Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease

Pilot Project Grant Opportunity

Two $35,000 Pilot Awards from the Northwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center

Applications are currently being sought by the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer's Disease (Mesulam Center) for two Pilot Project grants. The application deadline is February 1, 2019. Please feel free to pass along the attached announcement to colleagues as appropriate.

NOTE: All NU Faculty are eligible. Postdoctoral fellows are also eligible with a letter from their mentor supporting the application and confirming the time and resource commitment. 

For complete instructions, please see the attached PDF file, or read below:

Pilot Project Announcement


The proposed research project must be relevant to clinical or basic research on Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias or cognitive aging. Frontotemporal degeneration, primary progressive aphasia and unusually successful brain aging are additional areas of emphasis. Proposals that address normal cognition in topics relevant to dementia will also be accepted. Proposals that are based on human subjects of the Northwestern Alzheimer’s Disease Center or its tissue resources (DNA, fixed brain, frozen brain) will be given priority. The principal investigator must hold a faculty appointment, or be a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. Students and residents are not eligible to be the principal applicant.

Amount and Duration: 

Pilot grants are limited to one year of support. Projects with meritorious progress can apply for a second year of funding. The maximum level of support will be $35,000 in direct costs annually. An investigator will be eligible only once for pilot project support unless a convincing case is made that the new proposal constitutes a significant departure from the previous funded pilot project. Proposals selected by the internal review committee will be forwarded to the National Institutes of Aging (NIA) who will give final approval on the awards..

Application Deadline:

Applications are due February 1, 2019. Formal IRB or ACUC approval will be required before projects can begin. Applicants will be notified of award decision around April 1, 2019.

Application Format:

(*Please note PHS398 (Rev. 1/18) must be used; text must be in Arial 11 pt font)
Applications should be submitted electronically at the review stage. You do not need to submit your application to OSR. (Once proposals are chosen for submission to the NIA, both electronic and hard copy versions are required, including applicable signatures from PI and the Office of Sponsored Research at Northwestern University).

Applications must adhere to all NIH formatting guidelines. Please include:

1. Face Page (form page 1)
2. Project Summary, Relevance, Performance Site, and KeyPpersonnel (form page 2)
3. Detailed Budget for the 12‐month pilot project (form page 4). Project PIs are required to have effort whether directly charged or cost‐shared
4. Budget Justification
5. Biographical Sketches (NIH‐style forkeypersonnel)
6. Other Support (specify any potentialoverlap)
7. Resources and Environment (relevant to thepilotproject)
8. Research Plan: Specific Aims, Background & Significance, Innovation, Research Design &Methods, Literature (Max pages of 5 including figures and references)
9. Human Subjects or Vertebrate Animals (as applicable) 

**FOR POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS ONLY: You must also include with your application a letter from your Mentor supporting the application and confirming the time and resource commitment. If you are on a visa, proof that your visa extends through the duration of the project period will be required. You cannot hold a National Service Research Award (NRSA) or NIH training grant appointment and a Pilot Project simultaneously.

Electronic versions of the form pages can be downloaded at:

Target categories for support:

Junior investigators, who require initial support in order to obtain feasibility data for future R01-type applications.
Established investigators (testing a new hypothesis or methodology that is not an extension of ongoing research or is a high-risk new project not currently supported by their current grant support).
Established investigators in other fields (who wish to bring novel approaches to AD/dementia/aging research).

Review Criteria:

1. Significance to the field/Innovation
2. Scientific merit and experimental design
3. Use of subjects and/or tissue from the Clinical and/or Neuropathology Cores of the Northwestern Alzheimer’s Disease Center
4. Appropriateness of proposed research time schedule
5. Appropriateness of proposed budget
6. Probability that the pilot project will lead to independent funding

Key Dates:

December 1, 2018 – Applications open
February 1, 2019 – Applications due
April 1, 2019 – Awards announced
July 1, 2019 – Project begins (subject to NIA approval)
June 30, 2020 - Project period ends

Reporting Requirements:

Grantees will be required to summarize their research progress in April 2020. A final research and expenditures report will be required in October 2020. Pilot grant awardees will be expected to present a poster summarizing their grant progress during Alzheimer’s Day in May 2020. Investigators should acknowledge Northwestern Alzheimer’s Disease Center support and grant number P30AG13854 on any publications resulting from pilot grant support.

Please submit your application in PDF format at: 

Further information on the Pilot Grant program can be obtained from Dr. John Disterhoft at: