March Madness—a time for bracket busting and bragging rights, Cinderella stories and unexpected outcomes. And, so it goes in NIA-supported research, too! We in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research have been developing our game in new directions—funding more research in Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD).
The NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) have long been a crucial part of NIA’s overall Alzheimer’s disease program and have many accomplishments to their credit. During this time of expanding interest and support for Alzheimer’s research, NIA is introducing important changes to this Centers program.
Here we go again. Maybe. The U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees have written large increases into their appropriations bills for NIA—again in FY 2018—to expand research into Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD).
Among the initiatives launched under the 21st Century Cures Act, which brought us the Cancer Moonshot, the BRAIN initiative, and the All of Us precision medicine program, is the Regenerative Medicine Innovation Project (RMIP). NIH, in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is taking the lead on this exciting new venture, which seeks to accelerate clinical research on adult stem cells.
You may have already heard that the NIA has awarded a new cooperative agreement establishing the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium (ACTC). We expect the ACTC to accelerate and expand studies for therapies in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We hope you’ve also heard that the funding opportunity for ACTC trials is open. The first submission date for applications is March 29 and we strongly encourage interested investigators to reach out to the ACTC leadership and NIA well in advance.
In December 2016, the President signed the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255)—legislation that included many components relevant to the NIH—into law. One requires the NIH to support and report on prize competitions in biomedical research that can advance a field and potentially improve health outcomes. NIA now stands ready to join the action, by initiating the first step in a prize for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) research.
The National Advisory Council on Aging met here on the NIH campus on September 26–27. Among several actions by the Council was the approval of eight new concepts for Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). The lively discussion around these concepts is always one of the highlights of this two-day meeting, with conversations and conjecture often continuing into the corridors.
The NIH Loan Repayment Program provides up to $35,000 per year for qualified researchers to pay off student loans. The program is accepting applications now, as it does every fall, and NIA is one of several institutes involved in this important program. If the program is appropriate for you, apply now. You may be able to get part of your student loans repaid by NIA or one of the other NIH Institutes and Centers accepting applications.
As readers of this blog surely know, NIA publishes Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) in the NIH Guide to—you guessed it—announce new opportunities to apply for funding. We use FOAs to inform potential applicants of new initiatives ranging from traditional R01 research grants to large P50 center grants and national surveys. But have you stopped to think about where an FOA originates? Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at FOA development.