Glenn Foundation for Medical Research Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award

Funding Agency:
American Federation for Aging Research

Aging is the single greatest risk factor for many chronic diseases. Therefore, the connection between aging research and disease or disability prevention is becoming increasingly important as the global population ages. Substantial progress has been made in defining fundamental biological mechanisms underlying aging processes. Early discoveries are now showing potential for prevention of diseases and disorders of aging.

Future progress depends on gaining a deeper understanding of how aging processes affect health span and how we can translate that knowledge as quickly as possible to benefit human health and promote the overall well-being of our aging population.

Sponsored by the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, in collaboration with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the "Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG)" initiative provides timely support to a small number of research projects which if successful offer significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging. Projects which build on early discoveries that show translational potential for clinically relevant strategies, treatments and therapeutics, addressing human aging and health span are also considered.

Projects that focus on specific diseases or on assessment of health care strategies will receive lower priority, unless the research plan makes clear and direct connections to fundamental issues in the biology of aging and/or on the translational aspects of basic discovery to human aging and healthspan.

Two three-year awards will be made in 2022, at the level of $300,000 total ($100,000 per year), of which a maximum of 8% may be used for indirect expenses or institutional overhead. The amount and the duration of the award may be modified if during the review process or at the funding stage it is evident that such modifications would better serve the objectives of the program.


Deadline for Letter of Intent: Jan. 25, 2022

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, applicants must at the time they submit their proposal be full-time faculty members at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. To be competitive at the Assistant Professor level, a candidate would be expected to have established R01 or equivalent funding. The BIG award is not intended to substitute for the R01 funding mechanism, but rather to provide support for innovative and groundbreaking, rather than incremental, research projects in established laboratories. A strong record of independent publication beyond the postdoctoral level is a requirement. Individuals who are employees in the NIH Intramural program are not eligible. Principal Investigators supported through Paul F. Glenn Centers for Biology of Aging Research are not eligible to apply.

Applicants from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

The proposed research must be conducted at qualified not-for-profit setting in the United States. Former AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty awardees may apply; former BIG awardees may NOT apply. If you are applying for a 2022 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR Grant for Junior Faculty, you may not also apply for the 2022 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research BIG Award.



Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

January 25, 2022