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Seed Pilots for Aging Research Collaboration (SPARC): RCCN Pilot Grants to Promote Inter-NIA Center

This award program is sponsored by the NIA’s Research Centers Collaborative Network (RCCN). The RCCN’s goal is to bring together researchers from the 7 NIA Centers programs to foster the development of cross-center collaborations around issues important to the health and well-being of older adults.

The RCCN sponsors a series of workshops addressing specific problems of high salience to multiple NIA Center programs. These workshops feature the sharing of paradigms, conceptual models, and key insights from perspectives of the participating centers programs. Workshops include:

  • Promoting Healthy Aging Through Nutrition. July 20-21, 2023. Boston, MA.

  • mHealth and Digital Health Approaches to Research in Aging. November 1-2, 2022. Indianapolis, IN.

  • Aging, Race, and Health Disparities. June 28-29, 2022. Bethesda, MD.

  • Measuring Biologic Age. January 19-20, 2022. Virtual.

  • Inclusion of Older Adults in Clinical Research. February 23-24, 2021. Virtual.

  • Life Course Perspectives on Aging. November 3-4, 2020. Virtual.

  • Resilience and Reserve in Aging. November 12-13, 2019. Austin, TX.

  • Sex and Gender Differences in Aging. June 6-7, 2019. Marina del Rey, CA.

  • Achieving and Sustaining Behavior Change to Benefit Older Adults. December 6-7, 2018. Bethesda, MD.

After the workshops, publications are developed summarizing the proceedings and priority areas; past publications are available here.


This mechanism provides funding to catalyze enduring collaborations for at least two collaborative pilot, planning or meeting grants supporting interdisciplinary research in cross cutting theme areas per grant cycle. Each award will provide up to $65,000 in direct costs. The proposals must include investigators affiliated with at least two different NIA Centers Programs (AITCs, Shock, Roybal, Older American Independence Centers (Pepper), Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, Centers for Demography and Economics of Aging, and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers). Investigators not affiliated with these NIA programs may also be included. Applications may seek support to collect or analyze data, convene experts to explore aspects of the theme area in detail, or develop multi- or interdisciplinary conceptual models to motivate further cross-center work. There must be clear evidence that all investigators will contribute meaningfully to the intellectual design and conduct of the research.

Applicants may propose to use the award over the course of one or two years as justified by the proposed activity. The RCCN will support 20% in indirect costs on each award.






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