I am delighted to share with you Inside NIMH, a new electronic newsletter which the NIMH will publish three times each year following meetings of the National Advisory Mental Health Council. This e-newsletter (see below) will provide the latest news on funding opportunities and policies at NIMH. Future issues will highlight research breakthroughs, new tools for mental health research, and public education efforts.
This premier edition of Inside NIMH is being sent to grantees and other interested groups who we believe will benefit from learning more about NIMH-supported resources, research, and funding opportunities. If you wish to unsubscribe, subscribe, or change your e-mail address, please contact the NIMH Webmaster.
We hope you will find this e-newsletter informative.
Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Inside NIMH, a newsletter for providing research funding information for NIMH awardees. As the major source of funding for mental health research, the Institute is constantly seeking ways to improve communication with the research community about the latest funding opportunities, priorities, and future directions. We will publish Inside NIMH three times a year to provide concise and up-to-date information on:
If you have questions or suggestions for topics that you would like to see in Inside NIMH, please contact the NIMH Webmaster.
The fiscal year (FY) 2006 NIH budget has been a topic of discussion and, for some, concern in the research community. I am writing today to help clarify the budgetary facts and strategies for NIMH at this time. (The NIH website has additional information about the overall NIH budget.)
The most important message about this year's NIMH research budget is we are paying new grants and paying our non-competing continuation awards. In FY 2006, we estimate that NIMH will fund approximately 550 new research project grants (RPGs*). This, in combination with new competing awards in other research grants, centers, and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), as well as the non-competing continuation awards in these areas, will result in our funding more than 2,900 extramural research awards in FY 2006. Although this represents a 1.8 percent decrease in comparison to FY 2005, it is 47.2 percent greater than the number of awards made in 1998, the year prior to the initiation of the doubling of the NIH budget.
Why haven't we doubled the number of grants if the budget has doubled? The average cost of a grant has increased over 40 percent during this period, limiting the number of grants that we can fund.
How will we make funding decisions during these times of budgetary constraint? NIMH has developed a funding strategy with several key components:
Implementation of this funding strategy is firmly grounded in the strategic plans and priorities that have evolved through input from our various stakeholders and Council workgroups. Each extramural Division has developed areas of high priority and posted these on the NIMH website. Overall, our highest priorities are on:
This is a time of great scientific excitement in mental health. Discoveries in basic science are leading to new, more effective treatments, and ultimately the possibilities of preventing and curing mental illnesses. Through sound funding strategies and priority setting, NIMH will continue to support research and research training that is innovative, relevant, and has the capacity for making rapid progress for improving the lives of millions struggling with the disability, pain, and torment of mental and behavioral disorders.
Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
*RPGs include the following grant mechanisms: P01, P42, R01, R03, R15, R21, R29, R33, R34, R35, R36, R37, R41, R42, R43, R44, R55, R56, U01, U19, U43, U44.
Each week, NIH electronically distributes the NIH GUIDE, a listing of all NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), which include requests for applications (RFAs), program announcements (PAs), and important notices for the scientific community. Below are samples of FOAs in which NIMH is participating. The Research and Funding page on the NIMH website has links to listings of all NIMH FOAs and other resources.
Note: You can subscribe to regular weekly e-mails of the NIH GUIDE.
NIMH is seeking applications for research that characterizes the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) and other noncoding RNAs in the etiology of mental disorders. The data generated by this effort will contribute to the disaggregation of the molecular machinery underlying mental disorders by integrating sequence specific modulators of post-transcriptional gene expression into a theoretical framework of disease pathophysiology.
Release Date: May 11, 2006; Expiration Date: July 22, 2006
NIMH, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) are calling for partnerships between U.S. (or other developed country) and non-U.S. scientists that will enhance capabilities for rigorous behavioral and social science research in developing countries affected by the HIV epidemic. Investigators undertaking research in response to this RFA should be mindful of the efforts in their country to develop and implement strategic plans on the national and community levels to address local HIV/AIDS-related challenges and problems.
Release Date: April 13, 2006; Expiration Date: December 14, 2006
The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), which serves as a focal point for women's health research at the NIH, and cosponsors are aiming to promote interdisciplinary research in sex/gender factors through these centers. The ORWH has published An Agenda for Research on Women's Health for the 21st Century that provides an outline of research needs identified through national taskforces. This ORWH website also provides the FY 2006 research priorities identified by the Institutes and Centers (PDF file).
Release Date: June 12, 2006; Expiration Date: September 15, 2006
The ORWH and its cosponsors are inviting institutional career development award applications for Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Career Development Programs. These Programs will support mentored research career development of junior faculty members who have recently completed clinical training or postdoctoral fellowships and who will be engaged in interdisciplinary basic, translational, behavioral, clinical, or health services research relevant to women's health or sex/gender factors. The goal of this initiative is to increase the number and skills of investigators through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent scientific career that will benefit the health of women.
Release Date: June 13, 2006; Expiration Date: September 15, 2006
This is a re-issuance with modifications of PAR-03-138. The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIMH are seeking to assist researchers interested in HIV therapeutics development to assemble the diverse scientific expertise and resources needed to translate basic laboratory discoveries to applied entities. In the preclinical area, this RFA seeks research on: (1) the development/validation of new therapeutic targets; and (2) the development and evaluation of small-molecule inhibitors of viral or cellular proteins or pathways critical to HIV replication and/or persistence. In the clinical area, the focus is on iterative bench-to-bedside research to optimize new therapeutic approaches.
Release Date: March 1, 2006; Expiration Date: June 24, 2006
Since the beginning of February 2006, NIMH has published over 50 program announcements highlighting areas of research interest, which span topics in genetics, basic neuroscience, behavioral science, translational research, interventions, and mental health services research. The NIMH website has a full listing of these program announcements.
The NIH Roadmap is a set of progressive initiatives that seek to transform all of biomedical research and accelerate its discoveries. All NIH Institutes, including NIMH, participate in the Roadmap, and funding opportunities are open to all investigators.
The Neuroscience Blueprint is a framework to enhance cooperative activities among 15 NIH Institutes and Centers that support research on the nervous system. The Blueprint aims to develop research tools, resources, and training and to make them available to the neuroscience community.
This listing of potential future initiatives is meant to provide the earliest possible alert to the field of our research interests and of potential upcoming announcements to solicit that research. While NIMH plans to proceed with these initiatives, their publication and timing are not certain and depend on sufficient funding. The titles and brief descriptions are consistent with the information available at the time of concept clearance. The resultant FOAs may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects.
To send questions about a specific concept, follow the "Submit Comments" link at the bottom of the description.
Research workshops and scientific meetings are some of the best forums in which to identify research gaps and to stimulate new areas of mental health research. Below are brief descriptions of meetings that NIMH has sponsored over the past six months. You should send questions about a specific meeting to the program contact in its description.
Much progress has been made since December 2005 — when NIH began conversion to the electronic submission process of applications via the SF 424 (Research and Related) forms. As of June 1, the following applications must be submitted through the electronic system:
The NIH website has a conversion schedule for all grant applications.
Additionally, three major changes in the grant application process were recently announced:
The Electronic Application Process Web page provides step-by-step instruction on the entire process.
More information about electronic submission is just a website away. NIH has posted a helpful list of "common errors" to avoid when submitting your first electronic application.
If you have questions about the process, the NIH website also has a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that contains useful information.
Please help us spread the word about the results of NIMH funding by acknowledging our support of your research, for example, in journal articles (citing your NIMH award by number when possible) and other communications. NIMH has two primary methods of getting the word out:
These are all also distributed to the public through the NIMH Listserv, which now has more than 20,000 subscribers.
If you have a manuscript accepted for publication that describes an especially significant finding, please contact your NIMH program director to discuss the possibility of a news release or other forms of dissemination.