Maria Carranza, Senior Training Officer
Laura Major, Training Officer, Office of Strategic Extramural Programs

A key part of NIA’s mission is to develop the careers of research scientists and clinicians focused on aging topics, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, but how early can we start cultivating an interest? Focusing on the earliest stages of education is one promising approach. That’s why NIA supports programs to provide aging research education beginning with pre-kindergarten children and expanding to include high school students and teachers, undergraduates, and postbaccalaureate researchers.

If you are an educator, mentor, or student seeking funding for your work to help train the next generation of scientists, NIA has three options available, all of which have Spring 2024 application due dates.

Training with a lifetime impact

Our training trio includes the Expanding Research in Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ERA), Advancing Diversity in Aging Research (ADAR), and Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) programs. Students supported by these programs describe the high-tech training experience as having a lasting impact for mentoring and inspiration in their careers.

NIA has previously featured the ERA program in our blog and would like to remind readers that ERA includes two parts that both provide research experiences in Alzheimer’s and related dementias research. One supports summer programs for high school students, undergraduate college students, or K-12 science teachers focused on enhancing participants’ understanding of dementia. The other supports immersive one- to two-year programs for recent baccalaureate graduates focused on robustly preparing participants to pursue advanced degrees and other research-related career opportunities in the Alzheimer’s field. Apply for our ERA programs by May 24, 2024.

Through the ADAR research education program, NIH supports the development and implementation of research programs for a diverse pool of undergraduate college students. The proposed education programs support intensive aging research experiences to prepare undergraduate students to transition into strong, research-focused advanced degree programs or competitive private sector research careers in aging-related disciplines. Apply to the current NIH ADAR funding opportunity by May 25, 2024.

SEPA is a trans-NIH program that supports educators to design activities that encourage pre-college students (pre-kindergarten to grade 12) from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, to pursue further studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through SEPA, NIH funds two types of projects: classroom-based projects for pre-college students and teachers, and informal science education projects conducted in outside-the-classroom venues such as science centers, museums, and libraries. Apply to develop a SEPA program at your organization by June 7, 2024.

Reach out with your questions

Join NIA in supporting early career investigators to pursue aging research careers! If you’re planning to apply for SEPA, ADAR, or ERA’s upcoming deadlines, NIA’s training officers are happy to answer your questions at If you are a mentor or student who has benefited from these or similar programs, please leave a comment below!

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