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2024 Pilot Project Program Grant Application Information

Submissions of Letters of Intent for the 2024 cycle are now closed. 

About the program:

The Landon Center on Aging (LCOA) announces the second year of our Pilot Project Program to support novel and collaborative studies relevant to aging, age-related diseases, healthspan, and longevity. The KU LCOA anticipates funding up to three awards with maximum direct costs of $50,000 each. No dollars may be spent on faculty salaries.

Application Milestones:

02/01/2024 - Open Request for Letters of Intent

02/29/2024 - Letter of Intent Submission Deadline

03/11/2024 - Notification of Invitation to Submit Full Proposal

04/11/2024 - Application Submission Deadline

May 2024 (Anticipated) - Award Announcements

Background and Scope

The LCOA is dedicated to promoting health and well-being among older adults through excellence in education, research, clinical care, and community service.  The LCOA seeks to expand utilizable medical knowledge through research on aging and age-related diseases.  In addition, we seek to establish an environment that fosters geroscience research, mentorship, and education; promotes institutional leadership in the field; and nurtures an increasing and progressively diverse pool of geroscience researchers at the University of Kansas and beyond.

The goals of the LCOA Pilot Project Program are to:

  • Provide support for early-stage projects to generate data that will lead to successful external applications focused on aging and age-related diseases.
  • Facilitate the translation of research advances into improved diagnoses and care for older adults and their families.
  • Advance innovative interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborative research to detect, understand, and minimize frailty and maximize resilience and healthspan in older adults.

Funding Opportunity Description and Award Information


The LCOA Pilot Project Program supports rigorous, innovative, and collaborative research that will advance the LCOA mission and lay the foundation for successful grant applications to the National Institutes of Health.


A major focus for the LCOA is minimizing frailty and maximizing resilience to enhance healthspan and quality of life during aging and in older adults.  This includes physical performance, functional capacity, and cognition.  Applications are desired that address resilience, particularly within frameworks such as benchtop-to-bedside, cells-to-community, and lab-to-living room.  Proposals can utilize cellular, animal, or clinical models.

Investigators are highly encouraged to consult and collaborate with current core LCOA faculty and researchers regarding guidance of project development and implementation.  Resources also include the Human Performance Laboratory, for which questions can be addressed to Dr. Jacob Sosnoff.

Award Information

The award period is one year.  Investigators will be expected to submit external applications within one year of completing their pilot project.


Faculty members, staff scientists, or adjunct faculty members of KU-Lawrence and KUMC with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research are eligible to apply as Principal Investigators (PIs).  The most competitive applications will demonstrate a clear and rapid path towards external (preferably NIA) funding in the fields of aging and age-related diseases and also help to lay a collaborative foundation for the development and submission of successful program project grants.  While all investigators are eligible to apply, early-career investigators and those not currently performing aging and age-related research will be given additional consideration for funding.


Application and Submission

Letter of Intent

A non-binding letter of intent is required.  The letter of intent form is accessed through the link below and will require the following information:

  • Name, institution, and contact information for the submitting principal investigator;
  • A descriptive title of the proposed research (up to 80 characters);
  • A brief description (250 words or fewer) of the proposed research, sufficient to allow the LCOA Pilot Project Program review committee to determine if the project addresses the mission of the program.

Complete the submission form at the above link to RedCap no later than 5 p.m. on the submission deadline (2/29/24).

Address program questions to Kathryn Swagerty and send technical support questions about the RedCap form to Deborah Barton.


Proposal - Required Submission Items

Those invited to submit a full application will receive a link to the application portal. Applications must be completed online.  The application portal will provide space to upload a single PDF containing the following items:

  1. Face Page: List the project title, investigator names and titles, and provide an abstract of the proposal (250 words or less).
  2. Research Plan: Provide a detailed research plan (not to exceed 4 pages) similar to the NIH R03 grant mechanism. Specific page limitations and sections for this pilot project program are as follows:
    • Specific Aims (up to 1 page)
    • Significance, Innovation, Approach, and Future Potential (up to 3 pages, including preliminary data and figures).
      In the 3 pages, applicants should describe what data will be used in future grant applications, specific extramural funding announcements for which the project would be suitable, and how the project can contribute to the development of collaborative and center-scale grant applications that align with the theme described above. No supplemental material is allowed. 
    • References (not included in the page limit)

**Use 11pt Arial font and no less than 0.5” margins.  Additional information on an NIH R03 style research plan can be found on the NIH website.

  1. Detailed Budget: Requests should not exceed $50,000 in direct costs and may not include salary for faculty and/or the principal investigator. Smaller grants are encouraged. No indirect (F & A) dollars are awarded.
    • Some effort for the PI is required, and assistant and staff salaries are permitted.  Salary support must be commensurate with the effort required to complete the project.
  2. NIH Biographical Sketch: A biographical sketch in the current NIH format, including a project-specific personal statement, is required for each investigator, including Co-Investigators.


Additional Sections and Components

  • Letters of Support: Letters of support are strongly encouraged for any resource not directly under the control of the PI. This may include a letter of support from a Co-I regarding access to the needed resource.
  • Statement of Effort: Statement in the form of a letter signed by the department chair or appropriate supervisor specifying the percentage effort the awardee will devote to the research project during the award period.

Application Review Information

Peer Review

Each application will undergo peer review by at least two reviewers. Final funding decisions will be made by the Director of the LCOA based upon reviewer feedback and discussion.  All applicants will receive written feedback on their proposals.

Key Review Criteria

Several factors are considered during the funding decision-making process.  These include:

  • External fundability: Potential for future external
  • Significance: Scientific, technical, or clinical significance and innovation, along with the likelihood for publication of the proposed work.
  • Thematic focus: Appropriateness for mission and thematic scope of the LCOA, with a geroscience and resilience focus.
  • Collaborative approach: Applicants are strongly encouraged to develop interdisciplinary geroscience initiatives with existing Landon Center on Aging faculty and to utilize Landon Center on Aging resources and cores.
  • Investigator: Qualifications and research experience of the research team, and evidence of commitment to research on aging and age-related diseases.

Additional criteria helpful to the review are:

  • Clear milestones for progress
  • Compliance with human subjects protection or animal use and care guidelines
  • Clear demonstration that the proposed work can be completed in a timely manner

Award Administration Information

Funding Timeline

For projects requiring Human Subjects Committee or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval, funding cannot begin until the approval is obtained.

Contact Information

For more information regarding thematic focus, please contact Dr. Bruce Troen. For questions that arise regarding the application process that are not covered in this RFA, please contact Gabriela Samborski.

Post-award Information

Awardees will provide a mid-year progress report and a final comprehensive progress report regarding study-related productivity, such as manuscripts, grant applications, and funding.

In addition, awardees are expected to present their projects as part of an LCOA seminar series.  The LCOA will contact PIs regarding the scheduling of the seminar.

updated March 11, 2024. 

Landon Center on Aging

University of Kansas Medical Center 
Landon Center on Aging
Mail Stop 1005
3901 Rainbow Boulevard 
Kansas City, KS 66160 
Fax: 913-945-7544