Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

Since 1981, AFAR has provided over $172 million to over 4,000 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

Please note: The 2017 awards are closed and applications are no longer being accepted.  Please check back in fall of 2017 for updated application materials.


Making the connection between aging research and disease or disability prevention has become increasingly important as the global population ages.  Substantial resources have been directed to research on the biology of aging through public and private support.  The field has yielded measurable results that have improved our understanding of the biology underlying the aging process (or "aging".) Early discoveries are now showing potential for prevention of many diseases of aging simultaneously.

Although medical research has accomplished much, there is a growing scientific consensus that its effectiveness would be enhanced by an increased emphasis on understanding how aging processes affect health span and how we can translate that knowledge as quickly as possible to impact human health span and overall well-being of our aging population.

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 research projects that are building on early discoveries that show translational potential for clinically-relevant strategies, treatments and therapeutics, addressing human aging and health span.

Two awards will be made in 2017, 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.

The following types of studies using one or more of these models will be considered:

  • Human subjects
  • Human cells and tissues
  • Mice or other mammals.

Proposals using other types of models (i.e. yeast, drosophila melanogaster, c. elegans, etc.) will only be considered when there is compelling justification that these studies may be directly relevant to human health and aging (or "the human condition".)

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. To be competitive at the Assistant Professor level, a candidate would be expected to have established R01 or equivalent funding. The BIG award is not intended to substitute for the R01 funding mechanism, but rather to provide support for novel “breakthrough” research projects in established laboratories. A strong record of independent publication beyond the postdoctoral level is a requirement. 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 2017 AFAR Research Grant, you may not also apply for the 2017 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 and research record of the applicant
  • Quality, promise and feasibility of the proposed research
  • Translational potential and relevance to human aging and health span
  • Excellence of the research environment

Priority will be given to proposals that have a near-term potential for translation.

Application Procedures

The deadline of receipt of the Letters of Intent (LOI) is December 15, 2016 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 mid-February, and a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for receipt of full applications will be late-March 2016.

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, 2017. 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.