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Glenn Foundation for Medical Research Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award

Grants to USA Researchers at Nonprofit
Institutions for Projects Exploring Aging

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR)

Deadline Date:

12/15/20 5:00 PM EST


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Grants to USA individuals to conduct research projects in nonprofit institutions. Eligible projects should be in the field of aging and health. Funding is intended to support research that will significantly contribute to understanding the biology of aging and how aging affects health and wellbeing.

Aging is the single greatest risk factor for many chronic diseases. Therefore, the connection between aging research and disease or disability prevention is becoming increasingly important as the global population ages. Substantial progress has been made in defining fundamental biological mechanisms underlying aging processes. Early discoveries are now showing potential for prevention of diseases and disorders of aging.

Future progress depends on gaining a deeper understanding of how aging processes affect health span and how to translate that knowledge as quickly as possible to benefit human health and promote the overall well-being of the aging population.

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 research projects which if successful offer significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging. Projects which build on early discoveries that show translational potential for clinically relevant strategies, treatments and therapeutics, addressing human aging and health span are also considered.

For most biology of aging grant programs, AFAR looks for research projects that focus on understanding the basic mechanisms of aging. Projects investigating age-related diseases may be of interest as well, as long as they are approached from the point of view of illuminating how basic aging processes are involved in disease outcomes.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 165362

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

$300,000 total ($100,000 per year)

Term of Contract:

Three-year awards

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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.

There are no citizenship requirements for the biology of aging programs. However, applicants must be conducting research at a U.S.-based not-for-profit institution by the start date of the award.

The proposed research must be conducted at qualified not-for-profit setting in the United States. Former AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty awardees may apply; former BIG awardees may NOT apply. If you are applying for a 2021 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR Grant for Junior Faculty, you may not also apply for the 2021 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research BIG Award. Principal Investigators supported through the Paul F. Glenn Centers for Biology of Aging Research are not eligible to apply.

Projects that focus on specific diseases or on assessment of health care strategies will receive lower priority, unless the research plan makes clear and direct connections to fundamental issues in the biology of aging and/or on the translational aspects of basic discovery to human aging and healthspan.

Pre-Application Information:

The LOI deadline is December 15, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., EST. Applicants will be notified by late-February, and a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for receipt of full applications will be in April 2021.

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, 2021.

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.

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

Things to Consider When Applying:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit LOIs at

Questions about eligibility and suitability of research project can be addressed to

American Federation for Aging Research
55 West 39th Street, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 703-9977

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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