The study of aging

Aging research grants

There are a number of aging research grants available in several areas of research, providing funding opportunities for talented medical students who want to conduct clinical research on the aging process, health and longevity etc.

Aging Research Grants – Funding Opportunities, Research Grant Applications, Eligibility

AFAR offers some of the best funding opportunities when it comes to grants & training, providing up to $100,000 for a one- or two-year award to junior faculty (M.D. and PhD) to do research that will serve as the foundation for longer term research.

AFAR-supported scientists cover various areas of research, studying a wide range of biomedical and clinical topics including the causes of cellular senescence, the genetic factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the role of estrogen in the development of osteoporosis, the effects of nutrition and exercise on the aging process and so on. Over 665 AFAR research grants have been awarded since 1981.

The main goal of AFAR aging research grants is to assist junior investigators in pursuing successful careers in the field of aging research. AFAR supports research projects focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of aging.

AFAR also supports projects investigating age-related diseases, especially if approached from the point of view of how basic aging processes may result in such outcomes. Moreover, the program also encourages research grant opportunities for projects concerning mechanisms underlying common geriatric functional disorders, as long as these include connections to fundamental problems in the biology of aging.

Programs that focus strictly on clinical problems such as the diagnosis and treatment of disease, health outcomes or the social context of aging are not eligible. Promising areas of research in which students can obtain funding opportunities include:

  1. Aging and immune function
  2. Neurobiology and neuropathology of aging
  3. Genetic control of longevity
  4. Cardiovascular aging
  5. Invertebrate or vertebrate animal models
  6. Aging and cellular stress resistance
  7. Age-related changes in cell proliferation
  8. Metabolic and endocrine changes
  9. DNA repair and control of gene expression
  10. Caloric restriction and aging
  11. Aging and apoptosis
  12. Comparative gerontology
  13. Biology of the menopause
  14. Biodemographic analysis of aging
  15. Evolutionary biological aspects of the biology of aging

In order to be eligible for a research grant, the applicant must be an independent investigator with independent research space as assigned by the departmental chair or equivalent official.

On the other hand, the AFAR Research Grant Program does not provide support for:

  • Postdoctoral individuals in the laboratory of a senior investigator
  • Senior faculty (Associate Professor position or higher)
  • Investigators who have already benefited from major extramural funding for research (R01 grant, for instance)
  • Former AFAR Research Grant recipients
  • NIH Intramural program employees
  • Applicants for the 2011 Glenn/AFAR Breakthrough in Gerontology (BIG) award

In order to determine the merit and eligibility of the research grant applications, AFAR will look into four criteria:

  • the applicant’s qualifications
  • the quality of the proposed research
  • the excellence of the research environment
  • the likelihood that the project will advance the applicant’s career in aging research

There are many other foundations supporting aging research, providing substantial aging research grants.

  1. Atlantic Philanthropies aims to provide a better life for seniors, ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect, have access to health and support systems, are represented by strong and competent leaders and are able to actively contribute their experience and abilities for the good of society.
  2. American Federation for Aging Research supports biomedical research on the aging process, as well as various age-related diseases.
  3. The Commonwealth Fund is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S.
  4. The Council of Foundations is the umbrella national organization for philanthropic foundations in the U.S.
  5. The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation supporting health and education. Among other projects, it supports the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, whose members include over 100 neurobiologist researchers.
  6. The Ellison Medical Foundation supports basic biological research in aging, provided it is relevant to understanding the aging process and age-related diseases.
  7. The Foundation Center operates five regional libraries – New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Atlanta and San Francisco – and maintains an extensive collection of its publications, healthy aging magazines, guides in more than 200 libraries in other U.S. locations.
  8. The Glenn Foundation is a private foundation committed to supporting research on the biological aspects of aging in America.
  9. John A. Hartford Foundation is a private philanthropy established by John A. Hartford. Most of the foundation’s current aging research grants relate to enhancing geriatric research and training, as well as integrating health-related services to older adults.
  10. Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit medical charity devoted to extending healthy human life.
  11. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a large private foundation offering aging research grants.
  12. The Retirement Research Foundation is the largest private foundation in the United States, focusing its grant funding opportunities on older adults and aging issues.
  13. The Pew Charitable Trusts is a large Philadelphia private foundation that awards more than 400 grants each year.
  14. SENS Foundation is dedicated to developing, promoting and ensuring widespread access to rejuvenation biotechnologies which comprehensively address the disabilities and diseases of aging.