Seed Pilots for Aging Research Collaboration (SPARC): RCCN Pilot Grants to Promote Inter-NIA Center Collaborative Research

Funding Agency:
Research Centers Collaborative Network

The Research Centers Collaborative Network (RCCN) goal is to catalyze enduring, collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects across NIA center programs by funding pilot, planning or meeting grants of up to $65,000. Proposals should address topics spanning the missions of multiple NIA Center programs. Relevant topics are exemplified by the themes of RCCN-sponsored workshops, but other topics relevant to the NIA center programs will also be considered. Each project should involve at least two NIA-sponsored research centers. There are two deadlines annually and up to two awards will be granted each cycle.

This mechanism provides funding to catalyze enduring collaborations for at least two collaborative pilot, planning or meeting grants supporting interdisciplinary research in cross cutting theme areas per grant cycle. Each award will provide up to $65,000 in direct costs. The proposals must include investigators affiliated with at least two different NIA Centers Programs (AITCs, Shock, Roybal, Older American Independence Centers (Pepper), Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, Centers for Demography and Economics of Aging, and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers). Investigators not affiliated with these NIA programs may also be included. Applications may seek support to collect or analyze data, convene experts to explore aspects of the theme area in detail, or develop multi- or interdisciplinary conceptual models to motivate further cross-center work. There must be clear evidence that all investigators will contribute meaningfully to the intellectual design and conduct of the research.


  • LOI Deadlines: April 1 and October 1
  • Invitation for full applications: May 1 and November 1
  • Full application deadline: June 1 and December 1

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

  • Principal investigators must be faculty who are affiliated with any of the 7 NIA Center programs as confirmed by letters from the directors of the relevant Center programs.

    • In general, NIA Center affiliation means either: 1. Having (partial) salary support through an NIA Center Program; or 2. Having previously received pilot funding, accessed Center data, used center cores, or received mentoring. Other forms of affiliation will also be considered
  • Investigators who are not (yet) faculty can be Co-Investigators on the grant.
  • Proposals must include investigators affiliated with at least 2 different NIA Center programs.
  • Proposals can be submitted by two or more Center Program investigators at the same institution or Center Program investigators at different institutions.
  • Small clinical trials are eligible.



Funding Type





Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

April 1, 2024