Last Drops: The Ellison Money Behind This Research Grant for Aging

Remember when the Ellison Medical Foundation turned belly-up and started to stink, last November? We were as surprised as you were.

Since then, there’s been speculation about Larry Ellison's next big philanthropic move, but not much hard information. (Ellison has said that 95 percent of his assets will eventually go to philanthropy.)

Meanwhile, the lame duck foundation’s website is pristine—no word of the shutdown. The foundation also continues to fulfill select philanthropic commitments, albeit clandestinely.

Related: Ellison Terminates Funding Programs

Just recently, the American Federation for Aging Research announced an RFP for the Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research, which is sponsored by the Ellison Medical Foundation. It’s turned over the admin duties to AFAR, apparently, but is still making a push for high-risk, high-reward aging research.

Don’t get your hopes up, though. This is going to be the final round of support from this vector.

As with the Ellison Medical Foundation of yore, this award is all about research into the basic mechanisms of aging. It’s these kinds of ground-up projects that are the riskiest. But they also have the greatest transformative potential: Imagine if researchers found a way to prevent oxidation, or to keep neural circuits fresh? The payoff would be huge. “The biology of aging,” then, is what this award is about: researchers seeking to make a giant step forward in our understanding of mental and physical decline, chronic disease, and ultimately, death.

Applicants must be associate professors who were promoted some time after December 1, 2011. Outside-the-field scientists whose work could impact the field of aging research are encouraged to apply.

The grants themselves will be two four-year grants of $550,000. Up to ten percent of each award may be used for administrative expenses.

Interested? You’ve got time to create an LOI, but not much. The deadline for that piece of work is December 15, 2014, at 5 p.m. EST. Finalists will be invited to submit a full application, which is due March 18, 2015. The awards will begin July 1, 2015. For the full RFP and more information, click here.