Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Subspecialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) (R03)

Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Subspecialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) (R03)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health


Program Description

The goal of the Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program is to promote future leaders in clinical aging research across the range of medical and surgical specialties. To accomplish this goal, NIA will provide two years of support for small research projects to physicians trained in medical or surgical specialties who seek to become clinician-scientists in aging-related aspects of their specialty. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, physicians in traditional medical or surgical specialties, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, family medicine practitioners, general internists, general surgeons, geriatricians, hospitalists, neurologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, palliative care physicians, physiatrists, and psychiatrists.

The GEMSSTAR program is intended to support an early career physician’s first independent research project in aging. The GEMSSTAR program also provides an opportunity for applicants with funding support in non-aging-related fields to refocus their research efforts on aging-related issues. Thus, as the goal of the GEMSSTAR program is to promote future leaders in research on aging within their respective medical and surgical specialties, we seek applicants who aspire to continue or shift their research focus to bridge their specialty and the science of aging.

Research projects responsive to this initiative will combine aging with specialty clinical areas to focus on questions relevant to aging and/or the aged. The application should emphasize an integration of gerontologic or geriatric research with the candidate’s clinical specialty. Research could involve pilot or feasibility studies, secondary analyses of existing data, development of research methodology, development of new research technology, or other similar approaches. Projects may span the breadth of scientific domains, including basic, translational, clinical, genetic, or epidemiologic science. Human subjects, animal models, and in vitro systems are all acceptable as appropriate to the research questions. Projects should be appropriate to the background and level of experience of the applicant. Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Characterization of an aging-related disease, condition, syndrome, or phenomenon relevant to a clinical specialty
  • Pilot investigation of a specialty-related intervention in older adults
  • Elucidation of mechanisms underlying specialty-related diseases in older age
  • Identification of predictors and/or outcomes of specialty-related interventions specific to older populations
  • Development of strategies to address and/or integrate important complexities common in older patients including multiple chronic conditions, polypharmacy, palliative care, multispecialty guideline integration, and/or preservation of function, cognition and independence for patients within one’s clinical specialty.
  • Multidisciplinary care strategies, including transitions across care settings, to improve outcome in older patients

To maximize the likelihood of an early-career physician to successfully complete the R03 research project, the GEMSSTAR program strongly encourages applicants to complement their R03 project with an additional concurrent and individualized professional development plan. Such a plan would augment an applicant’s specialty skills and knowledge with individualized aging/geriatrics research skills and knowledge, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.  Any complementary professional development plan would be supported by separate applicant-secured funding and would be independent of the R03 research plan and funding.

NIA supports a number of Centers and similar programs through which candidates may receive support for professional development activities complementary to the R03 award. Also a number of professional societies have indicated that they have funds available to support candidates in those specialties. A non-complete list of such resources includes:

It is expected that applicants will have expertise in their clinical specialty, but may be less experienced in geriatric or gerontologic science or other areas. As such, applications should include the participation of a senior collaborator with complementary expertise in aging-related research and, if needed, other collaborators and/or consultants in other areas appropriate to the proposed project. Applicants with a strong geriatrics background (such as geriatricians) who propose a research project that integrates their geriatrics expertise with a specific clinical problem embraced by a specialty should involve a senior collaborator with expertise in that clinical problem as it relates to older patients.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-AG-17-012
Funding Opportunity Title: Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Subspecialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) (R03)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Health
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards: 15
CFDA Number(s): 93.866 — Aging Research
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: May 11, 2016
Last Updated Date: May 11, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Oct 06, 2016  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Oct 06, 2016  
Archive Date: Nov 06, 2016
Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,700,000
Award Ceiling: $75,000


Eligible Applicants:
Special district governments
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Small businesses
State governments
County governments
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
City or township governments
Private institutions of higher education
Additional Information on Eligibility: Other Eligible Applicants include the following: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISISs); Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government; Faith-based or Community-based Organizations; Hispanic-serving Institutions; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations); Regional Organizations; Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ; U.S. Territory or Possession; Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply. Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: The goal of the GEMSSTAR FOA is to provide support for early-stage physician-scientists, trained in medical or surgical specialties, to launch careers as future leaders in research on aging or in geriatrics. To achieve this goal, the GEMSSTAR FOA provides small grants to conduct transdisciplinary research on aging or in geriatrics research that will yield pilot data for subsequent aging- or geriatrics-focused research projects. As part of its focus on facilitating the development of early-stage physician-scientists who will become leaders in research on aging or in geriatrics, the GEMSSTAR FOA seeks to encourage the provision of supportive environments for candidates, and NIA will consider the extent to which a supportive environment is available to candidates in selecting GEMSSTAR candidates.
Link to Additional Information:
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIH OER Webmaster FBOWebmaster@OD.NIH.GOV
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact the NIH OER Webmaster


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