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Goals & Background

The NIH has offered the ACCEL Program supplemental funds for proposals related to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias . awards are to develop new and/or expand ongoing pilot projects to address aging. Aging is a significant risk factor for most adult-onset cancers and Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias. The inclusion of underserved and understudied populations in research studies is encouraged. Examples of research areas that might qualify for this administrative supplement program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Biologic and genetic mechanisms of aging
  • Preclinical drug/drug combination development in an aging context
  • Cancer- and cancer treatment-related neurocognitive function
  • Treatment tolerability, toxicity, and symptom management
  • Behavioral and social risk factors and outcomes
  • Attention, sensation, and perception
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Clinical trial development for, and accrual of, older adults
  • Transitions in care and models of health care delivery
  • Multimorbidity/multiple chronic conditions
  • Computational methods, biostatistical tools, and measurement development
  • NIA hosts a website that provides details on how Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias are defined and provides some examples of currently supported research. 

The supplemental funds will support multi-disciplinary approaches (including scientists, practitioners, community and local government), and community engagement projects to address Alzheimer’s research.

Up to $250,000 (D/C) may be requested by the ACCEL Program.


The timeline for this is very short, as the deadline for submission to the NIH is March 6, 2020.  Please complete and submit your application no later than the EOB February 14, 2020 by 5 pm.  The proposals must be submitted electronically using the ACCEL website .   Note that all investigators on the proposal must have user accounts on the ACCEL website prior to submission.


The proposal format (11 point, Arial) is similar to that for an NIH R03 proposal, except in terms of the length of the research description section. Proposals should be submitted at using PHS 398 forms. Instructions can be found here Each proposal should include the following sections:

  1. NIH face page download here
  2. NIH Page 2&3: Summary, Relevance, Project/Performance Sites, Senior/Key Personnel download here
  3. Budget using NIH forms Page 4, including budget justification on Page 5 (download here and here) with a timeline for spending.
  4. Biographical Sketch(es) of PI and Key Personnel and collaborators who would play a significant role in accomplishing the goals of the proposal (use this new here )
  5. Research Strategy (see below—using NIH continuation forms here)
  6. Plan for future extramural funding (1/2 page) outlining the anticipated project and how it will lead to further research grant applications addressing Alzheimer’s and its related dementias.
  7. A letter of Support from the PI’s Department Head/Chair and each of the team members.

Research Strategy

The Research Strategy section of the proposal (section E above) should describe the (1) Specific Aims of the work, (2) Significance, (3) Innovation, and (4) Approach. Together, these should be no more than seven pages in length. Strong scientific justification for the work is required

IRB/IACUC Approval

Human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Vertebrate animal IACUC approval is not required at the time of pilot project submission. However, if applicable, such approval will be required before the selected pilot projects will be funded.


Investigators who will be doing work at hospitals may need to obtain credentials. Such investigators are encouraged to begin that process well in advance of the start date of the grant as the process can take several months.


Each proposal must be submitted by one investigator from one of the ACCEL partner institutions: University of Delaware, Nemours, ChristianaCare, Delaware State University and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Proposals that include investigators from multiple partner institutions are especially encouraged and are given priority. Note: multiple PI applications are not allowed and only a single PI will be recognized as team leader.

Leaders of these awards must hold a faculty appointment or equivalent at the time the pilot award commences. These are individuals who can independently apply for Federal or non-Federal investigator-initiated peer-reviewed Research Project Grants (RPG). Individuals holding postdoctoral fellowships or other positions that lack independent status are not eligible to lead pilot projects.


Awardees will submit a follow up research grant application. Awardees are required to attend the annual ACCEL Research Conference and to present their work at the annual (national or regional) NIH IDeA Conference. They are required to cite the ACCELgrant (NIH U54 GM104941) on all publications and to submit quarterly progress reports. Award recipients must keep ACCEL profiles up to date (at least twice per year) and respond to ACCEL surveys.  They will be responsible for reporting on any outcomes at the end of award and up to three years post award end. 


For questions about the Pilot Grant Program and review process contact, Susanne M. Morton, P.T., Ph.D., ACCEL Pilot Projects Program Lead. PIs should work with institutional ACCEL research officers prior to submission on the website:

Christiana Care: Mia Papas
Delaware State University: Sangeeta Gupta
Medical University of South Carolina: Carrie Hackett
Nemours:  Denise AxSmith
University of Delaware: Laura Holmes