New Investigator Awards

The NACC New Investigator Awards are awarded each year to promising early-career investigators from across the ADRC Program to support their career development and advance their research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD).
The Request for Applications for the 2023-24 New Investigator Award Cycle is now closed.

Two New Investigator Awards were offered for the 2023-2024 award cycle ($135k each).

Two application tracks were available to choose from:

  • Traditional track: This track was open to proposals focused on any AD/ADRD-related research topic.
  • DEI-focused track: This track was reserved for proposals with a strong DEI and/or health disparities research focus within AD/ADRD
Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 New Investigator Awards!
Michael Devinney, PhD, Duke/UNC ADRC
Shea Andrews, PhD, UCSF ADRC

The Scientific Review Committee reviewed the scientific merit of the applications, and the NACC Steering Committee selected one winner from each track.

NACC congratulates the winners of the 2023-24 New Investigator Awards!

Sign Up for the New Investigator Award email list to receive the announcement for the 2024-25 funding awards. Stay informed about new and early career investigator opportunities!

About the New Investigator Awards

Features of a Successful New Investigator Project
Successful New Investigator Projects are hypothesis-driven and address a scientific question outright. Investigations of reliability or validity or diagnostic/data standardization are also acceptable.
Research proposals should advance new approaches that have the potential to reveal new biomarkers, disease mechanisms, or novel therapeutic approaches and may be rooted in multiple disciplines, for example, but not necessarily limited to; studies in epidemiology, neurology, psychiatry, gerontology/aging, psychology, imaging/radiology, pharmacology, informatics, and data science.
The maximum total funding for each project will be $135,000, which is inclusive of any indirect costs.
  • The funding must be spent within two years of the grant being received.
  • The budget justification should detail how effort or other budgeted items are necessary to support the proposed project.
  • If the project is awarded funding by the Steering Committee, NACC will distribute the award to the Center Director as part of the Center's annual NACC sub-award. The Director will be responsible for redistributing the funds internally (via an appropriate internal accounting mechanism) to the New Investigator and for tracking these project costs independently of expenditures associated with other NACC projects in the same funding cycle.

View a short webinar about early-career funding from NACC:

Data Sources
New Investigator projects may leverage NACC data but are not required to. Projects that allow the investigator to visit and/or collaborate across Centers to meet with experts or obtain study-specific data are encouraged.
Eligibility Requirements
  • You must be a new investigator. New investigators are defined as post-doctoral fellows, residents, or junior faculty that have not yet been promoted to associate professor rank (MD or PhD), within five years of rank, and not already having had an R01 grant. Researchers and investigators with a higher or lower academic rank are not eligible to apply.
  • New investigators must be affiliated with one of the 37 ADRCs located in the United States.ADRC Directors must provide a letter on behalf of each new investigator award applicant confirming this affiliation. ADRC Directors please see this link for a template letter.
  •  Eligibility and Application FAQs
    • What is expected under the specific headings “Methodological development and innovative strategies” and “Analytical Approach”. Should it be separated as “Methodological development and innovative strategies”: How you are collecting your data. And “Analytical Approach”: how you are analyzing your data?

      Our descriptions were meant to correspond to the ordinary and familiar sections of an NIH Research Plan, (as in the SF 424/PHS 398 description) however we did take the liberty of making the usual headings a bit more conversational in appearance and that may have led to your concerns. Keep in mind also, however, that the New Investigator Award is an “investigator-initiated project” so you would be responsible for defining and defending all aspects of your study to reviewers within the Major Sections. (NACC itself does not review nor take part in the review of these applications, that is the province of the elected Scientific Review Committee.)

      Here are the more familiar section headings of the PHS 398 Research Plan (Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation, Approach) and how they relate to the headings that were included in our announcement.

      • A. Research question/hypothesis and brief rationale (approximately one-half page):

        SPECIFIC AIMS: what research questions/hypotheses will the study address?

      • B. Background (approximately one page):

        SIGNIFICANCE: what is the scientific basis for the AIMS? Why are they important?

      • C. Overall significance of the research (approximately one-half page):

        SIGNIFICANCE: how will the field benefit if the AIMS are achieved?

      • D. Methodological development and innovative strategies (2 pages maximum)

        INNOVATION: what established basis and “innovative clinical, laboratory and/or statistical designs and methods will be brought to bear on completing the AIMS; Are the AIMS themselves innovative?

      • E. Analytic Approach (3 pages maximum):

        APPROACH: What is your experimental/observational design? …rationale for source and selection of participants; magnitude of potential effect, sample size and power…; detailed laboratory and statistical methods. How will you actually “do” each AIM individually and ensure that the result is valid and interpretable?

    • We have an investigator who will submit a two-year project for the Traditional Track; would you please confirm we should combine all costs for both years to list on the PHS 398 Initial Budget Period form in one year?
      Yes, you should combine all costs. No need to break out costs by year on Budget Justification. Please submit just one detailed budget form for both years.
    • Could you confirm whether I should list the sponsor for this application as University of Washington, NIA, or NACC?
      The Sponsor is the University of Washington.
    • Should we use our ADRC’s full federally negotiated F&A rate on our budget?
      Yes, please use the F&A rate that you would use if you were applying directly to the NIH.
    • I was wondering if letters of support (besides the ADRC head letter) are allowed and/or encouraged for this award?
      Along with the required letter from your ADRC Director, you can include letter(s) from your Mentor(s). You can also include a letter if it shows approved access to specific data or lab materials or imaging etc. that might not be paid for by the New Investigator Award and would support your ability to do the study. Letters supporting your academic achievements or character references, while nice, are not necessary for the New Investigator Award.
    • If I use less space than is recommended for one of the components (e.g., 2 pages for the analytical approach), can I allocate the additional space (1 page) to another component? In other words, do I have 7 pages to lay out my research plan or should I adhere to the page limits outlined in the instructions (so if I use 2 out of 3 pages for my analytical approach, my research plan will only be 6 pages)?
      Yes, provided you stay within the 7-page limit you can add your additional component.
    • Do I have to keep the methodological development and analytical approach components separate or can they be integrated (e.g., methodological development for Aim 1, analytical approach for Aim 1; methodological development for Aim 2, analytical approach for Aim 2)?
      Yes, you can integrate the methodological development and analytical approach for each Aim as long as they are addressed in your research plan.
    • Will you confirm the IDC rate applicants should use on New Investigator Award budgets? Is it the federal negotiated rate for our institution or does this award fall under a lower IDC category?
      New Investigator Award proposals should use the federally negotiated IDC rate of their ADRC.
    • I am an assistant Professor, appointed 3 years ago but an mPI of a R01 grant (not a corresponding PI), would this exclude me from applying to this award?
      Yes, being an mPI on an existing R01 will exclude you from the NACC award competition.
    • My position is classified as a "Research Associate" and is consistent with that of a mentored, postdoctoral training position that additionally meets my capacity to function as a research clinician (DPT/PhD) at our institution that is necessary for my clinical translational research project in ADRD. Does my position meet the eligibility criteria to apply for this award?
      Yes, the intent of the New Investigator Awards is to provide funding for early career and new investigators who have not received an R01 or similar type funding, and who are not classified as Senior Investigators.
    • I am a postdoctoral researcher at an ADRC. Do researchers with a temporary visa status (F1- OPT) eligible to apply for the New Investigator Awards?
      At the time of application, you must have a visa status that shows that you will be eligible to remain in the United States through the latest possible end date of the award, 06/01/2024.
    • If the investigator from our subaward institution is interested in applying, does this mean they will need to apply through the Prime institution that has the ADRC award?
      Yes, the ADRC Director must provide a letter acknowledging that the applicant is actually “affiliated with” (i.e., a known participating researcher/clinician with the ADRC). The applicant does not have to be a formally listed “co-investigator” on the ADRC grant per se but acknowledged by the Director as a researcher/clinician in the studies supported by the infrastructure of the ADRC. The funds will be dispersed through the ADRC institution’s subcontract with NACC.
    • Are investigators from Exploratory ADRCs eligible to apply?
    • I am a cardiologist working closely with an ADRC and I am interested in knowing if I am eligible for this RFA by the NACC New Investigator Awards?
      If your research your application proves you are “engaging in research related to Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases” and you are connected closely with research at an ADRC, you are eligible to apply. Please include a Letter of Acknowledgement from your ADRC Director with your application.
    • Is there a limit to the number of applications a single center can submit?
      No, we do not have a limit on the number of applications an ADRC can submit.
    • Our ADRC is a non-academic institute, so our investigator’s titles do not follow the academic ranking system (e.g faculty ranks). If an applicant has a position that is equivalent to that of an assistant professor, are they eligible to apply? And do we need to include any documentation confirming such equivalency?
      Yes, if your positions are equivalent, you are eligible to apply for the New Investigator Awards. Please include a 1-2 sentence note about the equivalency in your final application.
    • My project focuses on the cellular and molecular investigations of a new treatment approach for Alzheimer’s Disease using cell lines and transgenic animal models. Since my proposal will not involve human subjects or data analysis, I would like to know whether my study qualifies for the NACC New Investigator Award?
      Yes, your project would qualify for the New Investigator Award, as there is no strict “requirement” that basic science/animal model applications would be excluded from New Investigator Award applications. (There is also NO requirement to use NACC data, per se)
    • I am wondering whether investigators outside my organization can be consultants. Do they need to be affiliated with ADRC?
      There is no specific restriction on consultants. However, the consultants must also be “acceptable” to ADRC Director as consistent with the project; and perhaps more importantly that the Investigator themselves is primarily involved and “doing” the study as well as benefiting from the educational experience of completing a project.
    • Does the NACC new investigator award accept multiple PIs in the application?
      The intent is that there would be only a single PI, since the purpose is to provide essentially “pre-K” or pre R01 support for a single individual. While we have not specifically tested that premise with a vote of the Steering Committee at this point, we would expect that we would at least say that single PI is “strongly preferred.”
    • Does the NACC new investigator award accept data collection in the project?
      Data collection may always occur within the project, such that it is related to the research question which the subject of the application. Applications with only the goal of “collecting data” would be regarded as non-responsive or simply low impact.
    • Are New Investigator Awards independent from other sources of funding?
      You can apply for a New Investigator Award even if you have received funding from another award or other funding source(s).
    • Does NACC honor the NIH 12-month extension within the 5 year-of-rank eligibility for parental leave or other qualified reason for absence?
      Yes, the NIH 12-month extension applies to the New Investigator Award funding as well.
    • I was looking for information on the allowable indirect cost of the New Investigator Award. Could you please clarify if there are any restrictions regarding indirect costs?

      The restrictions for indirect costs the New Investigator Awards:

      • Award Funding Amount: The maximum total funding for each project will be $135,000, which is inclusive of any indirect costs.
      • If the project is awarded funding by the Steering Committee, NACC will distribute the award to the Center Director as part of the Center's annual NACC sub-award.
      • The Director will be responsible for redistributing the funds internally (via an appropriate internal accounting mechanism) to the New Investigator and for tracking these project costs independently of expenditures associated with other NACC projects in the same funding cycle.

      Since The New Investigator Award is a supplement to the Center's NACC sub-award, the indirect cost rate is the same as your ADRC's rate. Please refer to your Center's NACC sub-award for details.

    If your question is not addressed in the FAQ, please contact us at
Selection Process
All New Investigator proposals are reviewed and scored by the Scientific Review Committee according to NIH guidelines and evaluation procedures. The award winners are then selected by the NACC Steering Committee based on these scores.
While a formal mentoring relationship with a senior investigator is not required, applicants are encouraged to include a senior investigator as a mentor or consultant.
FY2024-25 Project Timeline:
The project timeline can cover one or two years; however, because the funds will be awarded in the first year, the project's budget must be for a single year.

Key Dates

  • Fall 2023 - Funding Announcement
  • January 2024 - Applications Due
  • 2024 Spring ADRC Meeting - Award Announcement
  • June 2024 - Funding Awarded

How to Apply

  • Step 1: Write a Research Plan

    Prepare a research plan that emphasizes methods and uses the following outline format. DO NOT SKIP ANY SECTIONS. Applications missing any of the following will be returned to the PI with no further review taking place. The completed research plan should be inserted at the end of your application packet.
    • Research  - question/hypothesis and brief rationale  (approximately one-half page)
    • Background (approximately one page)
    • Overall significance of the research (approximately one-half page)
    • Methodological development and innovative strategies (two-page maximum)
    • Analytical approach  - Describe the analysis plan in detail for each specific aim that will be used to produce the results.  Please include the following:
      • A brief statement of representative data analysis projects for which you have conducted the analysis yourself in the past; include the study design, software used and statistical techniques applied.
      • A brief summary of the statistical analysis you expect to conduct to evaluate your hypotheses/research aims, including details about the types of estimates (e.g., odds ratios), statistical methods, and statistical software to be used. We understand that hypotheses and research aims may change over time, but please summarize your expected analysis based on your proposed research aims (three-page maximum).
    • If using NACC Data  include the potential data elements to be used as dependent and independent variables; additional data collection, if needed  (no page limit)
    • Mentoring plan (single page, if applicable)
    • ADRC site visit / collaboration plan (single page, if applicable)
    • Citation list (no page limit)
  • Step 2: Prepare a Research Proposal
    All proposals must be prepared and submitted as a single PDF file via online submission. All forms packets should include the following PHS 398 form pages.
    • Page 1 -  Cover (Face page) - The Center Director must be listed as the PI on the face page, with the New Investigator and any mentor(s) listed in the multiple PI section on the continuation page. The initial proposal does not have to be signed, but if the project is awarded funding, then a face page signed by a grants official will be required. Funding will be awarded to the Center Director, not the New Investigator (see section titled “Budget considerations” on page 3.) PHS 398 Cover Page Template
    • Page 2 -  Description, Performance Sites, Key Personnel, Other Significant Contributors. PHS 398 Template
    • Page 3 -  Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period (funding can be for one year or spread over two years). The Center Director and mentor are asked not to request FTE on the application. PHS 398 Template
    • Page 4 -  Budget Justification PHS 398 Template
    • Page 5 -  Biographical Sketch Format page (for the New Investigator and mentor only)  
    • Page 6 -  Resources Format page PHS 398 Template
    • Page 7 -  Checklist Form page PHS 398 Template
    • Page 8  Signed letter of support from the Center Director (View Template) including the following:
      • Verification that the New Investigator has received appropriate training in the responsible conduct of research, as mandated by DHHS
      • Confirmation that the Director accepts responsibility for disbursing awarded funds to the New Investigator and tracking project costs
    • Beginning on Page 9  Research Plan (Follow guidelines listed above)
  • Step 3: Submit a Research Proposal
    Application packets must be submitted online. Please submit your application using the submittal form. For more information, contact NACC for assistance at
    Reminder: Please select one track to apply for.

    Submit Your Research Proposal Here

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