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NIA Small Business Research Priorities

Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, NIA seeks research proposals to address the topics and areas of interest below.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), AD-Related Dementias (ADRD), and Age-Related Change in Brain Function

Research and development of novel interventions to ameliorate AD/ADRD; improve AD/ADRD care; or further the understanding of the etiology of AD/ADRD, neurodegeneration, brain connectivity, neuroplasticity, or brain­–behavior relationships. Includes:

  • Drug and non-drug interventions for age-related cognitive decline, delirium, sleep disorders, or other central nervous system dysfunctions, including dysfunctions of the motor, emotional, sensory, and neuroimmune systems.
  • Novel biomarkers of neural stem cell functions and new technologies or imaging devices that improve or study brain connectivity; metabolism; sleep; or cognitive, motor, emotional, or sensory activity.

Aging in Place

Research and development of social, behavioral, and environmental interventions that promote independence and aging in place by addressing the unique needs of older adults, their healthcare providers, and caregivers. Includes:

  • Prosthetics, assistive devices and robotics, digital technologies and software, and technology to mitigate age-related physical and behavioral health challenges or to improve healthcare delivery, care coordination, and disease management.

Age-Related Diseases and Conditions

Research and development of new diagnostic tools and methods, biomarkers, therapeutics, imaging devices, and technologies to monitor, diagnose, predict, prevent, treat, and further the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of aging or age-related diseases and conditions.

Research Tools

Development and validation of innovative tools, resources, or methodologies that promote the efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality collection, analysis, or interpretation of aging-related quantitative or qualitative data. Includes:

  • Bioinformatics tools; screening platforms; surveying, sampling, and behavioral/behavioral economics methods; and clinical instruments to enhance the study of aging, cellular resiliencies, and aging-related diseases.

Special Emphasis Areas of Interest

Areas of particular interest related to aging biology, aging-related diseases and conditions, behavioral health, and AD/ADRD include:

  • Companion diagnostics and other forms of personalized medicine.
  • Bioinformatics, public health informatics, or data science technologies/methods (e.g., machine learning, artificial intelligence) to better understand and predict health outcomes.
  • Novel cell and gene therapies, as well as other novel therapeutic approaches to AD/ADRD.
  • Biomarkers and diagnostic tools for the early detection of disease.
  • Prevention and therapeutics that directly target mechanisms related to aging biology.
  • Assistive technology, devices, and mobile applications for older adults and caregivers.
  • Tools, technologies, and analytic methods to address health disparities among older adults.

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