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New funding opportunities to join the fight against COVID-19

Dr. Ken Santora
Kenneth SANTORA,
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)

As Dr. Hodes discussed in his post last week, the coronavirus pandemic has changed “business as usual” for scientists overnight. But it has not changed our mission, and with older adults among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, NIA is working to roll out new funding opportunities for research on the virus as rapidly as possible.

A brief bit of introduction: I am the new director of NIA’s Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). I started earlier this year, and it’s been a thrill to see firsthand the amazing energy and expertise that serves our research community behind the scenes. I am honored to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor, Dr. Robin Barr, who was a linchpin of this blog and DEA.

While I never thought that I would be running the division from home, this is our new reality, and I can assure the extramural community that NIA will continue to serve to best of our abilities. In DEA, our grants management, scientific review and small business offices are all fully functional and will remain so during these emergency conditions.

I had hoped my first authored blog post here would be a more informal or traditional piece, but as the world confronts the pandemic, we must postpone such niceties for now and prioritize uniting and mobilizing the aging research community to learn more about this new virus. I know many of you are eager to help during this crisis, in hopes of finding better ways to protect everyone, especially healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines as well as older adults and their caregivers who are vulnerable, isolated and worried.

An all-hands-on-deck opportunity

With that in mind, I am pleased to announce a new Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) NOT-AG-20-022: NIA Availability of Administrative Supplements and Revision Supplements on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Through this NOSI, NIA aims to address the urgent public health need to better understand COVID-19, particularly to improve prevention of disease transmission among older adults and mitigation of disease severity and mortality in older adults with the virus.

This NOSI includes a broad array of scientific interests selected by NIA’s four research divisions: Aging Biology, Behavioral and Social Research, Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, and Neuroscience. Applications can be Administrative Supplements or Competitive Revisions to active grants.

Apply now to tackle this scourge together

The application period is now open, and submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2021. Researchers who want to apply are strongly encouraged to contact and discuss their proposed approach with the appropriate NIA program staff listed in the NOSI. Also, don’t forget to keep looking at the NIH Funding Opportunities Specific to COVID-19 for other opportunities to conduct research on COVID-19. Pay close attention to other ICs’ FOAs, as NIA may be signed on to their initiatives.

All of us here at NIA are eager to receive your applications, learn more about your innovative ideas and get started supporting your work to take on COVID-19. Please comment below if you have questions. Best wishes for health and safety to all as we undertake this fight together!


Submitted by Dan on April 08, 2020

Hello, which grant mechanisms are eligible for these supplements and revisions?

The following mechanisms are eligible: P01, P30, RF1, R00, R01, R03, R15, R21, R24, R25, R33, R35, R41, R42, R43, R44, R56, R61, U01, U19, U24, U54, UG3, UH3, UM1, K01, K02, K07, K08, K23, K24, K25, and K76.

Submitted by Sharon J Elliot on April 08, 2020

Can I add an aim to an existing R21 that will expire in January 2021?

Submitted by Ken Santora on April 10, 2020

In reply to by Sharon J Elliot

Thank you for your comment. Please reach out to your program officer to see if your grant may be eligible. 

Submitted by Pan Zheng on April 10, 2020

Could you clarify that only the NIA Awardees can apply under NOT-AG-20-022?

Submitted by Ken Santora on April 10, 2020

In reply to by Pan Zheng

NIA and NIMH grantees can apply under the Notice. We encourage you to reach out to your program officer to see if you are eligible.

Submitted by Lauren Miller on April 14, 2020

I think it is very advantageous to have the option of revisions or supplements to existing awards; however, I am unable to find COVID-19 funding opportunities that are not attached to current issued awards. Please advise.

NIH is issuing new COVID-19 related NOSIs frequently. We are also working on several program announcements and funding opportunities that will be open to the wider research community--these just take longer to develop. Please check back for these and other COVID-19-related information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding website.

The “Open Mike” blog by NIH Deputy Director of Extramural Research Dr. Mike Lauer is another good resource to bookmark for COVID-19 related news for grantees:

Submitted by Lianping Xing on April 21, 2020

I would like to know the submissoin date for this. Should we use regular grant cycle date such as June 5 for a R01?

Submitted by Ken Santora on April 22, 2020

In reply to by Lianping Xing

This is a supplement rolling submission that will be reviewed internally. You can apply any time.

Submitted by Alok Bhargava on May 13, 2020

It would be helpful if NIH encourages new investigators to tackle various dimensions of Covid-19 epidemic via R03 grants. There are several data sets available from studies in China with information on viral loads, biomarkers, and demographic variables that could yield new insights.

Submitted by Ken Santora on May 13, 2020

In reply to by Alok Bhargava

NIA has a commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our aging population, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Also, NIA commitment to research by new investigators has always been a priority as seen by our increased payline for New and Early Stage Investigators (  While we have not specifically called out new investigators to perform COVID-19 research, there is always the opportunity to submit an unsolicited grant to the NIH Parent announcements (R01, R21, R03) that is within the mission of NIA and is COVID-related.

Submitted by Tamara Afifi on June 15, 2020

Hi--We submitted our rapid covid-19 funding competing revision at the end of April. Do you know when funding decisions will be made? Thank you!

Thank you for your question. Since the publication of the NIA NOSI on COVID-19, there has been a considerable amount of interest by the scientific community in submitting applications.  Each research proposal is being rigorously evaluated not only for scientific merit, but also for priority to NIA’s COVID-19 response and the availability of funds.  Please work with the Program Officer assigned to your parent grant for more updates as to where your application is in our internal NIA process.


Submitted by Constanza Tello on July 23, 2020

Hi, I was wondering if this funding only applies to research done on COVID. We have a project to fight COVID in Peru and I wanted to know if we can also apply (The project doesn't include scientific research).

Thank you for your question. Our NOSI is limited to COVID research within the mission of the NIA. These are supplemental applications, so you must have an existing active grant in order to apply. 

Please read carefully every FOA, as the eligibility and scope of the science varies with every FOA/Notice. You may find our list of available NIA funding opportunities helpful as well. 

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