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Announcing NIA’s new crop of research concepts!

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

As summer 2020 winds down during these unprecedented, turbulent times, NIA remains focused on continuing full steam ahead. We held our 141st National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) meeting virtually last week where our traditional new crop of cleared research concepts for potential future funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) were approved. Our September NACA meeting resulted in quite the bountiful harvest!

Plan and plant ahead!

NACA’s cleared concepts provide information along the lines of the centuries-old Farmer’s Almanac for planning purposes but with much greater accuracy. Smart researchers take note and start thinking about how they can plant the best ideas that could take root and flourish as a successful application.

A cleared concept doesn’t definitively mean that an award mechanism or funding allocation is just around the corner. Nothing is official until FOAs are published in the NIH Guide. This said, the bulk of our cleared concepts have historically become published FOAs a few months after their announcement.

If any of our latest concepts fall into your scientific area, it’s best to begin strategizing now. Collaborate with your team on how to tackle a future application and start mapping out necessary resources such as personnel, facilities, and equipment. So, without further ado, here they are:

Reach out for more information!

Program contacts are listed for each concept: If you spot one that is a good fit for your team, reach out or leave a question or comment below!

Note: This blog post was edited on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 to add the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project Follow Up Study 2.0 concept and link.


Submitted by Anonymous on September 16, 2020

It is encouraging to see the promotion of diversity in research for AD/ADRD through Fellowship and Career Development Awards or even through undergraduate education. However, funding health-disparity related research in general should be one of the NIH priorities, as limited studies investigate health disparities and blacks have been underrepresented in many prominent U.S. AD/ADRD biomarker studies and clinical trials. Based on the findings of a recent analysis report (…), applications associated with health-disparity topics are less likely to be funded. As stated in the report and the comments already, perhaps the review panel should be more diverse and/or instructed to consider different topics for funding. The SRO should also be trained to inform the reviewers that the ICs have interest in unconventional health-disparity topics. That is, there should be more funding opportunities for advancing health-disparity related research for AD/ADRD.

Submitted by Derek A. Wainw… on October 10, 2020

I see the 'osteoimmunology in aging' concept above, but I'm wondering why the NIA doesn't just propose more broadly the topic of 'aging-related changes of the immune system as they relate to disease incidence and therapeutic effectiveness'. It's no secret that advanced aging is associated with an atrophy of the immune system and loss of adaptive immune system development. Coincidently, this age range is when a bevy of diseases exponentially increase in incidence including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, osteopororsis, sarcopenia, etc. Yet, the broad concept for studying changes that occur in the immune system throughout the lifespan is relatively unsupported as a dedicated research concept by any NIH institute. I hope the NIA considers funding this topic, as the research outcomes would likely pay many dividends toward understanding the relationship between the aging immune system and the increased incidence of disease and the decreased responsiveness to treatment effectiveness during advanced age.

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