Pilot Grant Funding for Studies on Alzheimer's Disease

The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is a National Institute on Aging-funded Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC). As an ADC, our responsibility is to pursue research to further our understanding of aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias. The ADC is soliciting pilot grant applications focused on dynamic basic and clinical science studies of aging, AD, and related dementias. Each of the awards is intended to provide seed funding that will facilitate the initial testing of novel hypotheses that lead to national-level funding of an expanded research plan based on the pilot work.

The successful applicant may be in any scientific discipline within the UK system. Applicants should target their research proposal toward increasing understanding of the mechanisms underlying Aging and/or AD and/or the clinical management of, or risks for, AD and associated dementias.

The relevant dates and deadlines for this grant application are as stated below.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed according to the following schedule

  • Call for Applications: January 21, 2020
  • Full Application Receipt Deadline: March 6, 2020 by midnight (end of 3/6/2020)
  • Funding Decision: April 1, 2020
  • Funding Starts: July 1, 2020

Proposals with a focus on clinical/translational research relevant to AD and related dementias are strongly encouraged and of particular interest. Areas of special interest include studies on risk factors, prevention, preclinical AD, therapeutics, caregiving, minority populations, cognitive processes, and neuroimaging.

In addition, researchers are encouraged where possible to incorporate and communicate before submission with investigators in the ADC’s existing Cores -- Clinical [Dr Gregory Jicha], Neuropathology [Dr Peter Nelson], Data Management & Statistics [Dr Richard Kryscio], Outreach and Recruitment [Dr Frederick Schmitt], Biomarkers [Dr Donna Wilcock], and Research Education Component [Dr Linda Van Eldik]) -- in order to strengthen their research plan.

For reference, the ADC website is found here: http://www.centeronaging.uky.edu

The applicant must clarify how the pilot funding will potentially lead to major support to sustain the research efforts after the end of the one-year grant. We plan to support up to two pilot research projects on Aging or AD through the ADC grant. The pilot grants are nonrenewable awards for a maximum of one year of support (up to $25,000).

The following are examples of eligibility for pilot support:

  1. A study proposed by an established investigator with experience in areas other than AD research who wants to work in the AD research field.
  2. A study by an established investigator in AD who wants to try a new hypothesis, method, or approach that is not an extension of ongoing research.
  3. A study proposed by a new investigator with an interest in Aging or AD research.

As noted above, the primary purpose of these pilot grants is to allow investigators to obtain preliminary data for the support of a future submission for extramural research funding. Proposals for pilot studies should present a testable hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail the procedures to be followed, and discuss how the data will be analyzed. Pilot study support is not intended for extensive research studies by established investigators, nor may funds be used to support or supplement ongoing research of an investigator.

Proposals are encouraged to use ADC resources, including collaborative (not necessarily funded) with ADC experts. The ADC is presently longitudinally following over 200 patients with cognitive impairment and an additional 500 normal control subjects. These subjects are available to participate in research studies. The ADC maintains a tissue bank of plasma, serum, buffy coat, and brain specimens (formalin-fixed and frozen from deceased subjects; most of the brain specimens have short (<4 hours) postmortem intervals).

Funding Period and Program Requirements: the pilot funding period will begin July 1, 2020 and continue for 12 months.

Investigators funded through this program are asked to participate in the ADC’s seminars and symposia. In addition, if the results are promising, recipients will be expected to present their research at scientific meetings, and publish their findings in scholarly journals, with citation to the ADC pilot grant support (NIH P30 AG028383).

Eligibility: Faculty applicants must have a primary faculty appointment at UK. As discussed, we are especially interested in using the pilot mechanism to encourage junior (or new to UK) faculty to pursue Aging and AD research and more senior faculty to turn their well-developed expertise toward Aging and AD. We also encourage applications from established researchers who wish to pursue a new and
untested but promising research hypothesis.

Postdoctoral scholars and fellows are also eligible to apply for funding but must include a brief one paragraph training plan in their application as well as a letter of support from their primary mentor(s).

Application Format:

  • A cover page is requested that provides the Title of the proposal, PI name, Affiliation, Campus Address, Email, Phone #.
  • Concisely describe proposed projects in NO MORE THAN 7 (seven) pages (single-spaced using no less than 11 point Arial font and 1/2” margins). This includes: Specific Aims, Significance, Preliminary Work (if available), Background and Experimental Design (including figures; no appendix is allowed).
  • The application must also include the following sections that are NOT included in the 7-page limitation: Human and Animal Subject Welfare Information and Literature Cited. Application for support of research involving human subjects must carefully consider a study design with gender and/or minority representation appropriate to the scientific objectives of the research.
  • Biographical Sketch with Other Support; for the 12-month Budget Period with Justification.
  • The budget: total direct costs may not exceed $25,000, which should include appropriate effort including for the PI. Follow standard NIH guidelines with specific differences (see below).

For pilot grants funded by the Center on Aging the following budget guidelines are in effect

  1. Please keep the budget simple and scientific with % effort for all involved individuals
  2. PI effort must be stated and budgeted – no cost sharing is allowed
  3. Every individual listed in the budget must show effort and budgeted – no cost sharing allowed
  4. Funding for equipment or travel are not allowed
  5. Graduate student funding is not allowed
  6. Funding for technicians and postdoctoral fellows is allowed and strongly encouraged
  7. Funding for office supplies and external data processing is not allowed
  8. Funding for general laboratory supplies is allowed

No eIAF is required for this submission. No check list page is required for this submission.

If an application is approved for funding, the award will not be activated until UK oversight board
approvals have been provided (e.g., IRB, IACUC, CCTS). All applications must be approved by the
appropriate university officials, but are not routed through OSPA.

Any application that does not conform to the above format will be returned to the investigator without


peter.nelson@uky.edu AND/OR michael.murphy@uky.edu
Note the application receipt deadline; no late applications will be accepted.

Application Review: Applications will be reviewed for scientific merit, programmatic relevance, use of
ADC resources (expertise and counsel of ADC personnel is encouraged but not required) and
potential for future funding, by a panel of UK and external faculty (if needed) with expertise in the fields
covered in the applications. Summaries of the reviews will be provided to the applicant.

Questions: Any questions regarding this announcement should be addressed to Drs. Nelson and
Murphy at the above emails. Questions concerning integration of the proposal with ADC resources can
also be addressed to these ADC faculty.