Call for Submissions for Round 3 of the Impetus Grants, $10M for Aging Research Proposals

The Impetus Grants project has for the past few years aimed to make rapid, low-overhead philanthropic grants to researchers in order to accelerate aging research. While choosing to funding specific proposals, the organizers appear to keep the bigger picture in mind. One might not agree with their chosen directions, but they do try to support work that would otherwise not be supported. The recent call for submissions for the August 2023 $10 million round of grants starts out on a contrarian note, in search of projects that can stress test existing directions and theories in the field, and ends with a thought on accelerating translation of preclinical programs into animal studies.

For my part, I'd say that the best approach to accelerate the field is to fund as many different approaches as possible to the point at which they can leave academia to raise venture funding sufficient to conduct initial clinical trials. Assessing a diverse set of approaches for their ability to produce results in non-human primates and human clinical trials may well be the fastest path to settling arguments about the best way forward for the field, about which mechanisms are most important, about which approaches have the highest priority. Much of the SENS agenda for rejuvenation biotechnology now has at least one company carrying forward an approach, and enough work is going into broadening the pool of venture funding available to the longevity industry for clinical development to give companies with good data a decent chance at raising enough to conduct initial clinical trials. What constitutes "fast" in this context still means waiting a decade, of course.

10 Million Dollars For Aging Science - Round 3 Announcement

Started in 2021, Impetus Grants made its goal to go after ideas in the aging space that would be ignored by traditional funders. Since then, we deployed more than $24 million into science, supporting a number of aging clinical trials, biomarkers, novel tools, and model organisms. In August of 2023, we will launch a new round, together with Hevolution and Rosenkranz foundations, providing $5 Million in matching funding each. Thematically, the upcoming round will be open-ended, with a focus on high-risk high-reward kind of aging science. We are also looking to enable the following kind of research, among other things.

1.Proposals that stress-test popular theories of aging. Example: Recently, there has been published yet another study showing that eliminating senescent cells is detrimental for the organism - this time in the lungs of mice.

2.Proposals that stress-test popular protocols for extending the lifespan. Example: In the last two years reprogramming has become the central topic of many companies and research groups. However, it hasn't been rigorously investigated or reported as to what extent rejuvenating effects of partial reprogramming happen due to the depletion (death) of aged cells in the reprogramming pool.

3.Category-openers or proposals that test novel mechanisms and approaches to reversing aging. Example: In the previous round we funded a project that was deemed to be very risky by our reviewers, as it didn't have any research precedents. That work, "Extending lifespan in C.Elegans by controlling mitochondrial membrane potential with light", pioneered a concept of external energy replacement for treating aging, creating a novel branch of aging research. We are looking forward to funding more proposals that develop absolutely new paradigms and ways of thinking about geroscience, even if it comes at risks.

4. Translation of preclinical findings. We continue looking into creating greater worldwide access to improved model organisms, to make early large-animal studies less prohibitively expensive. We will also continue supporting a great number of proposals that test the context-dependence of known aging modulators.

Applications will open on the main page on August 1st and will stay open until August 31st, 2023. More guidance on writing applications can be found on our website.