2019 International Research Grant Program

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


Competition objectives

The Zenith Fellows award was initiated in 1991 to provide a vehicle for research support for donors with a substantial personal commitment to the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease research. The awards are made possible by the generosity of a group of individuals and organizations (Zenith Society) that have each committed $1 million to the Alzheimer's Association® for support of the program. 
The objective of the 2019 Zenith Fellows Awards competition is to provide major support for investigators who have:  

  • Contributed significantly to the field of Alzheimer’s disease research
  • Made significant contributions to other areas of science and are now beginning to focus more directly on problems related to Alzheimer‘s disease, and are likely to make substantial contributions in the future. 
The proposed research must be “on the cutting edge” of basic science or biomedical research and thus may not conform to current conventional scientific wisdom or may challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. The proposed research should address fundamental problems related to early detection, etiology, pathogenesis, treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer‘s disease. 
In addition to the two tier peer-review process, the Zenith Fellows Award includes an additional level of review that engages the Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Society to select final award recipients based on project topics in which they are most interested. Many of the Zenith Society members have family and friends affected by Alzheimer’s disease and have a deep commitment to advancing the research. 
The Alzheimer’s Association recognizes the need to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups in the research enterprise. Researchers from these groups are encouraged to apply. 

Funding and award period

We anticipate funding up to three Zenith Fellow Awards. Each award is limited to $450,000 (direct and indirect costs) for three years. Requests in any given year may not exceed $250,000 (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).


Only established independent investigators are eligible as evidenced by:
  1. Academic appointment
  2. Major, peer-reviewed, external multi-year grant support on which the applicant is the principal investigator (PI)
  3. Independent laboratory operation
  4. Quality and independence of publication record
Only applicants who have already contributed significantly to the field of Alzheimer‘s disease research or have the clear likelihood of making significant contributions will be seriously considered. Previous recipients of Zenith Awards, Medical and Scientific Advisory Group members and members of the Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors are ineligible to apply.


The Alzheimer's Association will not accept new grant 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, March 8, 2019. Letters of Intent will not be accepted after this date. No exceptions will be made. 
Applications must be received by 5 p.m. EST, April 29, 2019. 
The Alzheimer’s Association will lead a second-tier scientific and technical review with leading research experts, including past Zenith Fellow Awardees; this review will be conducted from May – June 2019. The second-level review will be conducted during June 2019. Funding will be awarded by November 30, 2019.

LOI review procedures 

All LOIs will be evaluated prior to invitation to submit a full application. Only LOIs that meet program specific guidelines will be invited to submit full applications. LOIs will also be reviewed by the Alzheimer’s Association and a select panel of experts with special attention to:
  • Demonstrable innovation/novelty of the proposed project (especially in the context of the PIs recently funded work)
  • Alignment with the research priorities of the Alzheimer’s Association
  • Impact of project on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia research 
  • Evidence of methodological rigor that addresses the research question(s) being proposed 
  • Past and potential future contributions of the investigator to advance Alzheimer’s and related dementia research
Applications will be reviewed with special attention to:
  • Significance of the question being studied
  • Applicant information
  • Quality of the work plan
  • Quality and adequacy of available resources and budget
  • Impact-risk of the proposal and how it will add to the field’s overall knowledge and advancement
Please note: Resubmissions will have the opportunity to provide a response to prior review.

Mechanism of award and reporting requirements 

The mechanism of award is the individual research grant. The maximum duration of award is three years — there is no program for competing continuation applications (3-year) funding as was the case in the early years of the Zenith program. Annual scientific progress and financial reports are required. Continuation of the grant over the awarded duration is contingent upon receipt of scientific progress and financial reports. 


A “budget summary” for the proposed research project is required and must be submitted with the application and within the allowable page limits. 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, $450,000 or $250,000 per year. You cannot request the award for one year (minimum 2 years – award cannot be for only one year).

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% 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 software if used strictly for data collection 
  • Salary for the principal investigator, scientific (including postdoctoral fellows) and technical staff (including laboratory technicians and modest administrative support)
  • Support for travel to scientific and professional meetings, not to exceed $1,000 per year 
Direct costs not allowed under this award include:
  • Computer hardware or standard software (e.g. Microsoft Office)
  • Construction or renovation costs
  • Tuition
  • Rent for laboratory/office space
  • Salary and/or compensation for Alzheimer’s Association staff or members of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Group (MSAG)

For more information: Contact or call 1.312.335.5747 or 1.312.335.5862.

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