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Funding Opportunities

Pilot Grants

Pilot Grant Program in Aging Research will support innovative projects in basic, applied and clinical aging research.

  • Full-time, tenure track faculty members of the University of Rochester are eligible to apply.
  • RFAs are issued yearly. Funded grants are supported with an award of up to $50,000.
  • The review will be administered jointly by the RoAR Center and the Office of Aging Research and Health Services (OARHS). It will be conducted by a panel of experts using a rigorous peer-review process.

Pilot Funding in Aging Research

University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry (SMD)

Strategic Plan Pilot Award Program

Release Date: 06/30/2017

The Rochester Aging Research Center and the Office for Aging Research and Health Services invite applications for Strategic Plan Pilot Grants in Aging Research.

The purpose of the SMD Strategic Plan Pilot Award Program is to promote the research goals of scientific programs of excellence in biomedical research with the potential to enhance the national and international reputation of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the University. Funded pilot projects are envisioned as innovative research directions with the potential to give new life to the overall scientific portfolio of the UR and keep the institution abreast of, and even ahead of today’s fast-paced and competitive scientific landscape.

Program Details

Eligibility for the Aging Research Pilot Program

The principal investigator (PI) on all proposals must be a full-time faculty member of the University of Rochester. Each faculty member can participate in only one application in any capacity. 

Eligible Research

Subjects will be considered for funding from basic aging research across the translational research spectrum to the study of clinical interventions for disorders of aging, promotion of healthy aging, and delivery of health services to older adults:

Molecular mechanisms of aging

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Comparative biology of aging
  • Drugable regulators of aging
  • Stem cells and aging
  • Stress and aging
  • Sensory systems and aging
  • Systems biology of aging (genomics, metabolomics, epigenetics)

Geriatrics and translational research

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Geriatric syndromes: highly prevalent in old age, multifactorial, and associated with substantial morbidity and poor outcomes.
  • Multi-sensory impairment – vision, hearing, balance deficits in later life
  • Intervention development and clinical outcomes research
  • Health services research – practice, service system levels
  • Health technologies
  • Population-level outcomes and social determinants research
  • Biobehavioral mechanisms in aging (e.g., bio-/physio-logical mechanisms in age-related psychosocial, cognitive, and behavioral changes)

Projects will receive the highest priority if they:

  • Use innovative approaches to study mechanisms of aging and related processes. Proposals to investigate age-associated diseases as such are not encouraged.
  • Build on existing strengths of the University that may, or may not, currently be related to aging research.
  • Foster multidisciplinary collaboration and partnership between schools, centers and specialties.

  • Have strong potential follow up funding by national, state or private agencies.

  • Hold promise to accelerate the rate of translation of science to practice in the care of older adults.

Review Criteria

  • Innovation: Projects should not be “more of the same,” i.e., they should not be extensions of ongoing research. This type of research should be funded by the conventional sources, NIH, foundations, etc.
  • Strategic Impact: Projects should move into areas that are expected to grow in significance. Projects that consolidate or expand areas of particular local strength or promote multidisciplinary collaboration will be favorably considered.

Funding levels

  • Up to two proposals will be funded with up to $50,000 for 12 months. 
  • Permissible expenses include supplies and salaries, except PI salaries. Rolling over of funds beyond 12 months requires permission by the funding committee.

Review Process

Submitted applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts, chaired by Vera Gorbunova, Yeates Conwell and Dirk Bohmann.

Important Dates

  • September 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM - Applications will be due.
  • October 1, 2017 – Notification of award will be made.
  • November 1, 2017 – Anticipated start date. Note: All animal and human subject protocols must be approved prior to the start date. No funds will be released until these approvals have been documented.

Submitting a Proposal

Online submission: Proposals must be submitted electronically to Anne Reed.

Application Format

The application should use Arial 11 pt font with 1” margins and include the following:

Cover Page

  • Title of the Project
  • Contact PI’s name and contact information
  • Name and contact information of co-investigator(s) and/or key personnel, if applicable
  • Amount of money requested
  • Involvement of human subjects or vertebrate animals

Specific Aims

  • One Page

Research Plan

Not to exceed 3 pages – including any figures, as needed. This should incorporate the following components:

  • A succinct description of the proposed research, in sufficient detail to allow evaluation of the research concept.
  • A short statement explaining the relevance of the proposed research to aging.
  • A brief explanation of how this work will lead to future extramural funding.

Literature Cited


NIH biosketch

  • For the PI, co-I, key personnel containing a brief personal statement describing current research.


  • Include the page number and name of the contact PI in the footer of all pages of the proposal.
  • No letters of support are permitted.