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The 2020 pilot funding cycle has closed.


2020 Pilot and Feasibility Projects – Request for Applications

Due Date: November 15 2020 @ 5 p.m. EST


Award Eligibility, Scope and Requirements

Timeline: Deadline, November 15, 2020; Notification of award, December 2020; Proposed start date, no later than March 1, 2021. Maximum total budget: $25,000 (including both direct and indirect costs); eligibility is limited to applicants from US-based institutions, but US citizenship/permanent residency is not required.

The NIA supported Research Network on Animal Models to Understand Social Dimensions of Aging will support 2-4 pilot and feasibility (P&F) projects in 2021 – 2022. The goal of the Pilot project program is to support the generation of key preliminary data for K- or R-type NIH grant applications, publications, and other scientific products. Proposed projects should be focused on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging (see scope of the research network here). Awardees will be also invited to participate in other Research Network meetings and activities.

Two type of P&F projects will be awarded: Type 1 Mentored Projects; Type 2 Independent Projects.


TYPE 1 MENTORED PROJECTS integrate research at the applicant’s home institution with training and mentorship from the Research Network leadership, linked to any of the three host institutions (Duke, UMN, UNC). Type 1 P&F projects allow researchers to receive training and support to implement specific aspects of their project. Importantly, the PI retains leadership of all aspects of the research project itself. In addition to technical support and mentorship, Type 1 projects benefit from access to the host institution’s core facilities. Examples of expertise and cores/data available for Type I awards include: expertise in rodent social behavior/stress models and aging biomarkers (UMN), expertise in nonhuman primate behavior and genomic analysis (Duke), and expertise in comparative population studies including humans (UNC). Host institutions also offer fee-for-service high-throughput sequencing facilities (Duke, UMN, UNC) and metabolism and cardiovascular phenotyping core facilities (UMN). Contact prospective hosts to discuss details.

Type 1 P&F awardees will also be able to compete for larger Stage 2 P&F awards to establish a fully independent project at the applicant’s institution. Stage 2 projects will be solicited from Type 1 awardees only and are designed to facilitate transitions to a fully independent research program that uses animal models to study the social dimensions of aging. The Stage 2 call for applications will be released in 2022-2023.

Post-docs, pre-tenure faculty, and early career research faculty are eligible for Type 1 awards. Applications from underrepresented minorities in biomedical, behavioral and social sciences research are strongly encouraged.

We strongly encourage Type I Project applicants to discuss mentorship and budget plans with a member of the Network leadership team ( prior to submitting a full application.


TYPE 2 INDEPENDENT PROJECTS are conventional non-mentored pilot projects that are entirely executed by the PI’s lab. Type 2 projects follow the same general guidelines as Type 1 but do not require new training or mentorship to complete and will be fully subcontracted to the PI’s institution following standard NIH guidelines.

All pre-tenure faculty or early career research faculty are eligible for Type 2 awards. Additionally, we will consider highly meritorious applications from established investigators with no prior record of funding in animal model work on the social dimensions of health/aging. Applications from underrepresented minorities in biomedical, behavioral and social sciences research are strongly encouraged.