How to Apply

Jennifer Manly, Ph.D., Professor of Neuropsychology in Neurology and Adam Brickman, Ph.D., Professor of Neuropsychology in Neurology are pleased to announce the seventh annual call for pilot projects for the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease-related Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (AD-RCMAR) at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). 

CIRAD, the Columbia AD-RCMAR supports pilot proposals that address the fundamental causes of ADRD disparities (racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia), using multiple levels of analysis (environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, biological). The projects may include primary data collection and/or secondary data analysis and may leverage the numerous ADRD-related projects taking place at CUIMC or elsewhere. Projects should be completed within 12 months of the award with a budget of up to $50,000. We will support at least 3 applications for the 2024-25 academic year. 


  • Postdoctoral scientists/fellows and early-career researchers (established mid-career scientists who would like to leverage the pilot funds to transition into ADRD-relevant research may also apply). 
  • Applicants must meet the NIH definition of underrepresented in biomedical research.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an interest in an enduring career in ADRD-relevant research. 


If you have questions about eligibility, you are a potential applicant but do not yet have a mentor, or if you would like help with your application, please email the CIRAD Project Manager, Francisco Ángeles, at


Additional Information

  • The projects should preferably focus on aspects of human research in ADRD, including diagnosis, biomarkers, risk and resilience factors, interventions, and caregiving. Basic science projects with translational potential to disparities in ADRD will be considered. 
  • Evaluations will consider the applicant’s eligibility, focus on ADRD, scientific impact, appropriate mentorship, and potential for future NIH funding. 
  • The review process and award notification will be completed by Friday, April 5th, 2024.  
  • Investigators awarded with pilots will become CIRAD scientists and will have access to local and national career development resources, opportunities to attend national scientific and networking meetings, and access to the network of NIA funded RCMARs. 

Application Procedures: 


A brief letter of intent (due by February 21, 2024) 

All applicants are encouraged to send a brief letter of interest indicating your intention to apply. Please include your name, position, research mentor name (if identified), draft title, and how you meet criteria for NIH's Populations Underrepresented in the Extramural Scientific Workforce, and a brief personal statement with your career goals. Please send it to by the end of the day on Thursday, February 21, 2024. Once we know you are applying, we can help you pull your application together, provide templates, forms, etc. 


Full application (deadline: March 8, 2024)  

The application (single-spaced, 0.5 margins, Arial 11 font) must include the following:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Research Plan
    1. Specific Aims (1 page) State concisely the need for the proposed research, the goals of the proposed research, and summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved. List succinctly the specific objectives of the research proposed (e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology).
    2. Personal Statement and Career Goals (up to 1 page) Include a summary of your experience, preparation for research, and career objectives.
      1. The name(s) of your research mentoring team for this pilot award, their affiliations, and contact information.
      2. Please also indicate whether you have already received in the past, or whether you have concurrently applied for, pilot funding from any other RCMAR. 
      3. Also, please briefly address how your pilot project:
        1. Fosters rigorous behavioral and social science research on aging that can advance scientific discoveries aimed to eliminate health disparities and inequities.
        2. Aligns with your long-term research career objectives.
        3. Aligns with the NIA’s Strategic Directions for Research, 2020-2025, and the 2019 NACA BSR Review Committee Report.
        4. Contributes to submission of an NIA research grant application that will launch your enduring career in ADRD research.
    3. Significance/Background and Research Methods (2 pages) Include a discussion of research design, setting, participants and sources of participants, recruitment methods, measures to be used, sample size calculation as appropriate for your research design, and a detailed analytic plan. Include at least one paragraph on hypotheses/expected findings and implications of your study. If you have preliminary studies, you may include them here, but it is not required.
  3. Budget and Budget Justification: One-year budget not to exceed $50,000 for direct costs plus up to 8% of the direct costs for indirect costs) using NIH budget format and a budget justification. All studies and budgets will require approval by NIA and the RCMAR Coordinating Center if selected for funding. Expenses may include salary and fringe benefits for the pilot investigator and research staff, research supplies, and participant reimbursement.
  4. NIH Bio-Sketch 
  5. NIH Target-Planned Enrollment Table 


If you are notified that your pilot will be funded, the following documents will be requested before the application is sent to NIH for approval: 

  1. Human Subjects Protection Training certificate
  2. Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information
    1. Follow the 398 application instructions in Part I, 4.7 Resources.
    2. This information is used to assess the capability of the organizational resources available to perform the effort proposed.
      1. Identify the facilities to be used (laboratory, clinical, animal, computer, office, other). If appropriate, indicate their capacities, pertinent capabilities, relative proximity and extent of availability to the project. Describe only those resources that are directly applicable to the proposed work. Provide any information describing the Other Resources available to the project (e.g., machine shop, electronic shop) and the extent to which they would be available to the project.
      2. Describe how the scientific environment in which the research will be done contributes to the probability of success (e.g., institutional support, physical resources, and intellectual rapport). In describing the scientific environment in which the work will be done, discuss ways in which the proposed studies will benefit from unique features of the scientific environment or subject populations or will employ useful collaborative arrangements.
      3. For Early Stage Investigators, describe institutional investment in the success of the investigator, e.g., resources for classes, travel, training; collegial support such as career enrichment programs, assistance and guidance in the supervision of trainees involved with the ESIs project, and availability of organized peer groups; logistical support such as administrative management and oversight and best practices training; and financial support such as protected time for research with salary support
    3. Resources Sample

      Columbia University in the City of New York

      Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. Columbia University is committed to education for excellence -- a phrase that embraces superior teaching and the advancement of knowledge through research, preeminence in the professions, and leadership in community and national affairs. The University’s position as a private institution, its location in the Morningside Heights and Washington Heights areas of Manhattan; its 4,000 faculty, 8,700 undergraduate and 22,500 graduate, professional, and medical students, and its reputation provide the basis for this diversified, yet singular, educational purpose. Faculty awards and honors are numerous, including a total of 82 Nobel Prize winners. The University is proud to currently have on its faculty 2 Nobel Prize winners in Medicine, 19 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 49 members of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

      The main campus of CU occupies 32.6 acres on Morningside Heights on the upper west side of Manhattan (W. 111th to W. 123rd streets). The University administration and the Schools of Law, Business, Engineering, General Studies, Journalism, Music, Architecture, International Affairs, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Columbia College are located on the main campus, as are Barnard College and Teachers College. Two miles to the north is CU’s Health Science Center (HSC) Campus, which opened in 1928 and shares with NewYork-Presybterian Hospital a 20-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River.


      Columbia University Medical Center Campus

      The Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) campus is comprised of four schools: College of Physicians & Surgeons, Mailman School of Public Health, College of Dental Medicine, and School of Nursing. The Medical Center campus is 20 acres and is situated in the Washington Heights community of northern Manhattan. CUMC has over 2,400 full-time faculty members, and there are 25 academic departments and programs within the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The environment at CUMC is research intensive, with external grant support over $600 million annually, primarily in the form of grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). FY 2016 NIH research funding totaled over $460 million and consisted of 1,031 grants received, 532 principal investigators, and 808 full-time faculty working on NIH research grants. CUMC has established numerous programs and facilities for research, training, diagnosis and treatment in various fields


      Columbia University School of Nursing (CUSON)

      Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Columbia University School of Nursing is among the world’s leading centers of nursing education, research, and practice. Located in New York City, Columbia Nursing prepares its students to excel as clinicians, researchers, and nurse leaders in a rapidly evolving health care system. Established in 1892, the mission of Columbia University School of Nursing is to educate and mentor future generations of expert nurse clinicians and researchers. Columbia Nursing is part of CUMC, which also includes the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine. It is only one of eight schools in the nation associated with a major academic medical center. The school’s educational and research programs bring together the resources and unique partnership opportunities available at the CUMC to prepare nurses for leadership positions that improve the health and well-being of patients, families, and communities. The faculty, representing all clinical nursing disciplines, believes that in a dynamic society, education for membership in a profession includes development not only of expertise in a field, but also of social awareness and that the professional nurse has a responsibility to prepare and empower individuals to participation in their own care and treatment.