Call for Pilot Grants

Request for Pilot Proposals
Network on Life Course Health Dynamics and Disparities in 21st Century America
Due Date: Friday, January 10, 2020 @ 5:00pm


The Network on Life Course Health Dynamics and Disparities in 21st Century America (NLCHDD), funded by the National Institute on Aging, invites interested researchers to submit pilot proposals that have the potential to better understand how health and mortality outcomes across the adult life course are shaped by US state contexts.

The United States has poorer population health relative to most other high-income countries in the world and wild socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and gender disparities across a range of outcomes. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that population health in some US states is improving while in other states, key outcomes are stagnating or even getting worse. How and why do state-level contexts matter for the poor overall health in the US and for disparities across population subgroups? How and why do state-level contexts matter for growing disparities in population health across states? State-level contexts may vary from diverging tobacco control strategies, to minimum wage laws, to structures of taxation, to social and political characteristics, and more. The NLCHDD is looking for proposals that have the promise to advance science in this important area of study and to lead to fundable grant proposals.

Now in its sixth year of operation, the NLCHDD is a research network funded by the National Institute on Aging that promotes population research dedicated to understanding health dynamics and disparities in the United States. The network is led by Jennifer Ailshire (University of Southern California), Sarah Burgard (University of Michigan), Robert Hummer (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), and Jennifer Karas Montez (Syracuse University). It includes seasoned and emerging investigators from a number of universities around the country. This coming year, our focus will be on how state contexts influence disparities and trends in adult health and mortality. We are soliciting pilot projects in that area of focus.

Investigators may request total (direct + indirect) costs in the range of $10,000-$20,000 for pilot projects, with a limit of 8% on indirect costs (IDC). Funds can be used for research assistance, salaries, travel, data acquisition, etc. Principal Investigators must hold a PhD. We expect to make 3-4 awards.

January 10, 2020: Proposals are due in an NIH format that includes no more than 3 single-spaced pages including Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation, and Research Design. In addition, an NIH detailed Budget Page and Justification, and an NIH Biosketch for each project investigator, must be included. Please submit text and other requested materials in one PDF. Week of January 27, 2020: Notification of decisions and request for human subjects approvals. April 1, 2020: Estimated start date after notification of approval from NIA and IRB approval. Duration of Pilot Projects: Until June 30, 2020. See the FAQs page for information about project timing (

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: (1) You will be expected to give a brief overview of your project and fully participate in the NLCHDD annual meeting on the Saturday evening and Sunday (April 25-26, 2020) after the annual meeting of the Population Association of America in Washington, DC; (2) Presentation of findings from the project must be given at the NLCHDD meeting on May 8-9, 2021, the Saturday/Sunday directly following the annual meeting of the Population Association of America in St. Louis, MO; (3) Participation in future NLCHDD annual meetings and activities ; (4) A written report upon completion of the project. Subsequent outcomes – such as resulting proposals, research funding, and publications – must also be reported to the NLCHDD. All research resulting from the pilot grant must credit NIA grant 2R24 AG045061. All publications stemming from the work must be submitted to PubMed Central.

Cover page with title and investigator’s name and an abstract that clarifies the value of the research; NIH Face-Page (Form Page 1); NIH biosketch for all key-personnel; a PHS 398 budget page (Form Page 4 – and budget justification; plus 3-page proposal covering specific aims, significance, innovation, and research design/methods. Proposals using human subjects will need institutional IRB approval before funding is awarded. Note: When calculating total requested budget, IDC amount is part of the total budget and should be included on the budget form on the line that says “Consortium/Contractual Costs – Facilities and Administrative Costs.”

Proposals will be evaluated for: (a) the quality of the proposed research; (b) relatedness of research to the NLCHDD topic for the year; (c) likelihood that proposed work will result in K99/R00, K01, R03, R01 funding within 2 years; (d) likelihood the research will result in important publications with insights into population health; (e) credentials of investigators. Early investigators are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants planning to analyze state-level contextual data may want to use data from the Correlates of State Policy Project ( or other data listed here:

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: Please submit proposals as a single PDF file by Friday, January 10th to Kathy Forrest at

For more information about scientific issues, please contact:
Jennifer Ailshire, University of Southern California (
Sarah Burgard, University of Michigan (
Robert Hummer, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (
Jennifer Karas Montez, Syracuse University (

For more information about administrative and budget issues, please contact:
Kathy Forrest at