Aging Research Dissertation Awards

This dissertation research award is designed to stimulate the participation of individuals in aging research from the following underrepresented groups.

Sponsor: National Institute on Aging (NIA)


As part of NIA's broader effort to increase the diversity of the research workforce on aging, the institute is offering dissertation support to eligible students. This dissertation research award announcement is intended to stimulate the participation of individuals from the following groups:

  1. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups

  2. Individuals with disabilities

  3. Individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, which have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research


Eligibility is related to contributing to the diversity of the workforce in research on aging.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is particularly interested in assisting the following classes of candidates to complete their research doctoral education:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting and individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the applicant institution are eligible for support under this program.

  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

  • Individuals who were raised in a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at the Department of Health and Human Services Web site. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such candidates have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or that they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

  • Come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Eligibility related to Predoctoral and dissertation-eligible status

You are eligible to apply for this award provided that:

you are registered in an accredited research doctoral degree program;
you are in good-standing in that program;
you will have completed all non-dissertation requirements for your degree by the anticipated start date of the award (except a clinical internship where that is required to follow the dissertation phase);
your doctoral committee has approved your dissertation proposal;
you are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national (e.g., residents of U.S. territories), or permanent resident by the time of award.
Note that individuals supported under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms, including F30 and F31 Predoctoral fellowships and Predoctoral trainees on NIH institutional research training awards, are eligible to apply for a dissertation award. However, as these awards cover full-time effort and provide a small amount that may be used to support dissertation research expenses, such students may only receive the up to $15,000 allowed for additional, non-salary expenses, and must provide a statement that these expenses are not supported through the active training grant or fellowship. The request for support must also satisfy institutional policies, and must not conflict with NRSA policies.

How to Apply

Visit the National Institute on Aging's Web site or contact Dr. Michael-David ARR Kerns for more information.