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Measurement of the global patterns of disease, mortality, and morbidity:
Kenneth Hill
Gary King
Joshua Salomon

Social determinants of population health and aging:
Lisa Berkman
Ichiro Kawachi

Economics of health care provision for the elderly:
Joseph P. Newhouse
Thomas McGuire
Amitabh Chandra

Economics of aging (macroeconomics, behavioral, experimental):
David Bloom
David Canning
Sendhil Mullainathan

Migration and aging:
Mary Waters
George Borjas

Aging and HIV/AIDS:
Till Baernighausen
Max Essex


Longitudinal Study of Aging in India
International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai, India
David Bloom

Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) sites- Africa Center, Agincourt (South Africa), Navrongo (Ghana), Ifakara (Tanzania), Matlab (Bangladesh)
David Canning


2013 Pilot Proposal Submission Requirements

The Program on the Global Demography of Aging funds pilot project grants in the area of the Economics and Demography of Aging. The aim is to provide assistance to Harvard faculty in undertaking preliminary research that may subsequently lead to a larger research project. The PGDA is a center for research on the Economics and Demography of Aging funded by the by the National Institute of Aging.

Pilot projects are solicited in the areas of:

1. Measurement of the global patterns of disease, mortality, and morbidity in aging populations
2. Social determinants of population health and aging
3. Economics of health care provision for the elderly
4. Macroeconomic consequences of population aging
5. Migration and Aging

Applications that involve collaboration with our international partners in the Africa Center in South Africa, and the International Institution for Population Studies in Mumbai, India, or that complement the ongoing Longitudinal Study of Aging in India are particularly welcomed.

The pilot should be designed so as to produce results that will support a future application for research funding to the NIH or other bodies.  The pilot projects are designed to support new researchers in aging (without previous R01 grants or equivalent) and more experienced faculty who wish to investigate new areas of research. 

Faculty who are considering applying are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposed application with the relevant theme leaders, or coordinator for international collaboration, listed below, to ensure that the proposal falls into area of the theme.


Principal Investigator of pilot projects must be Harvard faculty members.
Graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, may not apply directly for a pilot project but a faculty member may include salary support for a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in their application. 


Pilot project grants will usually be for up to $25,000. Grants of up to $50,000 will be considered but the applicant should recognize that such applications will usually be competing against the alternative of two smaller pilots. Applicants requiring the higher level of funding should consider applying directly to the NIH for a R03 small grant of up $50,000 per year for one or two years. We expect to make at least two pilot grants in each theme.  Application timelines should be for research during the academic year 2013-2014. 

There is no limit on the number of applications submitted. Grants may be used to support: faculty salaries (for example, summer salary support); travel, research assistance, acquisition of research materials (including electronic databases); to facilitate communication with colleagues and institutions in other countries; and for other appropriate research purposes as allowed by the NIH (N.B. stipend and tuition not allowed). Grants may be used to acquire computer software and databases, but not for hardware purchases. 

PGDA collaborates with the Research and Computing Core at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Principal investigators wishing to have specific computing, data archiving or research assistance as a part of their pilot should contact Jocelyn Finlay, Director of Research and Computing Core at jfinlay@hsph.harvard.edu.

Award Conditions

These awards will be made from federal funds and must be administered in accordance with HSPH-NIH grant policies. Funded projects will require approval for research on human subjects from Harvard School of Public Health Institutional Review Board. Additionally, these projects will need to be reviewed by all other involved institutions including your local sponsored research office before funds can be disbursed. To help alleviate the burden of multiple IRB reviews, these studies may be eligible for an IRB Authorization Agreement with HSPH. (For more information, please visit the Human Subject Committee website.)

Studies that involve use of data from foreign human subjects/or collaboration with foreign individuals or institutions will also require US State Department Foreign Clearance. PGDA will assist in obtaining IRB and foreign clearance.

Reporting Requirements

Successful principle investigators are required to submit annual progress reports on the project to PGDA. Upon completion of the project, the principle investigator is required to submit a report of the work carried out under the grant. Awardees will also be encouraged to present the results of their work in a seminar and are welcome to submit a paper to PGDA’s working paper series. The principle investigator is required to report to PGDA any subsequent grant applications and publications that derive from the pilot project.  Publications are subject to the NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research.


We ask that applicants submit the following documents:

  • PGDA Cover Sheet (See Downloadable Forms and Instructions)
  • Proposal narrative: Proposals should not exceed 3 pages in length (not including references) and should include a description of the research, as well as an explanation of how the pilot would aid progress to a larger research project
  • A CV or NIH biosketch for key personnel
  • Budget justification
  • Detailed Budget (on PHS 398 Form Page 4, use page 5 as well if project period is less than 12 months)

We strongly encourage applicants to consult their local financial administrator or grant manager prior to submission. Local unit budget approval is not required at the proposal stage, but must be in place before the award will be made. Prospective applicants should discuss budget issues with the PGDA Program Coordinator, Maria Joy. 

Submission and Review 

Complete submissions should be received electronically by 5pm on March 22, 2013.

Submissions should be sent to:
Maria Joy
PGDA Program Coodinator

Please note that the detailed budget should be in a separate file from the rest of the submission.

The submissions will be reviewed initially by the relevant theme leaders and then by the full PGDA committee. Decisions will be communicated to applicants in early April 2013.

Downloadable Forms and Instructions:




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