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IADC Pilot Project Program

The Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center solicits proposals for NIA-funded pilot projects from investigators who want to develop research on Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, or other neurodegenerative dementias. Applications pertinent to basic mechanisms of memory, learning and cognition with relevance for aging and dementia are also welcome, as are proposals on studies of health services for memory care and dementia. Previous experience in research on neurodegeneration is not required.

The specific purpose of an NIA pilot grant from the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center is to help an investigator obtain preliminary data leading to extramural funding. Success of the program is evaluated based on this goal.

Cost and Deadlines

Pilot projects are limited to $30,000 (total cost) for one year; salary support for the principal investigator is not allowed. Up to two projects are awarded for each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) if sufficiently meritorious proposals are received.

A letter of intent to submit a project must be sent to by February 1. A proposal title and a paragraph describing the project must be included in this letter. The Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Executive Committee reviews all letters received and then invites applications from the selected projects consistent with program goals. The application deadline is March 1.

Applicant Forms

Applicants should use the PHS 398 Forms and include PHS 398 Form pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; Biographical Sketch for each Key Personnel; Resources Page; Checklist; and, if applicable, Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table.

A one-page cover letter that includes complete contact information for Principal Investigator is also required.

The Research Plan is limited to three pages and must include the following information:

  • Specific Aims

    In a maximum of one-half page, this section should contain goals of the research, expected outcomes/impact on the research field(s), and objectives.

  • Significance

    Detail the importance of the problem and how the project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability etc.

  • Innovation

    Describe novel approaches, methodologies, instrumentation, and so forth as well as any advantage over existing ones. How does the application challenge/seek to shift the current research paradigm?

  • Approach

    Overall strategy, methodology and analyses. How will data be collected, analyzed and interpreted. What potential problems, alternative strategies exist? Include PI’s preliminary studies (if any) and experience. One year timeline and milestones. Include statistical plan and power calculations/considerations if relevant.

  • Application Plans

    Describe plans to apply for extramural funding related to the pilot project, including funding sources; specific NIH PA’s and RFA are suggested.

  • Relevance to IADC Research Program

    Provide details on how this pilot project is related to the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center scientific program and/or uses center resources, including database, clinical cohort participants, biosamples, model systems, expertise, etc.

Application Evaluation

When evaluating applications, the following criteria are considered:

  • Scientific Merit: Potential impact, significance, innovation, feasibility
  • Investigator(s): Expertise and/or potential contributions
  • Likelihood of Funding: Project’s potential to secure extramural funding (R01 or similar grants)
  • Alignment: Relation to the Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s scientific program and use of center resources

The funding of the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center’s pilot project program is contingent on continued support from the National Institute on Aging as well as approval of recommended projects by the NIA Program Officer. Questions should be directed to Sarah Van Heiden at 317-963-5597 or

Program Goals

Overall goals of the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center NIA P30 (2016-2021):

  • Aim 1

    Support, enhance, and expand innovative research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias targeting causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

  • Aim 2

    Provide critical research resources and infrastructure to support existing studies and enable new innovative research, including a well-characterized longitudinally followed cohort of research participants.

  • Aim 3

    Strongly support local, regional, and national/international dementia research collaborations to further the goals of the NIA ADC Program and the National Plan for Alzheimer’s disease (to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025), as well as the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint and related federal priorities.

  • Aim 4

    Provide educational and training opportunities related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for learners of all levels and needs including academic programs for professionals and programs for patients, caregivers and family members, and the community at large.