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Supporting early-career entrepreneurial development through small business funding

Dr. Todd Haim
Todd HAIM,
Office of Strategic Extramural Programs (OSEP)

Opportunities for diverse individuals trained in biomedical sciences have expanded beyond more traditional, tenure-driven academic settings. NIA recognizes that innovation and diversity of thought can be strengthened and achieved beyond experiences in the lab or other research environments. Early-career researchers who have access to interdisciplinary work opportunities can expand upon their expertise and more broadly apply their scientific skills, including in private industry.

Entrepreneurship and grant-writing skills are critical in preparing the next generation of aging research innovators for these expanded career opportunities. To this end, NIA is excited to share the launch of the NIA Research and Entrepreneurial Development Immersion (REDI) program. REDI encompasses several training initiatives designed to prepare participants for success in diverse career paths, both within and outside of academic research.

Funding early-career scientists at every stage

REDI will expose graduate students and postdocs to nontraditional career pathways, thus paving the road to diverse professional opportunities and broadening their postdoctoral horizons. Trainees in REDI programs will gain essential business skills in science communications, intellectual property, regulatory affairs, science policy and education, consulting, drug discovery, approval, and production, the business of science, and health care.

NIA emphasizes the importance of diverse applicants for the following REDI opportunities:

REDI: Mentored Entrepreneurial Career Development Award (RFA-AG-22-004)

  • This K01 program provides support and protected time over three to five years for intensive, supervised career development in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences in research areas supported by NIA. This unique funding opportunity also requires that part of the research training time be spent outside of the lab on entrepreneurial skill development.
  • Application Due: Sept. 29, 2021

REDI: Entrepreneurship Enhancement Award (RFA-AG-22-003)

  • This R25 award provides support to institutions and organizations to develop educational programs in entrepreneurship. The program is designed to broaden the skills of graduate students, postdocs, and recent graduates in fields relevant to aging research. A diversity recruitment plan is required.
  • Letter of Intent Due: Sept. 4, 2021
  • Application Due: Oct. 4, 2021

REDI: Entrepreneurial Small Business Transition Awards (RFA-AG-22-014 and RFA-AG-22-007)

Interested in learning more? NIA recently hosted a pre-application webinar to discuss eligibility, application details, and how to connect with program staff. Contact Saroj Regmi, Ph.D., for webinar slides and more information on REDI funding. A recording of the webinar will be available soon on the NIA REDI program page.

Serving and assisting our awardees

Importantly, NIA’s work does not end when successful applicants receive small business funding. My team has dedicated staff and training resources to help awardees along the way as they work to bring their innovations to market. If you have questions about NIA small business programs or want to discuss how your research aligns with our priorities, email us. Make sure you also sign up to receive email updates and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about upcoming events and funding opportunities.

P.S. Check out our paper on how NIA’s small business program funding has boosted Alzheimer’s and related dementias research since 2008. No time to read the full paper? See our press release on the topic.

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