MIT Roybal Center for Translational Research to Improve Health Care for the Aging

Group of older adults exercising

About Us

One of 15 Roybal Centers in the United States, the MIT Roybal Center for Translational Research to Improve Health Care for the Aging will support randomized evaluations of low-cost, high-impact behavioral interventions to improve health care delivery and health outcomes for older adults in the United States.

According to the National Council on Aging, over 25 million Americans over the age of sixty are economically insecure, living at below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. In addition, the aging population is more likely to utilize our health care system and experiences higher rates of chronic disease and other illnesses. Low-cost, behavioral interventions have the potential to dramatically improve health outcomes and reduce costs of care for the aging population, especially for those experiencing poverty. However, too little is known about which behavioral interventions are effective for improving the health of aging individuals. The Center, in collaboration with partners, will work to build a body of evidence to inform policymakers and practitioners on which behavioral interventions work, and why. Previous projects funded by Roybal Centers include “Changing Behavior in Hospitalized Seniors with Healthy Mobility to Reduce Harms of Hospitalization,” “Structuring Incentives to Attract and Retain Wellness Program Participants,” and “Changing and Understanding Motivation to Increase Physical Activity Among Sedentary Older Adults.” 

Each year, the MIT Center will run one Request For Proposals to solicit pilot proposals from the J-PAL research network on behavioral interventions to improve health outcomes for the elderly and aging individuals. Previously funded J-PAL projects on aging-related issues include “The Impact of Medicare Bundled Payments: Evidence from a Nationwide Randomized Evaluation for Lower Extremity Joint Replacement” and “Deferring Agency at End-of-Life: The Role of Information and Advance Directives.” For more information, contact Hannah Reuter, the US Health Care Delivery Initiative Manager. 

The MIT Roybal Center for Translational Research to Improve Health Care for the Aging is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The Roybal Center was created with support from a five-year P30 center grant to conduct translational research on aging populations.


NBER and MIT Roybal Centers Joint Virtual Meeting

June 3rd 2022 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT 

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Request for Proposals (RFP) MIT Roybal Center for Translation Research to Improve Health Care for the Aging 

The MIT Roybal Center seeks to identify, fund, and support low-cost, high impact trials of behavioral interventions for mid-life and older people that can inform policy solutions to ensure their care is efficient, effective, and equitable.


October 5, 2021 - RFP is issued

January 5, 2022 - Proposal Submission Deadline

Week of March 1, 2022 - Awards Announced

March 21st, 2022 - Deadline to submit supplemental Roybal proposal documents for NIH review and approval

June, 2022 - Award letters released *

* Contingent on securing NIH approval

Types of proposals

Pilot Studies 

The Roybal Center will accept pilot proposals only.  Pilot studies may be awarded a maximum of $75,000, including the full federally-negotiated indirect cost rate of the PI’s institution. The award period for NIH pilot awards should be for one year from July-June to align with the Roybal budget period. Projects will not be able to begin enrollment or any other activities until NIH has approved the project, which will likely be in June 2022.

Covid Guidelines 

The following modifications are in place as of October 29, 2020 until noted otherwise.

1. All applications must follow J-PAL’s Covid-19 response guidelines in regard to in-person interactions with subjects.

2. If your proposed project will feature in-person interactions with subjects, vendors, or partners, please note that the evolving situation could result in changes to these guidelines at a future date. Therefore, please be sure to include the following in your application materials, which are listed in more detail in the “How to Apply” section:

  • Budget Narrative: Include a discussion of what funds will and will not be spent in what timeframes if the proposed project is paused, modified, or dissolved because of Covid-19 related disruptions.
  • Proposal Narrative: Outline aspects of the proposed project that can be completed right away vs aspects dependent on the status of the Covid response more broadly. The proposal should also include plans for conducting fieldwork, and how this will evolve should Covid-19 prevent in-person contact.

Eligibility Criteria 

J-PAL-affiliated researchers, J-PAL post-doctoral fellows, and HCDI-invited researchers are eligible to apply for funding. Graduate students are not eligible for Roybal funding. 


How do I apply?

The following documents must be sent to the Roybal RFP manager Hannah Reuter ([email protected]) by 5pm ET on Wednesday, January 5, 2022:

  • Proposal narrative - for full details on what to include in the proposal narrative
  • A completed Roybal RFP cover sheet
  • A completed Roybal RFP budget
  • A budget narrative

All of these documents can be found under the "application documents" heading. 

Who will review applications?

Proposals are reviewed by two peer reviewers from J-PAL’s academic network. After peer review, the HCDI RFP Review Board reviews each proposal and makes all funding decisions. The Review Board may grant an unconditional approval, a conditional approval (pending minor revisions), a request to revise and resubmit, or a rejection. After review by the Review Board, proposals will then be sent to the NIA for final approval. PIs will need to provide additional documentation for NIA review. Requirements will vary across proposals. Regardless of funding status, all applicants to the RFP will receive redacted comments from the referees.  

Please note that the MIT Roybal Center will not accept off-cycle submissions.

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