Pilot Program Research Grant Program for the NIA



NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 3, February 9, 1996

PA NUMBER: PA-96-023

P.T. 34; K.W. 0710010, 0710030

National Institute on Aging


The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is seeking small grant (R03) applications to stimulate and facilitate the entry of promising new investigators into targeted, high priority areas of aging research. This Small Grant (R03) Program provides support for pilot research that is likely to lead to a subsequent individual research project grant (R01) or a First Independent Research Support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) award application and/or a significant advancement of aging research.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This program announcement, Pilot Project Research Grant Program for the NIA, is related to the priority areas of unintentional injuries, diabetes and chronic disabling conditions, and immunization and infectious diseases. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report: Stock No. 017-001-11474-0) or "Healthy People 2000" (Summary Report: Stock No. 017-001-11473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).


Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal government. Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators. Foreign organizations and institutions are not eligible. Participation in the program by investigators at minority institutions is strongly encouraged. Pilot project grants awarded through this Program Announcement may not be used to support thesis or dissertation research.

To be eligible for this award, the proposed Principal Investigator must, at a minimum, be an independent investigator at the beginning of her/his research career as defined by the eligibility requirements for a FIRST (R29) award. Established investigators proposing research unrelated to a currently funded research program are also eligible to apply for these grants.


Applicants may request up to $50,000 (direct costs) for one year through the small grant (R03) mechanism. However, the grants will be awarded under Expanded Authorities and are eligible for a single one-year no cost extension. These awards are not renewable. Before completion of the R03, investigators are encouraged to seek continuing support for research through a research project grant (R01) or FIRST (R29) award.

The award may not be used for salary support for the principal investigator, but may be used to support the costs of technicians or fellows to carry out the research.

Replacement of the Principal Investigator on this award is not permitted.


The Small Grant program is designed to support independent basic and clinical scientists who are interested in entering the area of aging research.

Targeted aims

For 1996, investigators may apply for a small grant to support research on one of the following topics relevant to aging research:

- Aging muscle: basic underlying mechanisms

- Molecular basis of cardiovascular aging

- Aging immunobiology: basic underlying mechanisms

- Animal models of aging

- Clinical studies focusing on a systems physiology (i.e., integrative) approach in defining age-associated changes in the human cardiovascular system

- Clinical studies of the physiologic/metabolic consequences of age-related changes in the mass and/or other properties of skeletal muscle

- Neural mechanisms of age-related changes in attention

- Aging protein: Protein structure changes with aging with special emphasis on the nervous system

- Mechanisms underlying changes in spatial and temporal processing in sensory systems of the aging brain

- Mechanisms underlying changes in sleep processes in older organisms

- Social Cognition and Aging

- Effect of immigrant flow on population aging

- Biodemography of Aging

- Health, Work and Retirement

Applications for support in areas other than those stated will be returned to the proposed Principal Investigator without review. The National Institute on Aging will modify the selected topic areas annually by reissuing the program announcement.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects of the purpose of the research. This new policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43) and supersedes and strengthens the previous policies (Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations) which have been in effect since 1990. The new policy contains some provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies. All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research", which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and reprinted in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program staff listed under INQUIRIES. Program staff may also provide additional relevant information concerning the policy.


The submission, review, and award schedule for the Small Grant Program for 1996 is:

Application Receipt Dates:          03/12/96   07/12/96    11/12/96
Institute Committee Review:         Jun-Jul    Oct-Nov     Feb-Mar
Earliest funding:                   Sept        Jan         May

Only one Small Grant application may be submitted by a principal investigator per receipt date. Applicants may not submit R01 or R29 applications on the same topic concurrent (to be considered at the same review cycle) with the submission of a Small Grant application.

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) and prepared according to the directions in the application packet, with the exceptions noted below. Applications kits are available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Grants Information Office, Office of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email: girg@drgpo.drg.nih.gov. On the face page of the application: Item 2 Type "Pilot Project Research Grant Program for the NIA". Check the "YES" box.

Sections 1-4: Do not exceed a total of ten pages for the following sections: specific aims, background and significance, progress report/preliminary studies, and experimental design and methods. Tables and figures are included in the ten page limitation. Applications that exceed the page limitation or PHS requirements for type size and margins (Refer to PHS 398 application for details) will be returned to the investigator. The ten page limitation does not include Sections 5-9 (Human Subjects, Consortia, Literature cited). Appendix materials are not allowed.

Submit a signed, original of the application, including the checklist, and three exact photocopies in one package to:

6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for courier/overnight service)

In addition, to expedite the review of the application, submit two additional exact photocopies of the application directly to

Chief, Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building Suite 2C212, MSC 9205
7201 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-9205

In order not to delay review, it is important that applicants comply with this request.


A review committee of the NIA will evaluate each Small Grant application in accordance with the usual NIH peer review procedures and criteria. Applications will be evaluated with respect to the following criteria:

- Importance of the area to aging research

- Feasibility of the proposed exploratory research

- Likelihood of the proposed pilot project leading to the development of an R01/R29 grant application, or significant advancement of aging research.

- Adequacy of approach and scientific originality and significance

- "High risk" with likelihood for "high gain"

- Appropriateness of the proposed budget and timetable in relation to the scope of the proposed research.

- Qualifications and research experience of the principal investigator.

- Availability of resources necessary for the research, including any needed to supplement the budget.

- The adequacy of the proposed means for protecting against or minimizing potential adverse effects upon humans, animals, or the environment.

- Adequacy of adherence to guidelines for including gender and minority representation in any study population.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

- quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review;
- availability of funds;
- program priority.


Inquiries are encouraged. The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Biology of Aging Program
Dr. David B. Finkelstein
Telephone: (301) 496-6402
FAX: (301) 402-0010
Email: BAPquery@gw.nia.nih.gov

Behavioral and Social Research
Dr. Jared Jobe
Telephone: (301) 496-3137
FAX: (301) 402-0051
Email: BSRquery@gw.nia.nih.gov

Geriatrics Program
Dr. Andre Premen
Telephone: (301) 496-6761
FAX: (301) 402-1784
Email: GPquery@gw.nia.nih.gov

Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program
Dr. Judy Finkelstein
Telephone: (301) 496-9350
FAX: (301) 496-1494
Email: NNAquery@gw.nia.nih.gov

The address and general EMail address for all the above is:
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 2C212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD 20892
Email: NIAPILOT@gw.nia.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Robert Pike
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 2N212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-1472
FAX: (301) 402-3672
Email: pikeR@gw.nia.nih.gov


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 93.366. Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410), as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74. This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.