Call For Pilot Projects

2015 Pilot Grants

The Program on the Global Demography of Aging at Harvard University funds pilot project grants in the area of the Economics and Demography of Aging. The aim is to provide assistance to Harvard researchers 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. More information on the PGDA is available at

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
6. Aging and HIV/AIDS

Applications that involve collaboration with our international partners in the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, India, the INDEPTH Network Secretariat, Accra, Ghana, the Africa Center for Health and Population Studies, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, , MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Heath Transitions Research Unit, Agincourt, South Africa, Ifakara Health Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the Navrongo Health Research Center, Navrongo , Ghana, or that complement the ongoing Longitudinal Study of Aging in India (LASI) and the Health and Aging in Africa Longitudinal Study in INDEPTH communities (HAALSI) 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 researchers who wish to investigate new areas of research.

Researchers who are considering applying are encouraged to discuss their proposed application with David Bloom or David Canning to ensure that the proposal falls into areas of interest of PGDA.


We welcome applications from all parts of Harvard University. Principal Investigators of pilot projects must be Harvard University faculty members or appointed on the research scientist track. Graduate students, visitors, and postdoctoral fellows, may not apply directly for a pilot project but a faculty member or researcher may include salary support for a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in their application.


Pilot project grants will usually be for up to $50,000. Smaller grants, and larger grants of up to $75,000, will be considered but the applicant should recognize that larger funding requests will need to be particularly compelling. Applicants requiring a higher level of funding should consider applying directly to the NIH for a R03 small grant.  Applications should be for research periods of one year with a start date on or before January 1, 2016.

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

Award Conditions

Researchers awarded pilots will either be or become affiliates of the PGDA. 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 which ensures the use of NIH funding is acknowledged and the publication is open access.


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
  • 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, Juliana Seminerio,

Submission and Review 

Complete submissions should be received electronically by

5pm on September 3, 2015

Submissions should be sent by email to:

PGDA Program Coordinator
Juliana Seminerio,

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

PGDA decisions will be communicated to applicants in November 2015.

Downloadable Forms and Instructions: