U.S. NAM Catalyst Award Competition 



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Eligibility and Application

Q: Is the applicant the investigator or the institution?

A: The NAM Catalyst Awards are open to any person or team of any discipline or background. The NAM will issue the Catalyst Awards to an individual or to an organization:

  • For applicants applying as individuals: if awarded, the cash prize will be issued to an individual as opposed to an organization. Prizes awarded to individuals are reportable to the IRS. Taxes on prizes (including taxes on the cost of travel to the Innovator Summit), if any, are the responsibility of the winner. Prizes awarded to individuals who are non-resident aliens will be subject to applicable IRS tax reporting and withholding.
  • For applicants applying on behalf of an institution, or in their official capacity as a staff or faculty member: if awarded, the cash prize will be issued to the institution, university, company, or organization).
    • Please note: the indirect cost policy for the NAM’s Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award competition is as follows: institution should waive indirect costs associated with the Prize. However, if absolutely necessary to comply with your institutional policy, no more than a de minimis rate of up to 10% of the total Prize amount may be charged to indirect costs.
Q. Are there any limitations on the number of applications from one organization or institution?

A. No, but PIs can only submit one application per year. However, a PI may serve as a co-investigator or collaborator on another application within the same annual cycle.

Q. Can I include references in my application? Will that count towards the page limit?

A: Applicants may include up to three key references to literature, theories, and/or evidence to suggest the proposed idea would be effective, to be counted towards the two-page limit (see the Formatting and Other Requirements section of the Application Instructions).

Q. The guidelines note organizations are limited to $10 million in revenue per year – does this refer to only for-profit organizations or all organizations that may be putting forward a request?

A. Just for-profit organizations.

Q. If an applicant is US-based (per the stated eligibility criteria), is it permissible to submit an idea that is intended for implementation outside of the US?

A. Yes.

Q. Are scientific proposals eligible?

A. Yes, scientific proposals are eligible for this award. The Catalyst Awards will be given for bold, new, potentially transformative ideas that promote healthy longevity.

Q: As a non-profit applicant, are industry partnerships acceptable?

A: Yes, industry partnerships are acceptable. For-profit companies that serve as partners cannot have annual sales revenues of more than $10 million for each of their last two fiscal years (this criteria applies to the lead applicant organization as well).

Q: Can this award be used to fund an existing program?

A: The Catalyst Awards are prizes that the NAM will give for new, potentially transformative ideas that promote healthy longevity. The $50,000 prize is not intended to fund the implementation of an existing program but to be used as seed money that will allow winners to advance their ideas with the goal of ultimately demonstrating proof of concept.

Q: What is the maximum number of co-investigators?

A: In addition to the Principal Investigator (PI), applicants may name up to three co-investigators.

Q: Do co-investigators need to reside in the US to be eligible?

A: No. PIs must reside in the US. This requirement does not apply to co-PIs.

Q: Can the PI be a legal resident of US but not residing in the US?

A: No, for the NAM Catalyst Awards, the PI must currently reside in the US. However, the application allows for up to 3 co-PIs who are not required to reside in the US. Innovators outside of the US should visit https://healthylongevitychallenge.org/apply/ to determine whether they are eligible to apply to one of the international Catalyst Award competitions.

Q: Do I need to be a faculty level researcher or equivalent to be eligible for this award?

A: No. The U.S. NAM Catalyst Awards are open to any person or team of any discipline or background and from any organization. There is no title requirement.

Q: Can the U.S. NAM Catalyst Award be used to fund animal research?

A: Yes. The Catalyst Awards are prizes that the NAM will give for bold, new, potentially transformative ideas that promote healthy longevity and extend the human healthspan. The prize is specific to the idea and will be awarded upfront. There are no restrictions on what applicants can propose with respect to how they would test their idea (see Part 2, Section II of the application instructions).

Q: Can this award cover projects that will need to be funded in part by other sources?

A: Yes. The Catalyst Awards will be given for bold, new, potentially transformative ideas that promote healthy longevity. The prize is intended as seed money that will help winners advance their ideas. There are no restrictions on other funding sources that the applicant has or may secure in the future related to their innovative idea.

Q: The application should not include any personally identifying information. What if my publications or other identifying details are relevant to my application?

A: As applications to the NAM Catalyst Award Competition will be subject to a double-blind review, please do not provide any personally identifying information on your application (this includes the file name, header/footer, or text in the body of the application). If identifying information is found in your application, this may lead to disqualification. Applicants may decide how to best avoid including identifiable information in their 2-page submission. Here are some possible approaches:

  • Refer to your published work in the third person (e.g., replace “as we have demonstrated” with “as [Anonymous, 2015] has demonstrated…”). Alternatively, if you are speaking in the first person, blind your own citations: ‘[Anonymous 2015] Details omitted for double-blind review.’
  • Include references to your published work only when relevant for responding to the application.
  • Avoid providing names of places, collaborators/partner organizations, or institutions by either blinding or omitting those names (replace mention of a specific university with “a large, US-based research institution”; replace mention of a specific non-profit partner with a brief description, e.g., “a community-based organization serving low-income people over age 65”; replace the name of a specific product or platform you have already developed with a brief description of its function or defining characteristics).
  • Remove all identifying information from file names and figures.
  • Anonymize document properties.
Q: Can you address the tension between providing preliminary data to demonstrate potential project feasibility and the statement that NAM is not looking to fund existing projects?

A: The NAM seeks new, potentially transformative ideas that promote healthy longevity, and Catalyst Awards are intended as seed money to advance innovative ideas. Early-stage projects will also be considered. Given that the application describes an idea or an early-stage project, preliminary data are not required. Applicants may include up to three references to present evidence that suggests the proposed project would be effective. Further, Section II of the application should include a description of how the innovator would implement and test the idea (i.e., in order to demonstrate feasibility).

Q: Are you also interested in funding basic science projects or your interest is mostly on the more clinical projects?

A: Yes, basic science projects are eligible provided that they are related to healthy longevity. In Section I of the application, the applicant should clearly explain how the project could help promote health as people age. The NAM has funded ideas and projects across a wide range of disciplines. To view the NAM Catalyst Award winner profiles, please visit this web page.

Q: If one was not selected as a Catalyst Award recipient, are they allowed to apply again for a future award with the same idea?

A: Yes, applicants may reapply with the same or similar innovative ideas in a future Catalyst Award cycle. The NAM encourages applicants to review the competition guidelines and look for ways to strengthen their respective applications

Q: An NAM Catalyst Awardee from a previous round plans to apply for an Accelerator Award when the opportunity is available, building off their initial project. In addition, the same team would like to submit an unrelated application in a second, new Catalyst Award application. Would submitting a second Catalyst Award application affect the team's ability to complete for an Accelerator Award (based on their first award-winning idea)?

A: No, submitting a second, unrelated application to the NAM Catalyst Awards will not affect Catalyst Awardees’ eligibility for the Accelerator Awards.

Catalyst Award Details

Q. Are there guidelines regarding intellectual property (IP)?

A: The NAM will not retain intellectual property (IP) rights of ideas presented in the Catalyst Award applications. The ownership of IP rights is a matter to be sorted out by the principal investigator (PI) and their affiliated institution, if applicable. Applicants are encouraged to consult an intellectual property attorney prior to entering the competition.

Q. What is the NAM’s indirect cost policy?

A: Institutions should waive indirect costs associated with the Prize. However, if absolutely necessary to comply with your institutional policy, no more than a de minimis rate of up to 10% of the total Prize amount may be charged to indirect costs.

Q. We are applying as a team. Can the NAM divide the prize money amongst the team members?

A. The NAM will issue Catalyst Awards to an individual or an organization. If the team is not affiliated with or accepting the award on behalf of an organization, the award will be issued to a single individual (the PI). The PI will be responsible for how the prize money is used and, if applicable, divided among team members.

Q: If a successful application includes multiple investigators/collaborators, will all of these individuals receive invitations to the Innovator Summit?

A: There must be a single principal investigator (PI) associated with each application, but the PI may identify additional co-investigators or collaborators on the application form. The Catalyst Award includes travel expenses for the PI to attend an in-person Innovator Summit (approximately one year after receipt of award). Additional co-investigators or collaborators may be able to attend the in-person Innovator Summit, but their travel expenses will not be covered. In the event that the in-person Innovator Summit must be switched to a virtual format (e.g., due to the COVID-19 pandemic), all members of the project teams will be eligible to attend free of charge.

Q: What is the timeframe for Catalyst Award projects?

A: There is no requirement as to when the project must be completed. However, the intention is that the projects will be short-term in duration (1-2 years), and winners will be surveyed on their progress achieved around one year of receiving the award. Further, the goal is for the awardee to advance their project such that they are eligible to apply for the next level of the Healthy Longevity Global Competition, the Accelerator Phase, in subsequent years.

Healthy Longevity Global Competition

Q: Are the Accelerator and Grand Prize phases also cash prizes? Will they have the same reporting requirements?

A: The NAM Catalyst Awards are cash prizes, and winners will be strongly encouraged to complete a survey on progress and milestones achieved approximately one year after disbursement of the prize. The Accelerator Awards will be administered by their respective sponsors, and details on the type and requirements for that funding will shared when available. Lastly, in the Grand Prize Phase, the NAM will issue one or more Grand Prizes of up to $5 million for achievement of a breakthrough innovation that extends the human healthspan. Any requirements of the Grand Prize winner(s) will be stated in the relevant application instructions.

Q: Can a PI apply as an individual for the Catalyst Award but then apply via their institution for the Accelerator Phase or Grand Prize Phase?

A: Yes, this is possible.

To view more about guidelines for the NAM’s Catalyst Award Applications, click here. To submit a question that is not answered on this page, please send an email to catalystawards@nas.edu with the Subject line “Question – NAM Catalyst Awards.” NAM staff will respond to you within one week if your question has not been answered on the FAQ page.

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