Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Department of Family Medicine

Call for Proposals, 2018
Graduate student & faculty awards supporting research, education, and service activities in gerontology-related programs at Michigan State University.

Award Applicant Info | Applicant Data Sheet

The Pearl J. Aldrich Endowment in Gerontology was created through an estate gift by Pearl Jackson Aldrich, PhD, who passed way in 1997. Dr. Aldrich was a long-standing faculty member who devoted nearly 36 years to MSU’s Department of Family Ecology before retiring as a professor and associate dean for research in 1978.

Dr. Aldrich earned her bachelors and masters degrees from Purdue University and her PhD in nutrition from Iowa State College. She became the head of the Food Services Laboratory at the Michigan State College (University) and published numerous journal articles in the area of food research. During her lifetime, Dr. Aldrich was especially committed to encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to discovering new knowledge in the field of gerontology and/or applying such knowledge to improve the lives of older adults.

Dr. Aldrich established this fund in 1989 in appreciation for the assistance and opportunities made available to her in pursuing educational challenges throughout her own professional career.

The Pearl Aldrich Graduate Student and Faculty Research Awards are funded by the Pearl J. Aldrich Endowment in Aging Related Research and Education. These one-year awards are competitive and intended to support Michigan State University graduate students and faculty who are committed to or strongly considering a career in a discipline that relates to aging. Awards may be used to support new research initiatives or ongoing projects that have a clearly identifiable focus that relates to gerontology or geriatric medicine.

Criteria to be Considered in Selection of Graduate Student Awardees

  • Importance of the research area to advancing the field of gerontology or geriatric medicine
  • Quality and feasibility of the research project
  • Evidence of the investigator’s commitment to the project
  • Evidence of the investigator’s commitment to a career in a discipline that relates to aging
  • Evidence of research mentorship and mentor commitment to the applicant’s professional development as an aging scholar
  • Extent of the mentor’s ability to facilitate the completion of the research project and the applicant’s development of research skill.

Criteria to be Considered in Selection of Faculty Awardees

  • Importance of the research area to advancing the field of gerontology or geriatric medicine
  • Quality and feasibility of the research project
  • Evidence of the investigator’s commitment to the project
  • Intercollegiate, collaborative, or interdisciplinary research activity
  • Nature and extent of involvement of investigator in prior aging research activities
  • Evidence of the investigator’s commitment to academic and professional development in gerontology or geriatric medicine
  • Probability of future external funding to continue research endeavors.

Graduate Student Applicant Eligibility

  • All Michigan State University graduate students enrolled full-time at MSU (e.g., Masters and Doctoral degree students/candidates), medical students enrolled at MSU, and residents/fellows in training programs affiliated with MSU.
  • Each applicant must identify a faculty mentor (not necessarily a gerontologist) who is preferably within their program.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who show demonstrated scholarship potential and a commitment to a career in an aging discipline.

Faculty Applicant Eligibility

  • All Michigan State University faculty are eligible except for current members of the Pearl J. Aldrich Endowment Advisory Committee. This category applies to salaried or volunteer employees of Michigan State University or its affiliated institutions holding a prefixed or non-prefixed academic rank of assistant, associate, or full professor. Community-based faculty with an MSU appointment are eligible to apply. Research specialists employed by MSU are not eligible.

The Research Project

The project proposal should address a research question that has unambiguous relevance to the field of gerontology, the study of the aging processes and individuals as they grow from middle age through later life, or geriatrics, a medical subspecialty devoted to the comprehensive health care of older persons and the well-being of their caregivers. Quantitative and qualitative research proposals may be submitted that utilize descriptive, correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental study designs. Intercollegiate, collaborative, and interdisciplinary research proposals are given special consideration, as are applications that have a strong likelihood of obtaining future extramural funding. The scope of the project should be appropriate for completion in one-year as carry-over funding is not available for this award. Re-submissions of previously funded Aldrich proposals are permitted, to complete unfinished work, however re-submitted proposals are not necessarily given a higher priority for funding.

Research Project Funding

Due to several limitations on the use of award funds as described below, it is strongly recommended that a draft or final budget be forwarded to the Endowment Advisory Committee Chairperson well in advance of the proposal submission deadline for review and revision, should non-covered costs be identified. For faculty, grant awards up to $20,000 may be requested. For graduate students, grant awards up to $3,000 may be requested. The funding cycle for all award recipients will commence on July 1 and end on June 30 of each calendar year. Funding may be used to carry out most aspects of the project as disclosed in the proposal, such as securing professional services, hiring personnel (whose only role is to support some aspect of the project); purchasing computer software, supplies and equipment; consulting with a statistician; travelling to sites to collect data; travelling to national professional meetings for the purpose of disseminating research findings; and other study related costs, but may not be used to support salaries and benefits for full-year MSU employed faculty applicants (as defined above) or graduate student project mentors.

MSU policies also prohibit the use of award funds for the following purposes:

  • Support of graduate assistantships.
  • Hiring of graduate students (as defined above in the graduate student applicant eligibility section) by the principle investigator to perform study related work.
  • Course teaching “buyouts”
  • Gift cards (subject incentive payments must only be provided through the use of “green” checks that can be obtained through the Department of Family Medicine’s Assistant Department Administrator)
  • Use of means that are potentially coercive to recruit study subjects, including incentive payments to designated recruiters of study subjects.
  • Incentive payments to study subjects who live outside of the United States, its territories, and protectorates.
  • Attendance at multiple conferences to present research findings or payment of conference fees for multiple study collaborators, unless a detailed explanation is provided in the budget justification
  • Parking reimbursement is ineligible
  • Participant Incentives need to be a meaningful amount and ideally under a 100 participants

Undergraduate students and MSU staff persons may be hired to perform work, with exception of graduate students. MSU faculty who plant to hire MSU employed research assistants must cover their hourly rate and fringe benefits in their budget. Travel expenses must strictly adhere to MSU policies and guidelines (see http://www.ctlr.msu.edu/COTravel for details). Personal computers/printers are considered general office equipment and are not allowed unless a convincing case can be made to show that they are used directly in the conduct of the research. Michigan State University retains title to all special purpose equipment – except computer software – purchased using award funds; when no longer needed for the conduct of the research project, the principle investigator will relinquish their right of possession and release the equipment for disposition by Michigan State University. Carry-over of funds beyond June 30 is not permitted under any circumstances.

Selection Process

Each application (due by 11:59 PM on May 6, 2018) will be initially reviewed by two members of the Advisory Committee who disclose no conflicts of interest with the investigator(s). Applications deemed complete will be presented by the primary reviewer during the Advisory Committee Meeting in May for additional review and discussion. Content experts may be called upon to assist Committee Members in the review process, as appropriate. Those applicants selected as awardees will be notified by mid-June, with awards effective July 1.

Contact Information

All questions regarding the Pearl Aldrich Graduate Student and Faculty Research Awards may be directed to Dr. Kevin T. Foley, Advisory Committee Chairperson, 517-884-0446 or kevin.foley@hc.msu.edu.