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Created with support from a five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct translational research on aging populations, the Penn Roybal Center on Palliative Care in Dementia is one of 13 Roybal Centers in the nation. It is one of four such Centers studying dementia, and the only Center focused on palliative care for people living with dementia and their caregivers.


The Penn Roybal Center on Palliative Care in Dementia uniquely brings together behavioral and data scientists from the Penn Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Wharton, and Engineering, and dementia experts from across the U.S., to develop and test novel interventions that bridge the dramatic gap between the supply of, and the need for, palliative care services among persons with dementia in long-term supports and services.


The Center will annually award funds for pilot studies conducted in real-world settings through an innovative partnership with Genesis HealthCare, the largest owner of nursing home facilities in the country. Awarded studies will be carried out in Genesis facilities with support from a multi-disciplinary team from Penn and Genesis. 


Funding Priorities

We have partnered with Genesis HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest LTSS companies, which will act as the learning lab for successfully funded pilots. Given the impact of the pandemic on LTSS facility clinicians and staff, it is possible that proposals that require appreciable hands-on effort on the parts of these essential workers will not be feasible. Thus, investigators are encouraged to propose projects that are as “hands-off” as possible from the perspective of LTSS facility clinicians and staff. If staff or clinician effort is required, investigators should specifically justify in their applications why it may be feasible.


Please note the following about our priorities:

>We welcome applications related to the broad themes of palliative care delivery and advance care planning for persons with dementia in LTSS facilities and their family caregivers.


>We specifically encourage applications that use methods from the fields of behavioral economics, data science, or both, but the most meritorious applications regardless of methodologic discipline(s) will be funded.


We will only fund applications that include a clinical trial as defined by the NIH (which may be a pilot trial designed to test intervention acceptability, preliminary efficacy, or other early-phase outcomes). Proposals for multi-year awards may include research in the first year using other methods that will provide essential data in direct support of a clinical trial (e.g., testing of feasibility, acceptability, methods of identifying patients, etc), if the proposal includes a clinical trial in later years.


Areas of interest can be found in the full request for applications here.

Partnership with Genesis HealthCare

Genesis HealthCare (Genesis) provides short to long-term healthcare services offering a wide variety of living options and professional clinical services in nearly 400 facilities across the nation. Their partnership with the Penn Roybal Center in Palliative Care in Dementia speaks to their dedication to innovation and discovery. Studies carried out in Genesis facilities will have the benefit of support from a multi-disciplinary team from Penn and Genesis. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LTSS facilities cannot be overstated – as policies and priorities evolve at Genesis we will work with awardees to make adjustments to research plans as needed. Specific questions about Genesis can be emailed to


We will also consider proposals from investigators who would like to conduct their studies in facilities outside of Genesis with whom they have preexisting relationships. These investigators should describe the nature of their collaboration in the research plan, and provide letter(s) of support from company or facility leadership. Such letters would not count toward the page limit.

Year 4 Request for Applications



Penn Roybal Center on Palliative Care in Dementia-affiliated faculty members and their trainees (junior faculty and/or post-doctoral fellows) are eligible to apply for funding. If you are interested in becoming an affiliated investigator please see the instructions in the full request for applications.

Evaluation Criteria


>Fit with the Roybal Center’s themes of behavioral economics and data science

>Fit with NIH Stage Model             

>Inclusion of a clinical trial

>Potential to lead to future funding of effectiveness and/or implementation trials

>Inclusion of investigators from multiple disciplines

>Importance of knowledge to be gained

>Scientific rigor



We will distribute up to $85,000 in direct costs. Individual applicants may request budgets from $25,000 to $85,000 in direct costs and may propose projects lasting 12 – 18 months.




Submission Deadline:

January 31, 2022 at 5 PM EST

Notice of Award:

Late February 2022

Funding Begins:

October 1, 2022



For additional information, please email

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We generate high-quality evidence to advance healthcare policies and practices that improve the lives of all people affected by serious illness.