REC Scholar Program

Call for applications for the 2021 REC Scholars Program now open. Apply by November 10, 2020.

View a PDF of the 2021 REC Scholars Program Call for Applications

Meet the REC Scholars


Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Career goal: Develop a clinical research program focused on improving Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis as well as access to care and treatments, especially for high-risk and disadvantaged populations.


Nicole Rogus-Pulia, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Career goal: Utilize her training as a scientist and speech-language pathologist to develop an evidence-based treatment for dysphagia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Program and Application details

The Wisconsin ADRC Research Education Component (REC) Scholar Program supports exceptional junior investigators at UW–Madison in their development into independent Alzheimer's disease (AD) researchers. This program is intended to support AD training for individual researchers and to facilitate development of skills in basic, clinical and translational research.

The program will include: 

  • Training in core research competencies and the ADRC core content areas necessary for success as an independent scientist (see Figure 1 below)
  • Training in basic, clinical and translational research concepts necessary for furthering innovative research on AD
  • Mentorship to advance research independence
  • $80,000 over two years to support direct costs for a research project

This program does not provide salary support. Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have protected time to carry out their project and engage in training.

Graphic showing content areas for the Wisconsin ADRC REC Scholar Program
Figure 1


The REC Scholar Program offers a 2-year appointment and can accommodate up to three junior faculty or postdoctoral fellows at a time. A third year in the program may be available for those REC Scholars demonstrating need and suitable progress. The Wisconsin ADRC will fill two REC Scholar openings for the appointment period April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2023.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must: 

  • Be junior faculty or advanced postdoctoral level, early stage investigators
  • Have an appointment at UW–Madison
  • Must have a minimum of 20% protected research time to carry out project
  • Have research aims that can be connected to or benefit AD research and align with the National Alzheimer’s Project Act
  • Have published works, contributions to science, positions and honors

In addition:

  • Applicants who have an NIH career award or similar are preferred, but this is not required.
  • Applicants may have an NIH R01 grant (or similar) application under review at the time of their application. However, applicants who hold an R01 or similar award are not eligible.
  • REC support is intended primarily for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, unless there is strong justification otherwise based on exceptional relevance to the NIH and NIA.

Scholar Expectations and Program Benefits

The REC Scholar Program will support the development of research skills and a deeper understanding of AD and related dementias. Scholars will gain knowledge in AD research through didactics, interaction with other scholars and faculty in the Wisconsin ADRC and nationally, and carrying out their own research projects. By creating a cohort of REC Scholars who learn new skills together and providing opportunities for networking, we expect benefits that last past completion of this program, including that REC Scholars become peer mentors and collaborate in future studies. By participating in a variety of seminar series and workshops, we also expect that REC Scholars will integrate with other AD researchers from across campus and nationally and will develop research collaborations that draw others into AD research.

REC Scholars are required to develop proficiency in research competencies and ADRC core competencies (see Figure 1 above). To accomplish this goal, scholars will be required to participate in:

Mentor and Career Coaching

Scholars will:

  • Meet regularly with their mentors
  • Create an individualized development plan (IDP)
  • Present progress reports at meetings with mentors, program leadership and department chairs

Mentored Research Scholars Seminar Series/UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) (monthly)

This provides junior researchers with training in the core competencies of research. Participation is required.

Additional Training

Additional training will be based on an entrance evaluation of research competencies using the NIH proficiency scale. Supplemental training needs will be based on the REC Scholar’s career goals and determined by the scholar and their mentors. Proficiency in these research competencies will be achieved through a blend of self-directed modules, seminars, workshops and experiential activities.

Data Presentation

  • REC Scholars will present at one Wisconsin ADRC seminar series and/or the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Day
  • Scholars will attend at least one national ADC meeting during their two-year cycle

Research Responsibilities

  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain all relevant approvals (e.g., IRB) at the time of application
  • Awardees must include a project progress report in the Wisconsin ADRC’s annual NIH RPPR (typically due by early January for both years of the funding cycle)

Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Quality of the proposed scientific investigation and its significance for the field of Alzheimer’s disease research
  • Need for training in Alzheimer’s disease research
  • Quality of proposed training plan and mentors
  • Overall impact and public health significance
  • Potential of the proposal to attract future NIH and other grant funding
  • Qualifications and background of the applicant
  • Vetted by the REC advisory panel to determine readiness to lead a research project and meet aims of the program

Important Dates

Application Deadline: November 10, 2020, by midnight local time

Award Announcement: Beginning of January 2021

Cycle and Funding Begin: April 1, 2021

How to Apply

Completed applications should be sent, in PDF form, to

Applications must include the following: 

  • Cover page (download PDF)
  • Abstract (no more than 0.5 pages)
  • Specific aims for the project that the $80,000 will support (1 page) 
  • Research plan (3 pages); preliminary data not required. Include statement on how the proposed project will lead to extramural funding.
  • Training plan (1 page); include proposed training in at least three of the eight ADRC content areas (see Figure 1)
  • Applicant NIH Biosketch 
  • Biosketch(es) of one or more proposed mentor(s) with expertise in AD
  • Budget (direct costs) – use PHS 398 Budget Form. Include travel to one ADC meeting in the two year cycle as well as travel and registration for AAIC, ADPD, or a similar AD-centered conference.
  • Letter of support from department chair or division head. Letter should confirm protected time to carry out the proposed research project and training activities. 
  • Formatting: 
    • Text font should be in Arial or Times New Roman 
    • Type should be no smaller than 11-point 
    • Figures, charts, tables, figure legends and footnotes must be legible
    • Single or double spaced
    • All margins must be at least 0.5 inches

Please direct questions to Sheryl Spensley.