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 grants@afar.org.

The Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Awards in Aging

*NEW!* The program provides up to seven two-year fellowships of $120,000, allowing for flexible and portable use of the funds, providing leverage to senior postdoctoral fellows to negotiate for junior faculty appointments and independent research programs either at their own or other institutions. A supplemental award of up to $30,000 may be available if the candidate successfully transitions to an independent junior faculty position within two years of completing the Diamond/AFAR Fellowship. Please note: The letter of intent deadline has passed for 2017. Please check back in late 2017 for updated materials.

 

Background

Nearly all major diseases, including many cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, occur with greater frequency as we age. Scientists hope that as they gain new insights into the aging process itself, they will better understand, and potentially learn to delay or even prevent, these diseases. The number of older Americans suffering from chronic illnesses will increase significantly as the “baby boomer” generation is reaching age 65 and beyond. By 2030, the number of adults aged 65 and older will double, from 39 million in 2008 to over 72 million, an increase from 13% of the U.S. population to almost 20%. The United States Bureau of the Census projects that the population aged 85 and over could grow from 5.7 million in 2008 to nearly 19 million by 2050.

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 age-related processes affect healthspan. We also need to translate that knowledge as quickly as possible to impact human healthspan and overall well-being of our aging population.

Translational research on aging is gaining momentum, and training opportunities in the field need to expand rapidly.  For young investigators, the field offers exceptional opportunities but it is also a challenging trajectory to undertake, as the investigators are expected to combine biomedical research skills with clinical research skills.

The Program

Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Awards in Aging distinguishes itself from other postdoctoral fellowship programs by providing full-time research training and flexible and portable grant support to senior postdoctoral fellows – those with at least 3 and not more than 6 years of prior postdoctoral training – providing leverage to negotiate for junior faculty appointments and independent research programs either at their own or other institutions.

Translational research, in the broadest sense, is defined as a systematic effort to convert basic research knowledge into practical applications to improve human health and well-being. This program will support Type 1 translational aging research, i.e. basic science discoveries that are moved into clinically-relevant findings. Type 2 translational research, such as projects that are strictly clinical in nature, are not eligible. Studies should use one or more of the following models:

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

Programs using other types of models (i.e. yeast, invertebrates, etc.) will only be considered when there is a compelling justification that these studies may be directly relevant to human health and aging.

It is anticipated that up to 7 two-year fellowships of up to $120,000 will be awarded in 2017.  The applicant’s salary/stipend must equal or exceed NIH pay scales for postdoctoral fellowships, appropriate to the level of training. Funds may also be requested for research supplies, equipment, health insurance, travel to scientific meetings, and additional research and educational training to build expertise in translational research. Overhead/indirect cost and tuition are not allowed.

If the awardee successfully transitions to a tenure-track (or tenure track equivalent at non-tenure track granting institutions) junior faculty position during the two-year period, the unpaid balance of the award may be transferred. Any equipment purchased during the fellowship with funds from the award must be transferable to the institution providing the faculty appointment.  If the awardee successfully transitions within two years of completing the fellowship to a tenure-track (or tenure-track equivalent) junior faculty position, he/she may be eligible to receive an additional award of up to $30,000, to be used as start-up funds in the new position. AFAR alone will review and determine whether an obtained junior faculty position meets all requirements for transferal of funds and/or additional funding.
 

Eligibility Criteria

 

  • The applicant must be a postdoctoral fellow (MD and/or PhD degree or equivalent) who is within  three to six years of starting postdoctoral training at the start date of the award (October 1, 2017.)  Applicants who have received postdoctoral training beyond six years (before October 1, 2011) must provide a justification for the additional training period.
  • The proposed research must be conducted at any type of not-for-profit setting in the United States.
  • Individuals who are employees in the NIH Intramural program are not eligible.
  • Fellows may not hold concurrent K99/R00 funding. Other concurrent foundation or not-for-profit or government funding is allowable provided there is no budgetary and/or scientific overlap.

Former Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellowship awardees may apply if the criteria above are met.

Application Guidelines

The following criteria are used to determine the merit of an application:

  • Qualifications of the applicant
  • Quality of the proposed research plan, particularly the potential that basic research findings may lead to translation relevant to human aging and healthspan
  • Excellence of the research environment
  • Likelihood that the project will advance the applicant's career in aging research
  • Applicant’s potential to obtain an independent research position within two years of completing the Diamond/AFAR Fellowship.
  • Mentor's strength and qualifications to guide the applicant's research and career planning
  • Proposed training opportunities

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

Application Procedures

The deadline for receipt of all Letters of Intent (LOI) is May 1, 2017 at 5 pm EST. Please refer to the Irene Diamond/AFAR Letter of Intent instructions. Also review the FAQ page which will be updated frequently. Incomplete materials and/or incorrectly completed materials cannot be considered. All Letters of Intent must be emailed to afarapplication@afar.org. The Letters of Intent will be reviewed by a committee. Applicants will be notified by mid-June 2017, and a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application by late July 2017. Final awards are announced by late September, and the award start date is October 1, 2017. AFAR will not provide reviewer critiques to any applicants at any review level.

Reporting Requirements

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


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