The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has unveiled a substantial $3 million fund dedicated to fortifying research infrastructure for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in Africa. This initiative, aimed at fostering collaboration between American and African scientists, is designed to tackle the anticipated surge in dementia cases among Africans aged 60 and above. Projections indicate that this demographic is set to triple between 2020 and 2050, resulting in a significant rise in the prevalence of dementia and associated health challenges.
The funding, to be disbursed through the NIH's National Institute of Aging and the Fogarty International Center, will be allocated among four awards set to commence next year. These grants will support the development or enhancement of infrastructure related to Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, encompassing tools, surveys, biospecimens, or data.
The primary objective of the program is to nurture sustainable neuroscience research capacity in Africa, ultimately empowering the continent to address the escalating burden of Alzheimer's disease, as outlined in the NIH's call for applications.
The call underscores the importance of proposals being contextually relevant for Africa. Older Africans are more likely to reside in rural areas, participate in multigenerational households, and actively take on caregiving roles for younger generations. These distinctive circumstances mandate research that is attuned to the African context.
The call has identified several recommended research areas, including studies on genetic contributions to Alzheimer's disease biology in Africa, the impact of environmental factors such as air pollution, and the role of infections. These investigations aim to deepen our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and its manifestations within the African population.
Researchers interested in applying for this funding opportunity have until February 14th of the upcoming year to submit their proposals. To provide further clarity on the application process and objectives, a pre-application webinar is scheduled for November 16th, offering potential applicants a platform to gain insights and seek clarification.
Article by Jed Mwangi