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Developmental Project Program

The Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center solicits proposals for NIA-funded developmental 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 developmental project grant from the Center is to help an investigator obtain preliminary data leading to extramural funding. The success of the program is evaluated based on this goal.

Request for Proposal 

Learn more about the Developmental Project Program, funding and application information.

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The IADRC will fund up to three developmental projects this year. Project budget should be $50,000 per year in direct costs and may have a project term between 1 and 2 years (second year of funding may be considered depending on the scope of the project, and is contingent on progress in the first year). The budget period is anticipated to begin on July 1, 2023.


Post-doctoral trainees, Junior and Senior Investigators from Indiana institutions (Indiana University, Purdue University, and University of Notre Dame) are eligible to apply. Awards are particularly geared towards supporting early career investigators and are intended to provide adequate funding to establish a new line of investigation, such as a pilot study or the initial data collection or analysis required to promote an innovative hypothesis. Senior investigators whose research is primarily in areas other than ADRD research, but who propose a project in a dementia research field to test a new hypothesis, method, or approach that is not an extension of ongoing ADRD research are also eligible to apply.

Previous awardees are not eligible.

Application Deadline

  • March 6, 2023: Letter of intent (LOI) indicating the focus of your research is due by 5pm. 
  • April 17, 2023: Full application due by 5 pm. 
  • Please submit a letter of intent to Sarah Van Heiden

Criteria for LOI

  • Must include project title, brief summary of the project, and investigators. LOI must not exceed one page.

An application link will be provided following acceptance of the LOI.

Criteria for Review

  • Scientific merit (impact, significance, innovation, feasibility)
  • Investigator's expertise and/or potential contributions
  • Likelihood of project leading to extramural funding (R01 or similar)
  • Relation to the IADRC scientific program and use of center resources (facilities, expertise, subjects, data, specimens, etc.)

The funding of the IADRC Developmental Projects is conditional on continued support form the National Institute on Aging, as well as approval of recommended proposals by the program officer.

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 IADRC Research Program

    Provide details on how this pilot project is related to the IADRC 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 IADRC’s scientific program and use of center resources

The funding of the IADRC’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, PhD, MPH or (317) 963-5597.

Program Goals

Overall goals of the IADRC NIA P30 (2021-2026):


  • Aim 1
    Support, enhance and expand innovative research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias targeting pathogenesis, 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, national ADRC Network, NAPA and related federal priorities.
  • Aim 4

    Provide educational and training opportunities related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for learners of all levels, including those with diverse backgrounds and needs.

2021-23 Funded awardees and projects

Luke Dabin, PhD and Jungsu Kim, PhD

"Peripheral single-cell epigenetic markers of sporadic Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease"

Jason Meyer, PhD

"Modeling polygenic risk for Alzheimer's disease with human induced pluripotent stem cells"

Sophia Wang, MD

"The Role of COVID-19 Symptom Severity and APOE Genotype in Cognitive and Neuroimaging Outcomes"