There are arguably many areas of long-term care that need more research, but one that is most intriguing is the need for better leadership practices for administrators.

No one is eager to admit this is a part of the job where he or she is struggling. After all, if you fear your leadership skills aren’t up to snuff, you probably aren’t inclined to discuss it with your staff. Luckily, the Harvey Picker Center of Innovation & Applied Research is looking for a way to help.

The center, which debuted in January as a sister organization of Planetree, is asking for proposals to advance the development of person-centered leadership.

“Person-centered care will revolutionize what long-term care is,” says Michael Lepore, Ph.D., Planetree’s Director of Quality, Research, & Evaluation and an adjunct professor at Brown University. “We want to bring together research, policy and practice.”

The center is offering five matching grants for up to $10,000 each for a year of study. Letters of intent are due July 15 and full proposals will be due August 30. Those grantees or institutions selected have to be able to provide a 100% matching contribution. A letter of support is required from an institution officer stating the intention to provide the matching funds.

The Picker Center is looking for long-term care settings and service providers, higher education institutions, or nonprofits to apply. While you have to have the institutional support, Lepore says he is eager to hear from those in the trenches of long-term care, not just academics.

“We are definitely hoping and expecting to get applications from a variety of providers,” he said.

There are two major topic areas sought for the research. The first — person-centered long-term care leadership — suggests proposals on developing a toolkit for long-term care administrators for evidence-based leadership, or how residents can be a part of organizational decision-making. The second area of person-centered long-term care practices could tackle issues such as resident empowerment or addressing how to overcome barriers to quality care.

The center “wants our work to stem from the voices of long-term care residents,” Lepore said. The proposal evaluation committee includes a list people intimately familiar with long-term care, and includes Ruta Kadonoff, MA, MHS, the vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at the American Health Care Association; Judah Ronch, Ph.D., dean and professor at the Erickson School of Aging at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County; and Jennie Chin Hansen, RN, MSN, FAAN, the chief executive officer of the American Geriatrics Society.

While there’s already been some interest in the grants, Lepore says the group is eager to see what ends up being submitted. “I’m expecting to find some innovative projects,” he said.

Winners will be announced Oct. 9 and their grants will run from January to December of 2014. The process will include a presentation at the Planetree conference in October 2014.

Details on the proposals can be found here.