Posted on April 30, 2014 by Nina Silverberg, Assistant Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, Division of Neuroscience.
Do you struggle to recruit older participants into your research? Researchers tell us that recruiting older adults—especially from underrepresented groups—is challenging, while the need for participants is great. Read More
Half the reason for writing this time is to allow you a forum on our site to comment on what the new NIH resubmission policy means for the NIA community. But the other half of the reason is to explain what it might mean for us at NIA. As a refresher, the new resubmission policy means that after an unsuccessful A1 submission (or A0 submission) investigators may submit a similar application as a new (A0) application. NIH will not review the new submission for similarity to the prior application. Read More
The NIA recently hired someone new, Melinda Kelley, to help us work with Congress, outside groups, and others who would like to interact with NIA leadership. The person who previously filled this role, the wonderful Tamara Jones, retired at the beginning of the year. Government agencies like the NIA must have a point of contact for Members of Congress and their staff. Legislation, including appropriations, affects all aspects of biomedical research. We communicate with Congress about programs and policies, providing information about new initiatives and developments in research. We also provide technical assistance when requested. This is not the responsibility of NIA alone: researchers all over the country are a powerful voice helping Congress understand the value of medical research to its constituents. Read More
Why do some grant applications receive a percentile rank and others not? Applications for an NIA grant that are reviewed at the NIH Center for Scientific Review, or CSR, get a percentile rank. Applications for an NIA grant that are reviewed at the National Institute on Aging, through review panels organized by our NIA scientific review staff, do not receive percentile ranks. If an application is reviewed by NIA, we give it a priority score, not a percentile. This includes the R01s and investigator-initiated research grant applications that are reviewed at NIA. But this seems inconsistent! Either this means that we at NIA are crazy (which many have claimed) or that the use of percentiling needs explaining. Read More
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, or BLSA, is one of the world’s longest running studies of aging. Started in 1958, the BLSA enrolls healthy volunteers ages 20 years and older and follows them longitudinally—for life—even performing an autopsy in those who consented. I want to encourage researchers who study issues related to aging and have questions that require the unique design and depth of information available in the BLSA to submit an analysis proposal to use the data. Read More
When the dust cleared on our budget this year, the NIA was blessed with a 12.5%, $130 million increase over fiscal year 2013’s sequester-dictated funding. As the NIH as a whole received a 3.4% increase, NIA’s 2014 funding reflects extraordinary recognition from Congress. In fiscal year 2013 (October 2012 to September 2013), we saw our worst success rate ever for research project grant applications—R01s, R21s, R03s, etc. NIA’s success rate was noticeably below the NIH average success rate, which was also among the lowest ever for NIH as a whole. Read More
Posted on March 19, 2014 by Davide Guerrieri, Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellow, Neuroplasticity and Behavioral Unit, Laboratory of Neurosciences, Intramural Research Program.
Doing science, living abroad, and learning how to speak and think in a new language. Not so easy! But like many of you, I enjoy challenges. So, I took up all of these, all at once. I left Italy 3 years ago to start a postdoc here in Baltimore, Maryland, at the National Institute on Aging. The NIA is an energetic, international environment, as is its parent organization, the National Institutes of Health. Although I am sure many of you left your country to pursue your science career, as I did, every story is different. Here is mine. Read More
The application deadline is fast approaching for NIA’s prestigious summer training opportunity: the Butler-Williams Scholars Program. I hope that you’ve already applied, or have encouraged your mentees to do so. To help you understand a bit more about this program and what it offers, I interviewed NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard. Marie is a longtime advocate of this program, an intensive week-long training whirlwind to boost the careers of emerging scholars in aging research. Read More
While we are beginning to understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities through medical research, one area that needs attention is research on the health of older LGBT Americans. Efforts such as the recent NIA-supported Caring and Aging with Pride study, the first national, federally funded project examining LGBT aging and health, are providing us with the beginnings of a solid knowledge base—but we still have a long way to go. Read More
The Advisory Council of the National Institute on Aging is holding one of its thrice yearly meetings today. Did you know you can watch online? The next meeting is on May 21, 2014, from about 8am to 3pm EST. Please save the date! We invite you to tune in, so I hope you'll mark it on your calendar. How do I catch up on today's meeting? Read More