‌Alzheimer's & Related Diseases Research Award Fund 

‌In 1982, the Virginia General Assembly established a research award fund entitled the Alzheimer's and Related Diseases Research Award Fund (ARDRAF).  "The awards shall be given annually to scientists in Virginia in order to support research into the causes of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, ‌methods of treatment, ways that families can cope with the stresses of the disease, and the impact of the disease on the  citizens of the Commonwealth."

Since ARDRAF's creation, VCoA has provided seed funds for research in Alzheimer's and other dementias at institutions around the state. These funds are used to stimulate innovative research into biomedical and psychosocial aspects of dementia, including cell biology, caregiving, and animal modeling.

In the following video, Dr. Constance Coogle, ARDRAF Administrator, gives a brief overview of the award fund.

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To receive ARDRAF program announcements and news, subscribe to our mailing list here. For assistance accessing information related to ARDRAF, please contact the Virginia Center on Aging at 804-828-1525. 

To stimulate research, foster the application of knowledge, examine the effects, and increase public understanding of Alzheimer's and related diseases.

 The ARDRAF is intended to:

  • increase public understanding of how dementing illnesses affect individuals, families, caregivers, and society
  • support pilot projects from a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines 
  • foster the application of knowledge about Alzheimer's and related diseases 
  • investigate the impact of these conditions on the Commonwealth of Virginia 
  • determine appropriate public policy

Behavioral and cognitive changes, caregiving, clinical assessment, brain chemistry/neurology, cell biology, electrophysiology immunological responses, environmental factors, drug discovery changes.

In 1982, The General Assembly established the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award fund to be administered by the Virginia Center on Aging (current code § 51.5-153, original code § 2.2-719). 

Since that time, VCoA has supervised the solicitation of applications and the awarding of competitive grants.  VCoA absorbs all administrative costs, passing through each year's full appropriation to the selected researchers.

VCOA celebrated ARDRAF's 25th anniversary in 2007.  To recognize this occasion and commend ARDRAF for its accomplishments, the General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 857. As part of the anniversary celebration, several previous ARDRAF recipients and supporters were invited to comment on their projects and subsequent developments as well as to honor Del. Ken Plum for his championing of the cause of Alzheimer's research. For video of ARDRAF recipients and supporters speaking, click here.

To learn about past awards, see the "Past Award Information" drop-down box below. 

ARDRAF is administered by the Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Center is responsible for developing application procedures and review criteria, establishing fiscal controls and reporting requirements, and monitoring the conduct of investigations. Below is a brief description of the application process.

Applicants submit a non-binding letter of intent with a tentative title, non-technical abstract, and a 4-5-sentence description of the project in common, everyday language for press release purposes.

Once received, applications are assigned to technical reviewers who represent domestic and international scientific and medical communities. In addition, each proposal will be assigned to a peer reviewer recommended by the applicant (see further instructions on the application form). 

The criteria for review are as follows: 

1) Scientific merit with respect to the: 

    • significance of proposed hypotheses
    • adequacy of the methodology and design
    • potential for subsequent funding 

2) Appropriateness of proposal for funding by the ARDRAF 

3) Adequacy of the:  

    • investigation team (with respect to background and training)
    • physical facilities
    • budget

A prestigious review panel convenes in an all-day meeting to analyze the feedback from reviewers, determine the funding priority scores, and make the final funding decisions. 

The number and size of the awards vary each year but are limited to $45,000. VCoA absorbs all administrative costs, passing each year's full appropriation to the award recipients. Applicants are evaluated by a third-party professional awards committee and awards are granted based on a competitive evaluation process. To learn more about past awards, please review our ARDRAF Broadsheet (1982-2020).

  • 27 recipient organizations
  • $5.02 Million competitively awarded
  • $45.6 Million in subsequent funding earned by awardees
  • 313 related scientific and professional publications
  • almost a $10 return on every dollar invested by the Virginia General Assembly

The quality of ARDRAF recipients' work is reflected by our inclusion in the National Institute of Health's International Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Research Portfolio (IADRP)The IADRP is an online portal and database sponsored by NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association. It aims to avoid unintended duplication of funding efforts, identify gaps, and facilitate opportunities for collaborative research. Using a Common Alzheimer’s Disease Research Ontology (CADRO), we with the IADRP to categorize all of the ARDRAF grants awarded from 2008 to 2017. Users can systematically filter by CADRO category to find researchers in Virginia working in their area of expertise. 

International Alzheimer's Disease Research Portfolio


Number of ARDRAF Awards given in various categories

  • Brain Aging and Common Mechanisms related to Dementia: 1
  • Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring: 6
  • Care, Support and Health Economics of Alzheimer's Disease: 13
  • Molecular Pathogenesis and Physiology of Alzheimer's Disease: 24 
  • Translational Research and Clinical Interventions: 15

Total awards given in these categories: 59



The International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP) is an online portal and database sponsored by National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association. It aims to avoid unintended duplication of funding efforts, identify gaps, and facilitate opportunities for collaborative research. Using a Common Alzheimer’s Disease Research Ontology (CADRO), we worked with the IADRP to categorize all of the ARDRAF grants awarded from 2008 to 2013. This table shows the breakdown of grants awarded among the seven major categories in the ontology. Click here to view past ARDRAF awards that are in the IADRP database. This website is a great tool to find collaborators in your field.