Competition objectives

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Society aim to support emerging leaders in brain health, aging and dementia by funding small-scale pilot projects, activities and/or studies (hereafter referred to as “pilot project(s)”) to advance skills, knowledge, activities and general efforts to delay, prevent and/or mitigate the impact of dementia. The goal of these awards is to both support leadership development of the awardee and to advance pilot projects that improve outcomes in brain health.


GBHI trains a new generation of health leaders empowered to break down disciplinary boundaries and to find innovative ways to intervene on behalf of vulnerable people in their communities to prevent and limit the impact of dementia globally. GBHI brings together two leading institutions in brain science, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin (TCD). As leading non-profit funders of Alzheimer’s- and dementia-related research, the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Society share the commitment to developing the next generation of brain health leaders, aligning with the vision and mission of GBHI. To further emphasize the commitment to these goals, GBHI, the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Society are partnering to offer the Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders.

The Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders will prioritize activities that demonstrate potential to lead to larger projects in the awardees’ home regions with an emphasis on lower- and middle-income communities while demonstrating how the proposed activity adds to the applicant’s career trajectory.  Priority will be given to pilot projects that utilize an evidence-based approach to identify or direct change and/or improve care and outcomes around age-related cognitive loss and dementia. Pilot projects that involve innovative or exploratory elements that are less well-tested are also welcome as long as the rationale for the approach is clear and there is a plan for evaluation. 

Pilot projects selected for funding must contribute to the following long-term impact goals:

  • Perception: Create social change, reduce stigma and inspire optimism and dignity for elders.
  • Populations: Promote equity in prevention strategies and care models for vulnerable aging populations.
  • Practice: Improve dementia diagnosis, treatment and care for patients and families.
  • Policy: Develop and refine brain health policies through evidence-based advocacy and outreach.
  • Publication: Generate and distribute knowledge to advance the field of brain health and dementia prevention.

Areas of emphasis

Areas of emphasis for this RFA include but are not limited to:

  • Create culture or social change around important topics in dementia, aging and brain health; for example, aim to increase awareness around risk factors for dementia or reduce stigma associated with brain aging.
  • Focus on improving policies around dementia, aging and brain health; for example, this may include advocacy, economic policy or ethics.
  • Leverage longitudinal studies of populations to answer questions about brain health; for example, about individuals living with dementia and/or their care partners.
  • Evaluate patient services and gaps in care; for example, this may involve surveys of providers or evaluation of health system data.
  • Focus on the diagnosis and/or prognosis of brain health disorders among vulnerable populations.
  • Intervention studies, including biological, social and behavioral interventions for the prevention or treatment of brain health disorders or associated challenges (e.g., those experienced by care partners) among vulnerable populations.
Awards range between $5,000 and $25,000.​


Atlantic Fellows at GBHI, including alumni, who have not previously received a Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders award.

Ineligibility: Applicants currently funded by the Alzheimer’s Association who are delinquent in submitting required reports and other deliverables on active grants are ineligible. Applicants who have previous Alzheimer’s Association awards closed as "Incomplete" are also not eligible to apply without exception. Atlantic Fellows at GBHI who have previously received an award under this program.

January 15 RFA distributed
March 18 Letters of Intent (LOIs) due
May 6 Phase 1 submission due (in proposalCENTRAL, draft for mentor review)
July 8 Phase 2 submission due (in proposalCENTRAL, final)
July-August Review and decisions
September 10 Funding notice
October 15 Pilot implementation begins

Submission and review process

Submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI): The LOI is a required step in the application process. All LOIs must be completed and submitted online at First-time users must register and fill out a Professional Profile to begin the LOI process. No hard copies or email copies will be accepted. LOIs will be reviewed, and you may receive feedback on the likelihood that the proposed work will have the intended level of impact on the GBHI mission and the applicant’s career trajectory. Please be sure that these are addressed in the LOI.
The full application materials, including the application format, templates and instructions, will be available online at proposalCENTRAL after your LOI has been approved.

The full application consists of the following (template and instructions located under the Work Plan and Other Attachments section): 

  • Pilot Description and Plan – Summary of the area of work the applicant is pursuing, description of the scope and importance of the problem being addressed, specific goals/aims or pilot project objectives, approach (strategy, methodology), evaluation plan, timeline, plan to expand the work of the pilot and/or seek leveraged funding (3 to 5 pages).
  • Statement(s) of Mentorship – Written by mentor(s) to outline plan for the individual’s continued training (1 or 2 pages). If applicants have more than one mentor, applications should include statements of mentorship from no more than two mentors, with information on other mentors in the team incorporated into the primary mentors’ statements. Typically, this will include one letter from the home community (i.e., regional) mentor and another letter from the GBHI mentor.
  • Statement of Mission Alignment – Written by applicant to highlight their commitment to GBHI’s mission and the long-term impact goals stated above. This statement should include how the proposed work will add to the applicant’s career trajectory, including next steps once the activity is successfully accomplished (1 or 2 pages).
  • Available Resources and Budget Justification – The projected budget and justification must be comprehensive and match the Pilot Plan in scope and breadth (1 to 2 pages).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) – A CV/biosketch for the applicant and the mentor(s) must be included, limited to four pages each.
Applicants are expected to engage in the following activities and cost them, if appropriate, in the budget:
  • Submission of funding proposal(s) to external funding agencies.
  • Attendance and/or presentation at an international meeting such as the GBHI annual conference (travel support provided by GBHI; cost should not be included in the proposed budget), the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference (AAIC), AAIC Satellite Symposium (offered twice annually in different parts of the world) or the Alzheimer’s Society’s national conference (held each May and attended by a network of carers and people affected by dementia that can support the delivery of research programs).
  • Dissemination of the outputs of the pilot project (e.g., through conferences, manuscript submission, media engagement or other outreach activities).
  • Mentorship. A mentorship plan should be clearly described. The role of the mentor(s) in the applicant’s proposed pilot project must be defined in the proposal. It is expected that the designated mentor(s) will be heavily involved in the preparation of the application proposal and serve as a co-­participant (or investigator) in the proposed pilot project. Mentors should include a GBHI mentor as well as a home community (i.e., regional) mentor.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria (all criteria should be addressed):
  1. A well-designed and feasible proposed pilot project plan, including an evaluation plan; proposed plan is clearly linked to the long-term goals of this initiative as outlined above. (40%)
  2. Includes a well-developed mentorship plan from each mentor (i.e., a GBHI mentor and a home community mentor). (20%)
  3. A well-developed plan to continue, expand and/or adapt the proposed work following the successful completion of the pilot. This should include plans to secure future funding and may include plans to engage global partners, such as UCSF, Trinity College Dublin, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Alzheimer’s Association, among others pertinent to the proposed work. (15%)
  4. Proposed pilot convincingly demonstrates how the activity is an important step on the applicant’s trajectory to be a leader in brain health. (15%)
  5. The proposed plan matches the projected budget in scope and breadth. (10%)
Application review will be conducted by a joint review process managed by GBHI, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Mechanism of award

The mechanism of the award is an individual grant for the pilot project proposed in the application.


A budget summary and budget narratives are required and must be submitted with the application. Budget narratives are to provide budget line justification, including known details and reasoning associated with all salary-related costs. If the application is to be awarded, a more detailed budget will be required and must be approved before the disbursement of funds.

Allowable costs

Allowable costs include but are not limited to:

  • Salary for the grantee, technical assistance and other staff (including administrative support related directly to the funded pilot project). Applications that include significant funding allocations for the applicant’s salary may receive additional attention from reviewers, and applicants should justify the requested level of salary support in the budget justification.
  • Travel (with justification in the narrative), not to exceed 20% of the total proposed budget.
  • Computer equipment, hardware or software (if used strictly for pilot project implementation and with justification in the narrative), not to exceed 20% of the total proposed budget; if proposed equipment expense will exceed this limit, awardee must have prior approval in writing.
  • Purchase and care of laboratory animals and/or small pieces of laboratory equipment and laboratory supplies.
  • Indirect costs up to a maximum of 10% (this should be included in the total award amount, not in addition to the award, and can be utilized for fiscal sponsor fees if necessary).
  • Independent IRB review and approval costs (if necessary).
Direct costs not allowed under this award include:
  • Tuition for full-degree programs (however, workshops, seminars are allowed).
  • Rent for laboratory/office space.
  • Construction or renovation costs.
  • Facilities fee.
  • Laboratory or supply costs not directly relevant to proposed pilot project.

Funded studies

FY18 Abstracts by Investigator:
The Alzheimer's Association, GBHI and Alzheimer's Society collaboratively funded the following studies in FY18.

FY19 Abstracts by Investigator:
The Alzheimer's Association, GBHI and Alzheimer's Society collaboratively funded the following studies in FY19.

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