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2020 International Research Grant Program

Learn more information from our complete International Research Grant Program Announcement January 2020 Program (August 2019 – February 2020).

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Competition objectives

The Alzheimer’s Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship to Promote Diversity is up to three years (minimum two years) and is intended to support exceptional clinician scientists who are currently underrepresented at academic institutions in clinical research training in Alzheimer's and all dementias. Applicants who hold an M.D. or D.O. degree or applicants with a Ph.D. who have licensure for clinical practice are eligible. For the purpose of this fellowship, clinical research is defined as patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects, or translational research specifically designed to develop treatments or enhance diagnosis of neurological disease. These areas of research include epidemiologic or behavioral studies, clinical trials, studies of disease mechanisms, the development of new technologies, and health services and outcomes research. Disease-related 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 recognizes the need to increase the number of underrepresented clinicians participating in clinical research. The Association anticipates that, by providing this funding opportunity, the number of underrepresented physicians entering and remaining in clinical careers in Alzheimer’s disease and all dementias will increase.

Please note: Individuals applying to the program will be accepted from individuals with full-time positions at their respective institution who are within 10 years of receiving their M.D., D.O. or Ph.D. (or equivalent), including postdoctoral fellows through Assistant Professors. Positions higher than Assistant Professor will not be considered.

Funding and award period

Each Alzheimer’s Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship to Promote Diversity award is limited to $175,000. A total of $155,000 will be awarded for costs related to the proposed research for up to three years (minimum two years) for direct and indirect costs. Requests in any given year may not exceed $60,000 (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). The Principal Investigator must commit up to an average of two protected days per week (40 percent) effort toward their research efforts during each funding year.

Please note: Applicant’s additional funding will be considered. Please include all funding applicant has received.

The remaining funds, $10,000 to the applicant and $10,000 to the primary mentor, will be awarded upon successful completion of the three-year (minimum two years) program. These additional funds are to be applied to sustaining ongoing research in the Alzheimer’s field and will be awarded through the applicant's and mentor's institutions. Successful completion of the program includes, but is not limited to, reaching all of the demonstrable benchmarks listed.

Please note: A total of $5,000 over a three-year period may be requested for travel purposes and is not to exceed $3,000 per year. 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. If you request the full $5,000 for 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.

Eligibility

Applicant must be a clinician who is interested in an academic career in research and has completed residency for an M.D. or D.O. (i.e., any degree that allows the applicant to achieve licensure to practice medicine) or a post-doctoral fellowship (Ph.D.) in a clinical practice field or both within the past five years.

Please note: Individuals applying to the program will be accepted from individuals with full-time positions at their respective institution who are within 10 years of receiving their M.D., D.O. or Ph.D. (or equivalent), including postdoctoral fellows through Assistant Professors. Positions higher than Assistant Professor will not be considered.

Individuals who are early in their clinician scientist careers will be given priority. Proposals are strongly encouraged from individuals training in specialties of behavioral neurology and neuropathology, geriatrics with focus on dementia/cognitive disorders, geriatric psychiatry with focus on dementia/cognitive disorders or neuropsychology with focus on dementia/cognitive disorders.

Specific for the AACSF-D program, eligible applicants are faculty members who have been determined to be underrepresented faculty in biomedical and behavioral research on a national or institutional basis. The Alzheimer’s Association will require documentation to support the faculty member’s underrepresented status at their institution. Applicants in the United States will be subject to the definitions as stated by the National Institutes of Health:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:  
  • Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS - Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
  • Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Applicants must submit a Letter of Assurance printed on the hiring institution's letterhead with the current date, signed by an authorized institutional official (i.e., Grants and Contracts officer) that states you have been determined by your institution to be underrepresented in the above areas at the time of Letter of Intent (LOI) for verification. The Alzheimer’s Association reserves the right to require additional documentation to help confirm the applicant’s eligibility. Non-U.S. applicants in addition to the letter must provide official documentation from their institutional materials, such as website, manual or other legal documentation, that indicates their eligibility for this program.

The applicant must be at a recognized academic institution. The Alzheimer’s Association reserves the right to request additional information to confirm that the institution meets not-for-profit requirements of the Association. For questions as to whether an applicant or organization is eligible, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association at grantsapp@alz.org prior to submitting an LOI. No exceptions will be made after the LOI deadline has passed.

Ineligibility 

Although it is unlikely individuals will have current Alzheimer's Association awards, applications from currently funded investigators (including the mentor) who are delinquent in submitting required reports and other deliverables on active grants are ineligible. Investigators (or mentors) who have previous Alzheimer’s Association awards closed as "Incomplete" are not eligible to apply. 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, September 30, 2019. Letters of Intent will not be accepted after this date. No exceptions will be made. Hard copies or emails will not be accepted.

New requirement: All applicants must include an ORCID ID. It is a required field. You will not be able to submit your LOI without this information.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. EST, November 20, 2019.

Scientific and technical review will be conducted from November 2019 – January 2020. The Alzheimer’s Association will lead a second-tier review with leading research experts to evaluate each program during January 2020. Funding will be awarded by February 15, 2020.

Create and submit your LOI online at http://proposalcentral.com.

Applications will be reviewed with special attention to:

  • Applicant’s ability and promise as a clinician-scientist based on prior record of achievement and career plan, letters of reference, and curriculum vitae (30 percent)   
  • Quality and nature of the training to be provided and the institutional, departmental, and mentor-specific training environment, this includes available resources to support the applicant in their training (30 percent) 
  • Quality and originality of the research plan (40 percent)

Please note: Resubmissions will have the opportunity to provide a response to prior review.

Mechanism of award, reporting requirements and allowable costs

The mechanism of the award is an individual research grant; this award is made to the individual and managed by their institution. Significant emphasis will be on the mentor and letters of reference provided in the application. The mentor is expected to contribute a statement regarding commitment to the applicant. The maximum allowable duration is three years (minimum two years). Please note that, due to the nature of this grant being awarded to a fellow, only in extreme circumstances will a transfer of PI be allowed; it is expected that the fellow will transfer their funding to their future institution. Annual scientific progress and financial reports are required from both the applicant and the mentor throughout the award period. Continuation of the grant over the awarded duration is contingent upon the timely receipt of scientific progress and financial reports as well as a mentor’s report outlining progress toward meeting required benchmarks.

Application

The mentor should be experienced in conducting Alzheimer’s and other dementia research and in mentoring junior investigators. The application must include a two/three-page statement from the selected mentor that includes information on his/her research qualifications and experience as a research supervisor, 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. 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. Only one primary mentor can be included. Additional team members who might function as mentors can be listed as key personnel.

The full grant application for the AARF, AARF-D, AACSF and AACSF-D programs consists of the following:

(Templates and instructions are located under WorkPlan and Other Attachments.)

  1. Statement of Mentorship – 2-3 pages

Written by the mentor to provide additional information on their commitment and perspective regarding the individual’s training.

  • The mentor should be experienced in conducting Alzheimer’s and other dementia research and in mentoring junior investigators.
  • The mentor should include information on his/her research qualifications and experience as a research supervisor, commitment to the applicant (this statement will be a significant part of the application review).
  • The mentor should provide information on the training, resources and opportunities for the applicant for the duration of the fellowship award; this could include reference to the applicant’s scientific goals and milestones to achieving those goals.
  1. Statement of Commitment – 3 pages

Written by the applicant to highlight their interest in Alzheimer’s and other dementia research.

  • Applicant should provide context regarding their scientific goals, their training plan and objectives for achieving those goals – in the context of the fellowship award and beyond, as applicable.
  • 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.
  • 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.  
  1. Area of Research – 3 pages

Written by the mentor and applicant; summary of the specific area of research and project that the applicant is pursuing.

  • The Area of Research section should include the following:
    • Specific hypothesis
    • List of the specific aims, objectives that will be used to examine the hypothesis
    • Description of the methods/ approaches/ techniques to be used in each aim
    • Discussion of possible problems and how they will be managed
    • Alternative approaches that might be tried if the initial approaches do not work
  • The experimental design and methods, technical procedures, instruments, characteristics of human subjects and animal populations, recruitment and retention plans, model systems, data management, quality control and analytic procedures are to be discussed as appropriate to the proposed investigation. Preliminary data/results that support the hypotheses or research strategies chosen should be discussed in this section.
  • A brief justification of the experimental design selected should be included, in addition to the alternative strategies considered during the development of the project plans. Brief justifications or arguments supporting the choices of instruments, methods or models chosen will be helpful to reviewers. Outline the plans for data management, quality control and analysis.
  • Mention alternative strategies where appropriate. If relevant to the project and nature of the research work, discuss plans for sharing data, samples or resources with other investigators. Describe any significant collaborations that are beyond the budget of this proposal and have not been previously described.
  1. Available Resources & Budget Justification – 2 pages

Provide information about the resources that:

  • Are available and necessary to support the proposed project
  • Can be accessed for the duration of the project without additional funds

(Budget and expenses must be reported in U.S. dollars.)

List and describe facilities and space, equipment, animals and/or human subject or clinical populations, and any other relevant physical or human resources. Identify all new resources that the proposed project will require. Include a brief justification and rationale for the individual line items in the proposed online budget that you are requesting funding. A total of $5,000 over a two/three-year period not to exceed $3,000 per year (if you request the full $5,000 for two years and are requesting a three-year award, you will not be able to request travel funds for one of those years) must be allocated to support registration and travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award.

  1. Plan for Data Sharing – 1 page
  1. Biosketch – 4 pages each

A biosketch should be included for both the applicant and mentor.

  1. Letters of Reference

Limited to three letters and no more than three pages each. A letter of reference from the mentor is not necessary as they are submitting a statement of mentorship.

  1. Provide a W9 signed and dated by the Signing Official for U.S. entities. For non-U.S. entities, provide a W8 signed and dated by the Signing Official.

The signing official should be someone in your Grants and Contracts office or Office of Sponsored Research/Programs.

  1. Resubmission – 1 page

All resubmissions have the opportunity, if they wish, to provide a one-page summary addressing comments raised by reviewers in a prior review cycle(s).

Mentoring selections may include early-career researchers and/or mid-career scientists who choose to shift into Alzheimer’s and other 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. Specific benchmarks are outlined below and considered by the Alzheimer's Association as critical for the development of early-career investigators. A successful mentorship plan should include some of these benchmarks but should not be limited to these alone.

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. Your budget must not exceed the maximum amount of the award, $155,000 ($150,000 for direct research and $5,000 for travel) and may not exceed $60,000 (direct and indirect costs) in a given year. A total of $5,000 over a three-year period not to exceed $3,000 per year must be allocated to support registration and travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award. Note: If you request the full $5,000 for 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. Indirect costs are capped at no more than 10 percent. The remaining funds, $10,000 to the applicant and $10,000 to the primary mentor, will be awarded upon successful completion of the three-year (minimum two years – an award cannot be for only one year) program and should not be included in your overall budget. These research stipends are paid to the institution(s) following successful completion of the grant and must go toward continued research endeavors.

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 percent 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 (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)
  • Travel (up to $5,000 max over two/three-year award to travel to the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), a condition of the award)

Direct costs not allowed under this award include:

  • Computer hardware or standard software (e.g., Microsoft Office)
  • Construction or renovation costs
  • 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) and the International Research Grant Program (IRGP) Council

For more information: Contact grantsapp@alz.org.

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