The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (CCAD) is a program of New Vision Research (NVR), whose mission is to transform the way science is funded by investing in researchers with innovative ideas early on in their careers. Since its inception in 2013, CCAD has become a select conference where the brightest minds in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research are nominated to submit research proposals with the chance of being awarded funding.
The conference is held across three days, during which researchers present their proposals, participate in a mock NIH study section, and collaborate with investigators from all areas of AD. In total, CCAD has awarded $1,175,000 in research funding and connected over one-hundred early-career researchers from around the world.
Before the Conference
Early career investigators are nominated by members of the Scientific Board or past CCAD attendees based on their research, its relevance to enhancing the current understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of AD, and the representativeness of their subfields in current AD research initiatives.
Of those nominated, fifteen are invited to prepare and submit a proposal in the form of an NIH-R03 grant application, detailing how they would utilize $100,000 of funding to further AD research. Before writing their proposals, the invitees are given the contact information of other invitees and encouraged to collaborate to expand their ideas or submit joint proposals.
During the Conference
On Friday, each investigator presents their proposal in a 15-minute oral presentation and answers questions from the Scientific Board and other participants. On Saturday, the investigators participate in a ‘Mock Study Section’, mirroring the process used by the NIH, during which they review and score each other’s proposals. After the Study Section, the Scientific Board confers and selects the proposals to receive funding. New Vision Awards are presented at a dinner on Saturday evening.
Over the course of the weekend, CCAD participants have the opportunity to explore Charleston, SC, and meet and mingle with their colleagues in social and professional settings. The small size of the conference and diversity of specific specialties represented creates a dynamic environment to develop collaborative relationships. Participants from each year’s conference form their own cohort, but also join together with all past participants to represent the future of Alzheimer’s disease research.
- Arrive in Charleston
- Light Cocktail Reception
- Alumni Presentation
- Presentation Day
- Q&A Session
- Dinner Excursion
- Mock NIH Study Section
- Free Time to Explore
- Awards Dinner
Location - Venue - Travel
The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease is held in Charleston, South Carolina at the Charleston Place Hotel. Voted for the second year in a row as the ‘Top City in the United States’ by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards, Charleston boasts historical charm, world-class restaurants, and the beach at your doorstep. For more information about what Charleston has to offer, visit the Charleston Visitors Bureau.
Conference-related expenses, such as room reservations and meals, are complimentary for participants. Each early-career investigator is also provided a stipend of $599 to cover transportation costs.
After the Conference
Following the conference, attendees continue communicating and collaborating with each other and mentors that they met at the conference. Learn more about CCAD participants and what they are up to now through the CCAD Newsletter.
To participate in CCAD, a researcher must be nominated by a senior scientist or a CCAD alumni. Generally, nominations are received from a CCAD alumni or leader in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), such as the director of an AD research center or university faculty.
Nominees must meet the following criteria:
Unfortunately, no. If you have been nominated but live or are associated with an institution outside of the USA we are unable to consider your application.
If you would like to be nominated but do not have anyone who might be able to nominate you send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we will pair you up with a potential mentor who will be able to nominate you as long as you meet the nomination criteria.
If you have been nominated, you will receive an email requiring the following documents: 1) Your curriculum vitae. 2) Brief explanation of your research (2-page limit). 3) Your current NIH Biosketch. These three separate documents must be submitted before the specified deadline for that year. Once you send your application document in, you will wait to hear if you are invited to attend CCAD
No, references do not count towards the two page limit of your brief research explanation.
After all nominees submit their applications, the CCAD board reviews them and selects the top fifteen to be invited to CCAD. The board usually receives about fifty applications and takes a few months to carefully review each one before making a decision. Only nominees whose applications were selected are invited to attend CCAD.
When the CCAD board has reviewed all applications and made their final decisions, you will be contacted by the CCAD program manager to notify you, whether you have been selected or not.
Yes, there is no limit on how many times you can be nominated and apply to the conference. Please note, you must be nominated anew every year that you wish to apply.
Yes, if you have a K99 or R00 you are still eligible to be nominated and to apply to CCAD. You are NOT eligible if you are the PI for an R01 grant, program grant or center grant by the date the conference will be held.
Once you have been invited to attend CCAD, you must formally accept or decline your invitation. If you wish to accept, you must submit: 1) Affirmation of your intent to submit a proposal and attend the entire conference. 2) A statement that your organization will accept the grant understanding that no indirect costs will be provided. 3) A recent headshot photo. You will then have a minimum of three months to prepare a proposal to present and defend at the conference.
If you wish to decline your invite, you must do so in written response to the CCAD program manager. Please do this in a timely manner to ensure your spot can be offered to another investigator.
If you have already submitted a grant that has received a fundable score but will not likely receive the official grant by the time the conference will be held, you are still eligible to attend. However, you must make sure your proposal is sufficiently distinct from the grant application. It can be related, but it must be distinct.
With your proposal, you may either submit a detailed budget or a modular budget. There is no preference for one over the other. Please submit the one that makes the most sense for your proposal.
No, there is no particular order that the application must be submitted, as long as all required documents are included.
There is no annual limit. The total budget for the two years is $100,000.
All attendees are given a bio/research booklet of their fellow peers attending the conference. You may choose to collaborate and present your proposal at the conference. If you choose to do so, you and your collaborator will submit one proposal and will have the same amount of time to present at the conference as any other proposal presented.
During your presentation you will be given a total of 30 minutes; 20 minutes to present and the remaining 10 minutes for Q&A. You are encouraged to keep your presentation to 20 minutes max, as mentors and fellow peers will have questions. You will be required to submit a PowerPoint, or Keynote, presentation the day before you present for your presentation visual.
In 2012, three friends, a scientist, a lawyer and a philanthropist, each touched personally or professionally by Alzheimer’s disease (AD), met to discuss challenges in AD research: difficulty securing funding, lack of collaboration across different fields of research, the time it takes to develop research ideas, and little support for early-career researches or those with more novel or experimental ideas.
Their solution was the Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (CCAD), a forum for early-career scientists to present their research proposals for review and possible funding. The three goals of the conference – to support early-career investigators, encourage risk and innovative thinking, and foster cross-field collaboration – established a new approach AD research. The first conference was held in March, 2013, in Charleston, South Carolina.