions: To better understand the effects of personal, interpersonal, and societal factors on aging, including the mechanisms through which these factors exert their effects and of our newly approved concepts, “ Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connection and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery”. See a full description of Goal B and other NIA Goals here: Aging Well in the 21st Century.

-- NIA Blog Team

Submitted by LEONARD HAYFLICK on June 07, 2019

When will the NIA support research on the fundamental biology of aging?

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

Submitted by Judge Savannah… on July 07, 2019

Studies on the Collateral effects of sexual assaults and intimidation on elders who are witnesses in criminal prosecutions.