National Institute on Aging (NIA)
The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number of early stage physician-scientists in Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD) research and improve patient care for veterans. To accomplish this goal, NIA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have created a two-part opportunity for early career VA physician-scientists to pair with both VA- and NIA-funded mentors in the AD/ADRD field . This will also facilitate the development of a sustainable process for collaboration and address key barriers or challenges that often hinder communication, sharing of resources, and increased coordination between the VA and NIA.
This opportunity is for VA-appointed physician-scientists who are early in their careers, defined as those who are no more than 5 years past their last clinical training (e.g., residency, internship, clinical fellowship) and no more than 10 years beyond receipt of their MD or DO.
NIA seeks to support research focused on one or more of the following areas:
- Alzheimer's disease: Includes AD diagnosis, treatment, etiology, and prevention. Mild cognitive impairment research is perceived by experts as AD prevention research and should be included. Research using an AD population should be looked at closely and will typically be included. Cognitive decline in aging is also relevant to this category.
- Related dementias: The National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease includes related dementias. These include frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Lewy body dementia, and vascular cognitive impairment/dementia.
- Related diseases: Other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease with dementia, are included when AD is also being studied and when common pathways are described. In addition, studies that focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a risk factor for AD/ADRD will also be considered. Other neurologic diseases, such as Huntington's disease, major depressive disorder, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Batten disease, schizophrenia, and AIDS dementia are not included unless also researching AD/ADRD.
- Caregiving: Studies on family caregivers of AD/ADRD patients, as well as Alzheimer's care in nursing homes, are included. Research on caregiving should be included and treated broadly, even if dementia specific.
- Basic research: Basic research on disease mechanisms, neuropathology, cognitive decline, memory loss, amyloid, tau, Lewy bodies, etc. is included when a relationship to AD/ADRD is stated.
Application and Submission Process
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and PA-18-591 must be followed, with the following additions:
- Applicants should first enlist the support of at least two mentors. The primary mentor should be an appropriately qualified, VA-employed investigator with an active VA Merit Award. The second mentor should be an investigator in the AD/ADRD field and have an active R01 or RF1 award from NIA with at least 3 years of remaining funding on the award. Scientists not funded by the VA or NIA may also be included as co-mentors.
- Once the mentoring team is in place, applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) to email@example.com by September 16, 2019 (Fall Cycle) or March 9, 2020 (Spring Cycle). The LOI instructions are provided on pages 20-22 of the VA RFAs: BX-19-030, CX-19-030, HX-19-030, or RX-19-030.
- Based on the letter of intent, NIA and the VA will invite promising applicants to apply for support to conduct research in the NIA-funded mentor’s laboratory. Further information on the application process will be provided at that time. In brief, the process involves two simultaneous applications:
- Application Due Date(s) are aligned with the VA receipt dates for funding in FY 2020 – November 6, 2019 and May 6, 2020, by 5:00 PM local time of the applicant organization.
- For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-AG-19-011” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.
- The process for Streamlined Submissions using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative.
TheIK2 award supported by the VA will provide up to $65,000 per year for clinician salary, travel expenses, and limited support for research supplies.
The NIA administrative supplement solicited by this Notice will support research expenses for conducting the study in the NIA mentor's laboratory(e.g. materials and supplies, support for a technician, post-doc, and/or consultant(s)). Funding can be requested for up to 5 years, with a maximum annual award of $185,000 in direct costs. It is anticipated that up to 10 awards will be funded. An annual progress report will be required.
Criteria and instructions for administrative supplements are outlined in PA-18-591 (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/pa-18-591.html).
Please direct all inquiries to:
Lisa A. Opanashuk, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)