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Pilot Awards

2020 Pilot Project

The “Animal Models for the Social Dimensions of Health and Aging Research Network,” an NIH-supported High Priority Research Network) is pleased to announce the 2020 call for Pilots and Feasibility Projects! These projects support research on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging. They are appropriate for the generation of key preliminary data important for demonstrating the potential of new research in this area, especially directions with strong potential for future independent funding. 

We anticipate supporting 2 - 4 projects with start dates in 2021 and a maximum budget of $25,000 (total costs). Project proposals should be submitted through the network website, no later than November 15, 2020. Applicants from US-based institutions are eligible to apply, and we strongly encourage applications from junior scientists and underrepresented minorities in biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences research.

We were excited to be able to support four outstanding McEwen Fellows and three travel fellowship recipients earlier this year, and look forward to this opportunity to provide larger pilot grant funding to our growing research community. For more information, register for periodic updates at our website or follow us on Twitter @animalsocaging.

NIA COVID-19 Supplement Recipients

Principal Investigators: Sarah Berry, MD, MPH, Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew Senior Life; Vince Mor, PhD, Brown University School of Public Health

Drs. Berry and Mor were awarded a supplement to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program. This initiative will leverage the foundation of the IMPACT Collaboratory to establish IMPACT-COVID-19 (IMPACT-C), a collaborative dedicated to developing and evaluating SARS-CoV-2 testing strategies in highly vulnerable residents and health care workers of skilled nursing facilities. IMPACT-C will assemble the organizational, administrative, and expertise components necessary to swiftly conduct a rigorous vaccine trial, when available.

Principal Investigator: Ellen McCreedy, PhD, MPH, Brown University School of Public Health

Dr. McCreedy and her team will conduct a cluster randomized embedded pragmatic clinical trial (ePCT) by leveraging electronic health records of Bluestone Physician Services to test the effectiveness of a COVID-specific, advance care planning (ACP) intervention on documentation of care preferences among assisted living community (ALC) residents with AD/ADRD from 150 ALCs in 3 states.

Principal Investigator: Lewis Lipsitz, MD, Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife

Dr. Lipsitz and his team will evaluate the efficacy of a Massachusetts state-funded strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among older adults and their care providers within Massachusetts NHs using multiple data sources. Efficacy will be measured over the 2-month intervention period among all residents in nursing homes (NHs) across Massachusetts compared to those in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Principal Investigator: Joshua Chodosh, MD, MSHS, NYU Langone Health

Dr. Chodosh and his team will design and pilot test an intervention that leverages the COVID-19 antibody and PCR status of residents and staff to inform staff-residents care assignments to minimize COVID-19 transmission rates. The team will conduct the study in two New York City facilities with high minority and AD/ADRD representation and compare intervention units using this strategy with those that do not.

2020 IMPACT Career Development Award Recipients

Wake Forest School of Medicine

Use of a dementia-specific portal-based tool for advance care planning engagement

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Leveraging mHealth to reduce avoidable utilization by people with dementia in day centers

About the NIA IMPACT Career Development Award Program

NIA IMPACT Collaboratory funds two to three career development awards annually. These career development awards will support the development of early-stage MD, PhD, or equivalent researchers who seek careers conducting ePCTs for people living with AD/ADRD and their care partners. The IMPACT Collaboratory prioritizes applications that address dementia care for people of all backgrounds and promote health equity.

Conducting ePCTs in AD/ADRD within healthcare systems requires unique research skills, yet the field is relatively nascent. The number of investigators capable of rigorously designing and executing ePCTs in partnership with healthcare systems and other key stakeholders remains limited, and those that have intersecting expertise in AD/ADRD populations are even fewer. Thus, the career development award advances the IMPACT Collaboratory’s mission to build the nation’s capacity to conduct impactful ePCTs in AD/ADRD by training a workforce of investigators prepared to carry on this work well into the future.


Open Positions 

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University invites applications for two faculty positions in Quantitative Methods in Behavioral Data Science. One position will be at the rank of assistant professor, and one will be open-rank. We seek candidates who are dedicated to our research mission and passionate about teaching in a world-class institution. 

We are especially interested in candidates developing data science methods to understand developmental and change processes; to inform substantive theories; to support causal inferences; or to improve the design and implementation of intervention or data collection. We welcome applications from individuals who are developing innovative methods and models for understanding and predicting longitudinal processes across multiple systems (e.g., behavior, physiology), multiple levels of analysis (e.g., individuals, families, institutions), and/or multiple timescales (e.g., minutes, days, years), such as latent variable modeling, network and graph theoretic models, dynamic or dynamical systems models, machine learning, categorical data analysis, item response theory, panel methods for constructing counterfactuals, or simulation-based approaches.

The Population and Social Processes Branch (PSP) is recruiting a dynamic and experienced economist/health services researcher to manage and develop a portfolio of innovative grant-supported research and research training in health systems topics in aging and health. This portfolio will focus on connections between health systems and healthy aging, with emphases on the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as long-term care. The portfolio features research utilizing large data sets, quasi-experimental techniques as well as pragmatic trails and field experiments. Read a full description on our website. Contact PSP Branch Chief John Phillips ( with any questions.


  • November 2: Melissa Gerald and Elena Fazio are speaking at a pre-conference webinar hosted by the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMARs) on Access to Care for Diverse Communities with Cognitive Impairments on November 2. An agenda is on the RCMAR coordinating center website

  • November 5: Lisa Onken is presenting during a GSA session titled Building National Capacity for Dementia Caregiving Research: The NIA Edward R. Roybal Centers on November 5 at 3:45 p.m.


Funding Opportunities 

BSR encourages applications that focus on behavioral and social research questions related to Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD). If you plan to submit an over-the-cap application (greater than $500,000 in direct costs in any year), please contact a BSR Program Official at least six weeks before you plan to submit your application. They will talk with you about the process and required information (e.g., proposed aims, estimated direct and total costs in each award year). Over-the-cap applications require prior approval from NIA before they can be accepted for submission. BSR has a strong and growing portfolio in many areas of AD/ADRD research, including cognitive and dementia epidemiology, behavioral and social pathways, early psychological changes, AD/ADRD prevention, dementia care, caregiver research, and how health disparities contribute to or result from AD/ADRD. Please visit our website for more information on the types of AD/ADRD research typically funded by NIA/BSR.

Recent Funding Opportunities: Notices of Special Interest in AD/ADRD

Many BSR-funded Centers and Research Networks solicit pilot project applications. Current opportunities include the Animal Models for Social Dimensions of Health and Aging Research Network, the Roybal Centers for Translational Research, and the IMPACT Collaboratory. If your BSR-funded Center or Network would like us to share your call for pilot proposals in this listserv, please contact Jessica Boten.

Roybal Coordinating Center to Accelerate Translational Aging Research

130 East 59th Street, New York, NY