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Midwest Roybal Center Pilot Grants

The Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation holds two pilot grant competitions each year for UIC researchers whose studies aim to improve the health of older adults.

Applicants may participate in only one competition during a calendar year. Previous grantees are welcome to submit new applications.

Campus-Wide Competition 2021-2022

We are pleased to announce this opportunity for pilot funding from our Midwest Roybal Center. Our Roybal Center was renewed for five years by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). We have the capacity to fund two, Year Four pilot projects beginning June 1, 2022. Projects could be funded up to $50,000 for 1 year, from June 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023. If funded, it is very important that applicants strive to complete their projects within a year of funding.

We ask that persons who intend to submit an application submit a letter of intent to Andrew Demott, MPH, by November 15, 2021. The letters will help us to appoint appropriate reviewers to the Review Committee.

Investigators who seek funding are required to submit a three-page description of their proposed projects as part of a full application by December 3, 2021. The Roybal Executive Committee will review proposals before December 10, 2021 and will work with proposed awardees to finalize submissions to NIA for final approval by March 30, 2022.
Download Campus-Wide Application.

The Midwest Roybal Center Pilot Competition supports the efforts of researchers to translate basic behavioral and social science research findings to benefit the health and wellbeing of older adults (50+) living in the U.S. Fundable pilots must be interventions that have a strong promise of potential to progress across the NIH Stage Model. Although pilots may address all Stages of the NIH Stage Model, we expect that most pilots will be Stage 1 and will use a randomized controlled trial design to assess intervention safety, feasibility and preliminary effectiveness. All pilots should have a sound scientific basis, be highly innovative, and provide data needed for external grant applications to NIH, preferably the National Institute on Aging (NIA). These pilots are generally funded at the level of $50K per pilot for a period of 12 months. The current Roybal Center has been designated an Alzheimer’s Disease/Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (AD/ADRD) Center and seeks to fund pilots that advance cognitive function in older adults by focusing on one or more of the following topic areas:

1. Physical activity (PA) promotion interventions to reduce sedentary behavior and increase exercise engagement.

2. Interventions are expected to maintain and enhance mobility in targeted samples.

3. Investigators are encouraged to use cutting-edge technology to promote healthy aging as part of the proposed
intervention, outcome measures, and/ or to assess/promote fidelity, and

4. Investigators must identify a proposed Mechanism of Action within the intervention that will increase adherence to
PA and will lead to long-term maintenance of behavior change

Please Note: The current Roybal Center has a focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. Therefore, all pilots should explain how their intervention will improve cognition among older adults. We encourage applicants to consider how they can incorporate cognition measures from the NIH Toolbox and whether direct MRI imaging will be appropriate to include as part of an approach.

All UIC researchers — faculty, doctorate-level researchers, and doctoral students — are eligible to apply for this funding. The announcement is usually made in the summer.

Doctoral Competition, 2021-2022

The Midwest Roybal Center is now accepting applications for the 2022–2023 funding period (June 1, 2022 - May 31, 2023). Letters of Intent are requested by Friday, April 22, 2022. Applications are due to Roxanne Dakers, MPH,, no later than Friday, April 29, 2022.
Download Doctoral Application.

Restricted to UIC doctoral candidates, this competition supports studies of health promotion (physical activity, mobility, and cognition); factors that enhance motivation for behavior change; and factors that promote the translation of evidenced based programs into activities that are sustainable at the community level.

Proposals that do not specifically focus on older adults will not be reviewed. Proposals whose applicants have not completed preliminary examinations will not be reviewed.

Applicants may request up to $12,500 for a one-year study with potential for further study supported by an external sponsor, usually the National Institutes of Health. Most doctoral awardees use these funds to complete their dissertation research.

About This Center
The Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation is funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. 5P30AG022849) and led by Susan L. Hughes, DSW, director of IHRP's Center for Research on Health and Aging.

For more information about either pilot grant program, contact Roxanne Dakers, MPH at