Call for 2019 Development Projects

September 28, 2018

The Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center is pleased to announce a Call for development research project proposals on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias for funding from approximately April 1, 2019. The Call is open to researchers from within the Harvard community -- including the Harvard-affiliated hospitals and institutions -- with priority given first to junior researchers or senior researchers new to AD and related dementias research and finally, to established researchers with a new hypothesis, method or approach that is not an extension of ongoing dementia research and which lacks funding. Applications from underrepresented groups are encouraged.

The purpose of the Call is to allow an investigator the opportunity to develop preliminary data sufficient to provide the basis for an application for independent research support. Projects may ranch from basic or clinical biomedical to translational, epidemiological, caregiving, educational or behavioral research. Clinical trials are excluded, but development work in anticipation of a clinical trial will be accepted. Development Projects should align with the aims of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA).

It is anticipated that 1-3 awards in the amount of $75,000 to $100,000 direct costs per project will be awarded for projects with a duration of 1-2 years. Facilities & administrative costs will be provided.

More information is attached.

Application Due Date:  Wednesday, January 2, 2019 (5pm EST)



  1.  Applicants should have a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, ScD, PharmD, DO, etc...), have undertaken or completed formal research training and where appropriate, have documentation of training in the protection of human research participants and/or ethical care in the use of animals for research.
  2. An applicant who either has a Harvard Instructor level or Assistant Professor appointment. Senior fellows who are transitioning to Instructor positions (anticipated time frame prior to April 2019) are also eligible. We anticipate that some applicants will have a Harvard sponsor who is recognized as an independent investigator and who has been actively involved in AD and related dementias research and has a successful record of providing research training and guidance and is committed to continued project involvement throughout the total award period. This is welcome but not necessary.
  3. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain all relevant clearances from IACUC, IRB etc. Please initiate IRB/IACUC approvals at the time of application to avoid possible delays in initiating projects, as carry-forwards at the end of the 1-year award period are generally not allowed.
  4. Funding is intended to be flexible. That is, it is to be used in a manner most useful to the applicant’s project, including the applicant’s and/or other personnel’s salary and fringe benefits, supplies or other uses. Funding can be used for work that is supplemental to an ongoing funded research project.
  5. This Call does not seek to support fellows or others in need of bridging salary support. This is not a fellowship program. Instead, it aims to support Development Projects that will test novel ideas and approaches and that have the potential for further funding support.

Selection Criteria

All proposals will be reviewed by a Development Project Review Committee chaired by the Chair of the MADRC’s External Advisory Committee and at least three members of the local research community who are familiar with the Center’s goals and activities. At least one member of the review committee will consist of a biostatistician and a junior investigator who is a former Development Project awardee.

  1.  Significance. Does the study address an important problem relevant to our understanding, diagnosis or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias? Please note that it is up to the applicant to clearly demonstrate the clinical significance of the proposed project.
  2. Prospects. If the aims of the proposed work are achieved, is it likely that a proposal for additional extramural support (federal, industry, or foundation) will be successfully submitted and awarded?
  3. Approach. Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative approaches?
  4. Innovation. Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods? Are the aims original and innovative?
  5. Investigator. Is the researcher or sponsor appropriately trained to carry out this work? In the case of a proposal submitted by an Instructor, might the proposed project lead to a career development award?
  6. Environment. Does the scientific environment in which the work will be conducted contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the MADRC’s scientific environment and resources? Is there evidence of institutional support?
  7. Collaborative potential. Does the study involve the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s Cores, inter-departmental/inter-institutional collaboration across the Harvard community or data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) or the National Central Repository of AD (NCRAD)? These criteria will be used to prioritize funding decisions among projects deemed scientifically meritorious.

 Rules and Requirements

  1. The deadline for the receipt of all applications is 5pm EST on Wednesday, January 2, 2019
  2. Applications must be submitted electronically to Applicants will receive notification of the receipt of their proposals within 1 business day. To preserve the line spacing, figure location and the overall appearance of your application, you must submit your entire package as a single PDF document. Word files will not be accepted.
  3. Applications must include the following:
    1. Title page that includes applicant’s name, institution, email address and proposal title.
    2. Research plans (Maximum of 4 pages in a mini-NIH style format; see for guidance that include:
      1. --Specific Aims (½ page)
      2. -- Background and Significance, & statement of how the project fits into the NAPA or ADRD Summits’ research focus areas (approx ½ page)
      3. -- Preliminary Studies & future directions (approx 1 page)
      4. -- Research Design and Methods (Study design, description of subjects, data to be collected, analyses plans (1 page)
      5. -- Bibliography (maximum of 1 page)
    3. Ancillary documents must include the following (see the above NIH link for guidance):
      1. -- Detailed Budget and separate Budget Justification page NOTE: A draft budget that includes only a direct cost of up to $100,000 is allowed. If application is awarded, a final budget page with indirect cost will be negotiated. Salary and fringe benefits of the recipient are to be actual costs. A separate financial report must be maintained by the sponsoring institution for each recipient, and this account must be available for audit at anytime.
      2. -- NIH Biographical Sketch (for all Senior/Key Personnel)
      3. -- Letters of support (if applicable) from MADRC Core directors and/or collaborators confirming the availability of the necessary resources for the support of the proposal
      4. --PHS Planned/Targeted Enrollment Table (for proposals that involve human subjects)
    4. Application text should be in Arial or Times New Roman font and can be no smaller than 12-point font type. Figures, charts, tables, figure legends, and footnotes must be readily legible.
    5. Single-spacing on the application is allowed. Margins, in all directions, must be at least 0.5 inches.
  4. Decisions of the peer-review committee will be final and will be announced in early February 2019.
  5. Awardees must include an interim or final copy of their project’s progress report in the MADRC’s annual NIA grant renewal by mid-January in the year(s) following the award period. Interim progress reports for multi-year funded projects will be used to assess achieved ‘milestones’ for a competitive second year of support.
  6. All publications, abstracts, posters and other forms of publications resulting from a project supported by this award must indicate the following acknowledgement: “This research was in part supported by a Development Project grant from the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (5 P30 AG062421)”.
  7. Should a recipient discontinue the funded project or leave his/her primary institution of research during the award period, he/she must notify the MADRC in writing within 2 weeks prior to his/her intended departure, with reasons for the discontinuation of the project.