Impetus announces $10 million for aging science research grants

Hevolution and Rosenkranz foundations provide $5m in matched funding for grants that champion high risk high reward aging research.

Established in 2021, Impetus Grants is dedicated to supporting innovative ideas in the aging space that might otherwise be overlooked by traditional funders – go bold, or go home.

Now Impetus has announced that it is set to launch a new round in August 2023, with Hevolution and Rosenkranz foundations each providing $5 million in matching funding. Thematically, says Impetus, the upcoming round will be open-ended, with a focus on high-risk high-reward kind of aging science.

Longevity.Technology: Impetus has successfully deployed over $24 million into scientific research projects, seeking out what they consider to be the most important problems in aging biology and awarding grants based on potential impact rather than possible pitfalls. Projects funded to date include aging-related clinical trials, biomarker research, and the development of novel tools and model organisms related to the aging process.

Among other things, Impetus plans to use the funding to enable the following kind of research:

Proposals that stress-test popular theories of aging 

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 [1].  Currently, researchers are raising questions about therapies aimed at controlling cell senescence; Impetus would like to fund more proposals investigating this question as it does not expect this direction to be supported by traditional funding.

Proposals that stress-test popular protocols for extending the lifespan 

In the last couple of years, reprogramming has become the central topic of many companies and research groups. However, Impetus feels 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. Given the susceptibility of aged cells to undergo apoptosis in reprogramming [2], Impetus believes that investigating this question further would be critical for improving current antiaging reprogramming protocols.

Category-openers or proposals that test novel mechanisms and approaches to reversing aging

In the previous round, Impetus funded a project that was deemed to be very risky by its reviewers, as it didn’t have any research precedents. That work, Extending lifespan in C elegans by controlling mitochondrial membrane potential with light, has now been published in Nature Aging. With this proposal, the group pioneered a concept of external energy replacement for treating aging, creating a novel branch of aging research. Impetus is looking forward to funding more proposals that develop absolutely new paradigms and ways of thinking about geroscience, even if it comes with risks (as in the described case).

Translation of preclinical findings

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

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


Photograph: ktsimage/Envato