Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

Since 1981, AFAR has provided approximately $132 million to more than 2,800 talented investigators and students. To learn more about each grant, click below or contact the AFAR grant program staff at

Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award

The Program

Sponsored by The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, in collaboration with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the "Breakthroughs in Gerontology" (BIG) initiative provides timely support to a small number of pilot research programs that may be of relatively high risk but which offer significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging. The hope is that one or more of the funded research projects will lead to major new insights into the molecular factors that coordinate aging in multiple cells and tissues, and the ways in which the aging process is differentially timed in long-lived species.

Projects that focus on genetic controls of aging and longevity, on delay of aging by pharmacological agents or dietary means, or which elucidate the mechanisms by which alterations in hormones, anti-oxidant defenses, or repair processes promote longevity are all within the intended scope of this competition. Projects that focus on specific diseases or assessment of health care strategies will receive lower priority, unless the research plan makes clear and direct connections to fundamental issues in the biology of aging. Studies of invertebrates, mice, human clinical materials or cell lines are eligible for funding. Although preliminary data are always helpful for evaluating the feasibility of the experiments proposed, the emphasis in review will be on creativity and the likelihood that the findings will lead to improved understanding that merits follow-up studies.

Recipients of this award are expected to attend the AFAR Grantee Conference. The purpose of the meeting is to promote scientific and personal exchanges among recent AFAR grantees and experts in aging research.


To be eligible, applicants must at the time they submit their proposal be full-time faculty members at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. A strong record of independent publication beyond the postdoctoral level is a requirement. Applications from individuals not previously engaged in aging research are particularly encouraged, as long as the research proposals show high promise for leading to important new discoveries in biological gerontology.

Individuals who are employees in the NIH Intramural program are not eligible. The proposed research must be conducted at any type of not-for-profit setting in the United States. Former AFAR Research Grant awardees may apply. If you are applying for a 2014 AFAR Research Grant, you may not also apply for the 2014 Glenn/AFAR BIG Award.

Questions about eligibility and suitability of research project can be addressed to

Applications are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Qualifications of the applicant
  • Quality and promise of the proposed research and relevance to aging
  • Excellence of the research environment


Application Procedures

The deadline of receipt of the Letters of Intent (LOI) is December 16, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Please refer to the Glenn/AFAR BIG LOI for instructions. Incomplete or improperly completed LOIs cannot be considered.  All LOIs should be submitted as PDFs through the website The Letters of Intent will be reviewed by a committee.  Applicants will be notified by January 31, 2014, and a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for receipt of full applications is March 18, 2014.

Two two-year awards will be made in 2014, at the level of $200,000 total ($100,000 per year), of which up to 8% may be used for institutional overhead. The amount and the duration of the award may be modified if during the review process or at the funding stage it is evident that such modifications would better serve the objectives of the program.

All LOI candidates who are invited to submit applications must have it endorsed by their institution. Final awards are announced by early June. The award start date is July 1, 2014. AFAR will not provide reviewer critiques to any applicants at any review level.

If you are using animals in your research, please review Principles of Animal Use for Gerontological Research.

Click here for our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Reporting Requirements

Investigators will be required to submit a brief narrative report on the progress of their research. Final narrative and financial reports are required within three months following the end date of the award.


The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research
The purpose of the foundation, founded in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn, is to extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the mechanisms of biological aging. The Glenn Foundation does not solicit or accept charitable contributions.