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Yes - Researchers in the basic biology of aging can be funded with Alzheimer's money

The nation has made Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias (ADRD) a top research priority, through additional substantial funding from Congress. While aging is the major risk factor for AD and ADRD, many investigators in the biology of aging research community questioned whether their expertise would be recognized as valuable. Analysis of last year’s AD-related funding opportunity announcements suggests that participation of basic researchers with little or no previous experience in Alzheimer’s research is crucial.

Why should you be a reviewer?

Did you know? NIA receives somewhere around 4,000 applications for funding in response to new and existing funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) each year. And, each application is reviewed. With that level of interest, you can imagine that we are always looking for investigators who are willing and able to serve as peer reviewers.

A footnote to our funding line: The AD PARs

A recurring question from readers after I post a new funding line blog post is: Does that line apply to my application? It usually does, bringing good news to those blessed with applications within that line. The normal caution applies—the line means that we expect to pay awards. Still, the funding line doesn’t apply to everything.

Can basic biology shed light on Alzheimer's disease (and receive support for trying...)?

As most of you probably know, there has been a big influx of funds for Alzheimer’s disease research, with perhaps more to come. We recently issued several new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) focused on Alzheimer’s. A burning question in the minds of many scientists is: Can a basic biologist not currently working on Alzheimer’s really expect to receive funds targeted towards Alzheimer’s research?

A word about two-stage review of program projects

A few months ago, NIA decided to follow the practice of two other NIH institutes and arrange two-stage review of program projects. We have recently completed the first review cycle under this new review model. We launched this two-stage effort because of concern that the separate small committee reviews which each handled one program project lacked the context for scoring that is available to the customarily larger panels who review a substantial set of research grant applications in one meeting.

Can review become more discriminating?

Several recent commentaries (Danthi, Wu, Shi and Lauer; Lauer, Danthi, Kaltman, and Wu;) have found that the percentile rank an application receives in peer review has little or no noticeable relationship to how productive (in terms of citation impact of publications) a subsequent award is, should the application be so fortunate as to be awarded. So, a first-percentile application is apparently no more productive than a 15th-percentile application. Is that outcome really surprising?

Balance in grant peer review: recruiting reviewers from diverse backgrounds

I am a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) and currently lead the NIA-N Review committee. I’m constantly recruiting grant application reviewers: I mean, All The Time! During the course of each year, I also run a multitude of meetings to review grants responding to Requests for Applications, Program Project Grants (PPG), and Institutional/Individual Training Grant opportunities. It’s a good thing that I don’t take rejection personally, because more than half of the reviewers I try to recruit say, “NO,” and about a quarter of them just don’t answer my emails. One time I asked 89 people to review a PPG and only 14 of them said yes.

Making the scientific case for your research aims: it's vital!

For scientists writing NIH grant applications, the aims are THE THING.

The applicant calls the program officer: “What do you think of these aims?”

The program officer listens and senses the enthusiasm. Later, however, when the aims get stated in the language of the grant application, the enthusiasm has been...

Thoughts from a career on the sidelines

How do I write a grant application that will get funded? It’s a question I get asked all the time. Of course there is no magic formula. And, you may have heard much of the most important advice already: be strategic, and so on. After a career helping to direct...

Attention peer reviewers: Integrity and bias awareness training coming soon

A heads-up on mandatory training for peer reviewers.

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