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Competition objectives

Apply for the AACSF Grant

Apply for the AACSF research grant by submitting your LOI through ProposalCentral.

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The Alzheimer's Association recognizes the need to support the training of clinician scientists in Alzheimer's and all other dementias. For the purpose of this program, a clinician scientist is defined as an individual already trained, licensed and practicing in a clinical field that includes patient contact (e.g., neurology, psychiatry, geriatrics, psychology) or patient-related diagnostic studies (e.g., neuropathology and radiology).

Applicants who are with within 10 years of receiving their M.D., D.O. or Ph.D. (or equivalent) and have licensure for clinical practice, including postdoctoral fellows through Assistant Professors, are eligible. Positions higher than Assistant Professor will not be considered.

The areas of research that the clinician scientist proposes for funding are not limited to patient-oriented, human subject research, but may also include translational research specifically designed to develop treatments or enhance diagnosis of neurological disease. These translational areas of research include epidemiologic or behavioral studies, clinical trials, studies of disease mechanisms, mapping disease features or spread the development of new technologies and health services and outcomes research. Disease related basic science studies not directly involving humans or human tissue are also encouraged if the primary goal is the development of therapies, diagnostic tests, or other tools to prevent or mitigate neurological diseases.

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.

The mechanism of the award is the individual research grant. The maximum allowable duration is three years (minimum two years).

Funding and award period

Each AACSF award is limited to $175,000. Component parts of the award include:

  • A total of $155,000 will be awarded for costs related to the proposed research for up to three years (minimum two years = $120,000) for direct (including travel) and indirect costs. Requests in any given year may not exceed $60,000 (direct and indirect costs). Indirect costs are capped at 10% of total direct costs and is inclusive of indirect costs for the implementing institution as well as any to subcontracts.
  • A total of $5,000 over a three-year period may be requested for travel purposes and is not to exceed $3,000 in any given year. If you request the full $5,000 towards just 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. Note: 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.
  • The remaining funds are two $10,000 research stipends ($10,000 to the applicant and $10,000 to the primary mentor), which are not guaranteed and are awarded only upon successful completion of the award. Successful completion of the award includes, but is not limited to, successfully achieving project aims and accomplishing all of the Fellowship benchmarks. These research stipends are to be applied to sustaining ongoing research in the Alzheimer’s field and will be paid to the applicant‘s and mentor‘s respective institutions at the time of release.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must commit up to an average of two protected days per week (40%) of effort toward their research efforts during each funding year.

Eligibility

Applicants must be clinicians (clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows through assistant professors; or equivalent positions) interested in an academic career who have:

  • Full-time positions at a recognized non- academic institution and;
  • Less than 10 years of research experience after receipt of their terminal degree and;
  • Licensure for clinical practice.

Ineligibility

Ineligibility criteria include:

  • Individuals who have a position above Assistant Professorship are not eligible.
  • Please refer to Section III: B. Eligibility & Ineligibility for additional ineligibility criteria, which are applicable to both Applicant/Fellow and the Mentor.

Deadlines and award dates

Letter of Intent (LOI) deadline: Oct. 8, 2021, 5 p.m. EST.

Each Fellowship LOI is evaluated with attention to:

  • Demonstrable innovation/novelty of the proposed project (especially in the context of the PI's recently funded work).
  • Alignment with the research priorities of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Impact of project on Alzheimer’s and all other dementia research.
  • Evidence of methodological rigor that address the research question(s) being proposed.

Letter of Intent notifications: Week of Oct. 25, 2021.

Note: Due to the high volume of submissions, specific feedback and reviewer comments are not provided at the LOI stage.

Application deadline: Nov. 19, 2021, 5 p.m. EST.

If invited to submit a full application, each Fellowship application is evaluated on:

  • Applicant’s ability and promise as a clinician scientist based on prior record of achievement and career plan, letters of reference and CV (30%).
  • Quality and emphasis of applicant and originality of the research plan (40%).
  • Significance of the question being studied, quality of the work plan and the impact-risk of the proposal (30%).
  • Resubmissions will have the opportunity to provide a response to prior review.

Award notifications: Prior to Feb. 15, 2022.

Mentoring plans and Fellowship benchmarks

Each Fellowship award must identify a primary mentor. The mentor should be experienced in conducting Alzheimer’s and dementia research and in mentoring junior investigators. The application must include a 2-3 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. Only one primary mentor is allowed; however, additional team members who might function as mentors can be listed as key personnel.

Note: 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.

Mentors can be 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. A successful plan will include specific details on the mentoring goals designed towards achievements both related to research and other professional development.

Additionally, a successful mentorship plan should include the following Fellowship Benchmarks, which are required to receive the research stipends, but should not be limited to only these.

Fellowship Benchmarks are as follows:

  • Attendance at an Association-sponsored networking event at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference (AAIC) REQUIRED.
  • Acceptance of an abstract at AAIC REQUIRED.
  • Mandatory documentation of hours spent on face-to-face mentoring REQUIRED.
  • Citation of specific exercises of mentorship such as supervision of manuscript writing and submission or grant writing and submission REQUIRED.
  • Reviewing grant applications. This is not limited to the Alzheimer’s Association review process, as reviewing for other funding organization, but supervised reviews are encouraged for those with little to no review experience. The Alzheimer’s Association staff will provide additional resources for those new to reviewing for the Association REQUIRED.
  • Documentation of specific instances of the facilitation of networking, including introductions to colleagues, inclusion in discussions at scientific meetings, etc... REQUIRED.
  • 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. REQUIRED.

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.

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 direct costs may be included as indirect costs; this is inclusive of indirect costs for the implementing institution as well as any to subcontracts.

Allowable costs 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 (requires prior approval).
  • Salary for the principal investigator, scientific (including postdoctoral fellows) and technical staff (including laboratory technicians and administrative support directly related to the funded grant).
  • Membership to scientific association.
  • Support for travel to scientific and professional meetings not to exceed $3,000 in any given year; additional support for travel expenses necessary to carry out research planned not to exceed $1,000 in any given year – this may include site visits. Total travel cost should not exceed $5,000 for the duration of the award and must include attendance to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Direct costs not allowed under this award

Direct costs not allowed include:

  • Computer hardware or standard software (e.g., Microsoft Office).
  • Construction or renovation costs.
  • Tuition.
  • Rent for laboratory/office space.
  • Expenses such as Data Network Recharges and Computing and communication device support services.
  • General liability insurances, such as GAEL.
  • Salary and/or compensation for Alzheimer’s Association Staff or current members of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Group (MSAG) and the International Research Grant Program (IRGP) Council. A complete list of MSAG and IRGP Council members can be found on our website under Grants.

Reporting requirements

Please see Section III, J: Reporting Requirements for additional reporting details. This award requires:

  • Annual scientific progress reports.
  • Annual Mentor evaluations (including tracking progress towards Fellowship benchmarks).
  • Annual financial reports.
  • Annual reports on recruitment & retention efforts (if applicable).

Note: The continuation of the grant over the awarded duration is contingent upon the timely receipt of all required reports.

Additional information

Due to the nature of this grant being awarded to the Fellow, in large part to their uniquely tailored mentoring plan towards achieving specific professional goals, it is expected that the Fellowship will transfer with the Fellow to their future institution. This will be strictly adhered to and only in extreme circumstances will an exception be considered.

Contact information

For any inquires or additional information, please contact a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Grants staff at grantsapp@alz.org.