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2020 International Research Grant Program

Learn more information from our complete International Research Grant Program Announcement January 2020 Program (August 2019 – February 2020).

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Competition objectives

The Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship Award is up to three years (minimum two years) intended to support exceptional researchers who are engaged in their post-graduate work (i.e., postdoctoral fellows) and before they have their first independent faculty positions (i.e., Assistant Professor) and working in diverse areas of research, including basic, translational, clinical, functional and social-behavioral research.
 
Please note: Individuals applying to the program will be accepted from postdoctoral fellows with full-time positions at their respective institution who have less than 10 years of research experience after receipt of their doctorate or other terminal degree. Individuals who have a position of an Assistant Professorship or above are not eligible.
 
Investigators doing clinically-focused research without clinical practice are encouraged to apply to the AARF program. The Alzheimer’s Association feels strongly that the mentoring and involvement of researchers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives is essential to engaging cutting-edge ideas and thinking in addressing scientific gaps for Alzheimer’s and all dementias.


Funding and award period

Each Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship award is limited to $175,000. A total of $155,000 will be awarded for costs related to the proposed research for up to three years (minimum two years) for direct and indirect costs. Requests in any given year may not exceed $60,000 (direct and indirect costs). Indirect costs are capped at 10 percent (rent for laboratory/office space is expected to be covered by indirect costs paid to the institution). The Principal Investigator must commit to a 50 percent effort toward the proposed project each funding year.
 
The remaining funds, $10,000 to the applicant and $10,000 to the primary mentor, will be awarded upon successful completion of the three-year (minimum two years) program. These additional funds are to be applied to sustaining ongoing research in the Alzheimer’s field and will be awarded through the applicant‘s and mentor‘s institutions. Successful completion of the program includes, but is not limited to, reaching all of the demonstrable benchmarks listed.
 
Please note: A total of $5,000 over a three-year period may be requested for travel purposes and is not to exceed $3,000 per year. A portion must be allocated to support registration and travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), as AAIC attendance is a condition of the award. If you request the full $5,000 for two years of travel and are requesting a three-year award, you will not be able to request travel funds for one of those years.
 

Application

The mentor should be experienced in conducting Alzheimer’s and dementia research and in mentoring junior investigators. The application must include a two/three-page statement from the selected mentor that includes information on his/her research qualifications, experience as a research supervisor and commitment to the applicant. This statement will be a significant part of the application review. The application must also include information to describe the mentor's research support relevant to the applicant‘s research plan and the nature and extent of supervision and training that he/she will provide during the period of the award. The primary mentor must agree to provide annual evaluations of the applicant’s progress for the duration of the award, as required for the yearly progress report. Only one primary mentor can be included. Additional team members who might function as mentors can be listed as key personnel.
 
The full grant application for the AARF, AARF-D, AACSF and AACSF-D programs consists of the following:

(Templates and instructions are located under WorkPlan and Other Attachments.)
 
  1. Statement of Mentorship – 2-3 pages
Written by the mentor to provide additional information on their commitment and perspective regarding the individual’s training.
 
  • The mentor should be experienced in conducting Alzheimer’s and all dementia research and in mentoring junior investigators.
  • The mentor should include information on his/her research qualifications and experience as a research supervisor, commitment to the applicant (this statement will be a significant part of the application review). 
  • The mentor should provide information on the training, resources and opportunities for the applicant for the duration of the fellowship award; this could include reference to the applicant's scientific goals and milestones to achieving those goals. 
  1. Statement of Commitment – 3 pages 
Written by the applicant to highlight their interest in Alzheimer’s and all dementia research).
 
  • Applicant should provide context regarding their scientific goals, their training plan and objectives for achieving those goals – in the context of the fellowship award and beyond, as applicable.
  • Information to describe the mentor’s research support relevant to the applicant’s research plan and the nature and extent of supervision and training that he/she will provide during the period of the award.
  • The primary mentor must agree to provide annual evaluations of the applicant’s progress for the duration of the award, as required for the yearly progress report.
  1. Area of Research – 3 pages 
Written by the mentor and applicant; summary of the specific area of research and project that the applicant is pursuing.
 
  • Area of Research section should include the following:
    • Specific hypothesis
    • List of the specific aims, objectives that will be used to examine the hypothesis
    • Description of the methods/ approaches/ techniques to be used in each aim
    • Discussion of possible problems and how they will be managed
    • Alternative approaches that might be tried if the initial approaches do not work
  • The experimental design and methods, technical procedures, instruments, characteristics of human subjects and animal populations, recruitment and retention plans, model systems, data management, quality control and analytic procedures are to be discussed as appropriate to the proposed investigation. Preliminary data/results that support the hypotheses or research strategies chosen should be discussed in this section.
  • A brief justification of the experimental design selected should be included, in addition to the alternative strategies considered during the development of the project plans. Brief justifications or arguments supporting the choices of instruments, methods or models chosen will be helpful to reviewers. Outline the plans for data management, quality control and analysis.
  • Mention alternative strategies where appropriate. If relevant to the project and nature of the research work, discuss plans for sharing data, samples or resources with other investigators. Describe any significant collaborations that are beyond the budget of this proposal and have not been previously described.
  1. Available Resources & Budget Justification – 2 pages 

Provide information about the resources that:

  • Are available and necessary to support the proposed project
  • Can be accessed for the duration of the project without additional funds
(Budget and expenses must be reported in U.S. dollars.) 

List and describe facilities and space, equipment, animals and/or human subject or clinical populations, and any other relevant physical or human resources. Identify all new resources that the proposed project will require. Include a brief justification and rationale for the individual line items in the proposed online budget that you are requesting funding. 

A total of $5,000 over a two/three-year period not to exceed $3,000 per year (if you request the full $5,000 for two years of travel and are requesting a three-year award, you will not be able to request travel funds for one of those years) must be allocated to support registration and travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award.
 
  1. Plan for Data Sharing – 1 page
  1. Biosketch – 4 pages each
A biosketch should be included for both the applicant and mentor.
 
  1. Letters of Reference
Limited to three letters and no more than three pages each. A letter of reference from the mentor is not necessary as they are submitting a Statement of Mentorship.
 
  1. Provide a W9 signed and dated by the Signing Official for U.S. entities. For non-U.S. entities, provide a W8 signed and dated by the Signing Official.
The signing official should be someone in your Grants and Contracts office or Office of Sponsored Research/Programs.
 
  1. Resubmission – 1 page
All resubmissions have the opportunity, if they wish, to provide a one-page summary addressing comments raised by reviewers in a prior review cycle(s).
 
Mentoring selections may include early-career researchers and/or mid-career scientists who choose to shift into Alzheimer’s and all dementia research. The applicant and proposed mentor must specify a mechanism for ensuring effective mentoring. The application should contain a plan for and an evaluation strategy of the mentoring process for enhancing diversity in the professional research workforce. Specific benchmarks are outlined below and considered by the Alzheimer‘s Association as critical for the development of early-career investigators. A successful mentorship plan should include some of these benchmarks but should not be limited to these alone.
 

Required benchmarks

  • Attendance at an Association-sponsored event for new investigators at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference (AAIC)
  • Acceptance of an abstract at AAIC
  • Mandatory documentation of hours spent on face-to-face mentoring
  • Citation of specific exercises of mentorship such as supervision of manuscript writing and submission or grant writing and submission
  • Specific instances of the facilitation of networking, introductions to colleagues and/or inclusion in discussions at scientific meetings
  • Submission of funding proposal(s) to other funding agencies, including Alzheimer’s Association, National Institutes of Health or National Science Foundation, Medical Research Council (UK), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, etc.

Suggested benchmark (not required):

  • Submission of an application to the National Institute on Aging’s Butler-Williams Scholars Program (formerly the Summer Institute on Aging Research) or submission to another training program

Eligibility

Please note: Individuals applying to the AARF program will be accepted from postdoctoral fellows with full-time positions at their respective institution who have less than 10 years of research experience after receipt of their terminal degree. Individuals who have a position of an Assistant Professorship or above are not eligible.

For individuals who are at non-academic institutions, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association at grantsapp@alz.org to verify your eligibility. 
 

Ineligibility

Although it is unlikely that individuals will have current Alzheimer's Association awards, applications from currently funded investigators who are delinquent in submitting required reports and other deliverables on active grants. Investigators that have previous Alzheimer’s Association awards closed as "Incomplete" are not eligible to apply without exception. This policy will be strictly adhered to with no exceptions.
 

Deadlines and award dates

Letters of Intent must be received by 5 p.m. EST, September 30, 2019. Letters of Intent will not be accepted after this date. No exceptions will be made. Hard copies or emails will not be accepted.

New requirement: All applicants must include an ORCID ID. It is a required field. You will not be able to submit your LOI without this information.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. EST, November 20, 2019.
 
Scientific and technical review will be conducted from November 2019 – January 2020. The Alzheimer’s Association will lead a second-tier review with leading research experts to evaluate each program during January 2020. Funding will be awarded by February 15, 2020.

Create and submit your LOI online at http://proposalcentral.com.
 
Applications will be reviewed with special attention to:
 
  • Quality and nature of the training to be provided and the institutional, departmental, and mentor-specific training environment, this includes available resources to support the applicant in their training (30 percent)
  • Quality and emphasis of applicant and originality of the research plan (40 percent)
  • Significance of the question being studied, quality of the work plan and the impact-risk of the proposal (30 percent) 
Please note: Resubmissions will have the opportunity to provide a response to prior review.
 

Mechanism of award, reporting requirements and allowable costs

The mechanism of the award is an individual research grant; this award is made to the individual and managed by their institution. Significant emphasis will be on the mentor and letters of reference provided in the application. The mentor is expected to contribute a statement regarding commitment to the applicant. The maximum allowable duration is three years (minimum two years). Please note that, due to the nature of this grant being awarded to a fellow, only in extreme circumstances will a transfer of PI be allowed; it is expected that the fellow will transfer their funding to their future institution. Annual scientific progress and financial reports are required from both the applicant and the mentor throughout the award period.
 
Continuation of the grant over the awarded duration is contingent upon the timely receipt of scientific progress and financial reports as well as a mentor’s report outlining progress toward meeting required benchmarks. 
 

Budget

A “budget summary” for the proposed research project is required and must be submitted with the application and within the allowable two-page limit. However, if the application is to be awarded, a more detailed budget will be required and must be approved before the disbursement of funds. Your budget must not exceed the maximum amount of the award, $155,000 ($150,000 for direct research and $5,000 for travel) and may not exceed $60,000 (direct and indirect costs) in a given year.

A total of $5,000 over a three-year period not to exceed $3,000 per year must be allocated to support registration and travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award. Note: If you request the full $5,000 for two years of travel and are requesting a three-year award, you will not be able to request travel funds for one of those years.

Indirect costs are capped at no more than 10 percent. The remaining funds, $10,000 to the applicant and $10,000 to the primary mentor, will be awarded upon successful completion of the three-year (minimum two years – an award cannot be for only one year) program and should not be included in your overall budget.

These research stipends are paid to the institution(s) following successful completion of the grant and must go toward continued research endeavors. 
 

Allowable costs under this award

It is required that most of the funds awarded under this program be used for direct research support. No more than 10 percent of the total award may be included as indirect costs.

Allowable costs under this award include:
 
  • Purchase and care of laboratory animals
  • Small pieces of laboratory equipment and laboratory supplies (purchases over $10,000 require prior approval, even if included in the project proposal budget)
  • Computer equipment if used strictly for data collection (requires prior approval)
  • Travel (up to $5,000 max over two/three-year award to travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award)
  • Salary for the principal investigator, scientific (including postdoctoral fellows) and technical staff (including laboratory technicians and administrative support related directly to the funded project) 
Direct costs not allowed under this award include:
 
  • Tuition
  • Computer hardware or software for investigators
  • Rent for laboratory/office space (should be included in the indirect costs)
  • Construction or renovation costs
  • Facilities fee
  • Salary and/or compensation for Alzheimer’s Association staff or members of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Group (MSAG) and the International Research Grant Program (IRGP) Council

For more information: Contact grantsapp@alz.org.

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