Funding News for Current and Future NIMH Awardees • June 2011 Edition
June 2011 Table of Contents
Inside NIMH is produced by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about the Institute, visit our website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov. For comments and suggestions about Inside NIMH, please contact the NIMH Webmaster. The material in this newsletter is not copyrighted, and we encourage its use or reprinting.
Welcome to the latest edition of Inside NIMH. This edition of the newsletter discusses recent funding and some new initiatives the Institute is considering for the future. We e-publish Inside NIMH after each meeting of the National Mental Health Advisory Council. In addition, check out the Director’s blog on our website for regular updates on timely topics at NIMH. I hope you find this information interesting and helpful. Please let us know if you have questions or comments on this edition.
I. Message from the NIMH Director
Budget for the Remainder of FY 2011
The NIMH fiscal year (FY) 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR) budget is $1.477B. This is roughly a one percent decrease from FY 2010. While this is the first decrease in NIMH funding in the past three decades, it is considerably less than the cuts to many other agencies during this period of financial restraint. Following the productive two years of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, FY 2011 will feel like a period of austerity to you, our research community. We expect to support 452 new and competing awards in FY 2011, which is nearly 20 percent below our average annual target of 550 new grants. This drop reflects not only the budget reduction, but also an increase in the cost of non-competing grants, which amounts to an extra $30M this year compared with previous years.
Consistent with NIH policy for non-competing awards, we will be reducing budgets for previously funded grants by one percent below the FY 2010 amount (for both modular and non-modular grants). Going forward, future inflationary adjustments for recurring costs on new and competing grants will be set at two percent. NIMH will continue to support new investigators on R01 awards at success rates equivalent to that of established investigators submitting new R01 applications. Research training awards will receive a two percent increase at all stipend levels.
With expectations that our budget will be flat or lower in FY 2012 and beyond, NIMH has been reviewing its funding strategy to ensure (a) a robust pool of R01s; (b) a continuing pipeline for new investigators; and, (c) a focus on innovation relevant to the NIMH Strategic Plan. To this end, we are initiating a plan of “select pay” for highly meritorious grants beyond our nominal payline, and we will continue to support a different payline for new investigators. In addition, we will continue to invest at least 15 percent of our funds in RFAs that target gap areas in which we are not receiving unsolicited grant proposals.
New Resource for Therapeutics Discovery Research
NIMH supports early-stage therapeutic discovery and development, through first-in-human and early efficacy trials for mental disorders, as well as large-scale trials. As plans for the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) continue to develop, we have created a web page that gathers together all manner of resources for supporting therapeutics discovery research, for easy access by the extramural community. The new NIH/NIMH Therapeutics Discovery Research: Plans, Reports, Programs, and Resources web page details the range of NIMH programs and resources related to drug discovery and development, as well as complementary programs available through broader NIH efforts.
Public Participants in NIMH Grant Review
In an effort to raise awareness of the role of public participants in the review of research grant applications, NIMH has launched a new series of web pages devoted to public participants in NIMH grant review. Public reviewers bring critical perspectives from clinicians, caregivers, policy makers, and individuals and family members who have been directly affected by mental disorders to the first level of review and enhance the capability of the review committee to evaluate the “real world” relevance and practicality of each research application. These pages include information about the roles of public reviewers and how to apply to become a public reviewer. NIMH staff conducts full-day trainings for public reviewers, who are selected based on mental health interests and experience while taking into consideration demographic and geographic factors. NIMH seeks a demographically and geographically diverse pool of public participant reviewers, and nominations of individuals from historically under-represented groups are welcome. After participating in training sessions, public reviewers may be selected to serve on scientific review groups (SRGs). In serving in this capacity, they are full-voting members of the SRGs, and they follow all the usual guidelines and rules of reviews that scientific reviewers follow.
New and Notable
A selection of Institute’s most recently funded projects that exemplify our efforts to accelerate mental health research and to advance the NIMH Strategic Plan:
For more information on these and the more than 450 new grants selected for funding this year, please visit the NIH RePORTER website.
II. New Announcements about Funding Opportunities
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 is a selection of recently issued FOAs in which NIMH participates. The Research Funding page on the NIMH website has links to listings of all NIMH FOAs and other resources.
Note: You can subscribe to the NIMH Funding Opportunities LISTSERV to receive the latest information about RFAs and other research funding opportunities from NIMH, as well as administrative updates and changes to grant policies and procedures. You can also subscribe to a separate LISTSERV to receive weekly e-mails of the NIH GUIDE.
NIMH-Administered Requests for Applications
Optimizing Fidelity of Empirically Supported Behavioral Treatments for Mental Disorders
This FOA seeks research applications designed to develop and test methods for improving the fidelity, and ultimately the effectiveness, of empirically supported behavioral treatments (ESBTs) implemented by front-line therapists in community practice settings.
Because achieving this aim presumes valid and reliable assessment of fidelity, the FOA uses the sequential R21/R33 funding mechanisms to encourage research designed to develop and test (a) methods for assessing theory-derived ESBT fidelity components (R21 phase), and (b) interventions that enhance and maintain the fidelity with which clinicians implement an ESBT in community practice settings (R33 phase).
Release Date: March 31, 2011; Expiration Date: June 21, 2011
Integrating Multi-Dimensional Data to Explore Mechanisms Underlying Mental Disorders
This FOA provides a mechanism to support the development of bioinformatics approaches focused on integrating multi-dimensional data sets. This may require the development of new methods for data reduction, the development of new statistical tools, and/or the development of new approaches to applying existing tools to the problems of integrating multi-dimensional data. Data sets of particular interest include genome-wide polymorphic assessment, epigenomic, neuroimaging, and physiological data with that of defined clinical phenotypes. These data sets should be derived from subjects of mental disorders, and although not all modalities of measure may be available for the same cohort, the application should propose using as many data sets as deemed necessary to provide meaningful biological results. The desired outcome of this FOA is to establish links between one or more of the underlying genomic factors, biological networks, and environmental factors influencing mental disorders.
Release Date: April 1, 2011; Expiration Date: July 21, 2011
Pathophysiology of HIV-Associated Neurodegeneration in Aging Populations on Long-Term Anti-Retroviral Therapy
This trans-NIH FOA invites research grant applications focused on elucidating the mechanisms of HIV-associated neuropathogenesis in the context of aging, chronic infection with HIV, and long term exposure to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART). The neuropathogenic mechanisms of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) may be distinct in the aging HIV-infected populations given the potential interactions between aging associated events, HIV-associated neurodegenerative processes, and exposure to HAART. Understanding the pathogenesis of HAND in HIV-infected individuals over 50 years of age, in light of potential interactions with HAART, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging-related co-morbid conditions are the focus of this announcement. Applications ranging from basic research to clinical diagnosis and treatment in domestic and international settings are of interest. Multidisciplinary research teams and collaborative alliances are encouraged, but not required.
Release Date: April 6, 2011; Expiration Date: September 10, 2011
Promoting Engagement in Care and Timely Antiretroviral Initiation Following HIV Diagnosis
This FOA seeks research to improve medical care engagement and treatment adherence among HIV infected individuals in the first twelve months following HIV diagnosis, enrollment in HIV primary care, or initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART). In targeting these periods, this FOA invites applications to address the need for efficacious interventions to promote rapid linkage to medical care following HIV diagnosis, enhance retention in early HIV primary care, and improve readiness to voluntarily initiate and adhere to antiretroviral medications. The overarching aims of this initiative are to develop and test interventions to reduce the time between HIV diagnosis and achievement of first undetectable viral load among patients for whom ART is indicated, as well as to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in HIV treatment outcomes.
Release Date: June 2, 2011; Expiration Date: September 10, 2011
NIMH-Collaborative Requests for Applications
NIH/PEPFAR Collaboration for Implementation Science and Impact Evaluation
This initiative is soliciting implementation science research relevant to programs supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Studies should address the challenges that PEPFAR encounters in the implementation of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care programs in resource-limited countries. Studies should reflect the needs and priorities of the countries or regions in which they are to be conducted, but also produce results that are quantifiable, relate to scaled-up service delivery, and can be generalized across PEPFAR programs. Studies that address program effectiveness and cost efficiency are particularly important to meeting PEPFAR program goals. Studies that are designed specifically to improve prevention, care and treatment outcomes in most-at-risk populations and those marginalized by gender inequities are high priorities for PEPFAR. Research applications must use data from PEPFAR implementation site(s) and investigators are expected to demonstrate the collaborations necessary to do the proposed study. In addition, to assist in the building of in country expertise, applicants are strongly encouraged to include host country investigators as integral parts of the study team.
Release Date: April 5, 2011; Expiration Date: July 8, 2011
Beyond HAART: Innovative Therapies to Control HIV-1
This initiative will support program project applications to develop therapeutic approaches that could allow HIV-1 infected persons to discontinue current HIV-1 treatments for a sustained period without viral rebound. Approaches of interest include therapeutic vaccines, gene therapies, cell therapies, antibodies, and other targeted interventions. Awardees will perform basic research on the chosen approach, as well as engage in translational activities such as test-of-concept studies in animal models or humans. Research program project applications must be designed as collaborative efforts between academia and the private sector.
Release Date: April 20, 2011; Expiration Date: July 20, 2011
Autism Centers of Excellence: Centers
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIMH, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) invite new (type 1) and competitive renewal (type 2) applications for the Autism Centers of Excellence: Centers Program. ACE Centers will focus on supporting the broad research goals of the 2011 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for ASD Research. The P50 mechanism allows for integrative, multi-disciplinary, coordinated programs of research that demonstrate cohesion and synergy across research subprojects and cores.
Release Date: June 3, 2011; Expiration Date: November 17, 2011
Autism Centers of Excellence: Networks
NICHD, NIDCD, NIEHS, NIMH, and NINDS invite new (type 1) and renewal (type 2) applications for the Autism Centers of Excellence: Networks Program. Each ACE Network will consist of a multi-site project focusing on a specific topic of research for R01 support through this FOA. The ACE Networks will focus on supporting the broad research goals of the 2011 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for ASD Research. Each ACE Network will submit one R01 application that includes sub-awards to the collaborating sites.
Release Date: June 3, 2011; Expiration Date: November 17, 2011
NIH Common Fund Initiatives
The NIH Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH Institutes or Centers or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. To date, the Common Fund has been used to support a series of short term, exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs known collectively as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. As the Common Fund grows, and research opportunities and needs emerge in the scientific community, the portfolio of programs supported by the Common Fund will likely evolve to encompass a diverse set of trans-NIH programs, although the NIH Roadmap is likely to remain a central component.
Two new projects are being co-led by NIMH. The HMO Research Collaboratory will be developing a research partnership with large practice organizations to support mega-epidemiology and practical trials research. The Health Economics project will be supporting several pathways of research to inform the implementation of health care reform.
The following projects currently have active funding opportunities and/or notices for NIMH applicants:
The six-year investment in the Molecular Libraries Program (MLP) by the NIH Common Fund has successfully contributed to NIH’s vision and strategy for advancing translational medicine and therapeutics development. In January 2011, a probe project executed by the Scripps Research Institute (SRI), a funded center of the MLP, has become the program’s first to yield a drug candidate tested in humans. The initial probe compound resulting from the MLP efforts, an agonist of the sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) and related molecules, were further developed outside of the MLP by SRI and Receptos, Inc. This collaboration has resulted in administration of the probe to the first human subject in a Federal Drug Administration-approved Phase 1 clinical safety study undertaken by Receptos, Inc. The clinical study has been initiated as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurodegenerative disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). MS is currently believed to be an immune-mediated disorder. Although many MLP probes have been tested in behaving animal models, this is the first example of an MLP probe to have been developed sufficiently to be tested in humans, a landmark achievement for the MLP program.
In the announcement noted below, the MLP continues to encourage high-throughput screening (HTS) assay applications from investigators who have the interest and capability to work with the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN) for chemical probe development.
Release Date: March 12, 2009; Expiration Date: January 5, 2012
Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA)
Launched in 2006, the purpose of the CTSA Program is to assist research institutions to forge a uniquely transformative, novel, and integrative academic home for clinical and translational science that has the consolidated resources to: 1)captivate, advance, and nurture a cadre of well-trained multi- and inter-disciplinary investigators and research teams; 2) create an incubator for innovative research tools and information technologies; and 3)synergize multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary clinical and translational research and researchers to catalyze the application of new knowledge and techniques to clinical practice at the front lines of patient care.
Release Date: November 16, 2010; Expiration Date: October 4, 2011 (new applications)
The following Common Fund projects have already yielded important scientific opportunities for NIMH:
Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx)
Through the GTEx program, correlations between genotype and tissue-specific gene expression levels will help identify regions of the genome that influence whether and how much a gene is expressed. GTEx will help researchers to understand how changes in DNA sequence that give rise to expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) affect gene expression in different normal human tissues. GTEx currently supports three biospecimens source sites, and a laboratory data analysis and coordinating center. Organized under the National Cancer Institute’s cancer Human Biobank (caHUB) initiative, the biospecimens source sites will recruit donors and collect the tissues. Tissues are now being acquired and moving through the laboratory phase and data are being generated at the central Laboratory, Data Analysis and Coordinating Center at the Broad Institute which is responsible for the overall coordination of GTEx activities and will serve as the molecular and statistical analysis laboratory.
Early Independence Awards
The NIH Common Fund is establishing the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award to provide a mechanism for exceptional, early career scientists to omit traditional post-doctoral training, and move into temporary, independent academic positions at U.S. institutions directly upon completion of their graduate degrees (Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent).
NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Initiatives
The Neuroscience Blueprint is a framework to enhance cooperative activities among 16 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices 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.
NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Grand Challenge: Developing Novel Drugs for Disorders of the Nervous System
NIH announces a unique opportunity for investigators working with small molecule compounds to gain access to a robust ‘virtual pharma’ drug development network to develop neurotherapeutic drugs. Successful applicants to this FOA will become collaborative participants in this network, receiving both funding and no-cost access to contracted drug development services that are not typically available to the academic research community. Funding will be provided through a U01 cooperative agreement mechanism to conduct biological testing of compound analogs in disease assays and models in the investigator’s laboratory. No-cost drug development services will also be provided, including medicinal chemistry optimization, Investigational New Drug (IND)-directed pharmacology and toxicology, and Phase I clinical testing. Researchers in possession of disease assays and small molecule compounds that show promise for treating nervous system and psychiatric disorders, but that are not yet suitable for clinical testing, are strongly encouraged to apply.
Release Date: March 16, 2011; Expiration Date: December 16, 2011
Innovative Neuroscience K-12 Education
This initiative encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications to develop innovative neuroscience educational tools to be used by or benefit children in kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12). Educational tools can be designed using any media (e.g., paper, electronic, etc.) or format (e.g., simulations, games, videos, notebooks, etc.) for use in or out of school settings, targeting children in groups or alone, with or without adult or teacher participation. Innovative neuroscience educational tools should promote neuroscience knowledge acquisition and application of that knowledge to one’s own life, promote an interest in neuroscience learning and careers, and present a positive and realistic representation of the diversity of people who engage in neuroscience-related research and occupations. Educational tools targeted to increase the diversity of students (i.e., Native American, Black, Hispanic, female, disabled, or otherwise underrepresented) pursuing neuroscience learning are especially encouraged.
Release Date: March 25, 2010; Expiration Date: April 5, 2012
III. Future Research Directions
National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) Concept Clearances for Potential New Research Initiatives
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.
Summaries of NIMH-Sponsored Scientific Meetings
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 is a brief description of meetings that NIMH sponsored recently. Questions about a specific meeting can be addressed by the program contact listed in the meeting description.
IV. Update on Electronic Submission of Grant Applications
Grants Policy Update
V. Recent NIMH Science News
The latest news and updates from NIMH-supported research:
Publicizing NIMH research is a communal responsibility—we need your help! 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: press releases and science updates. All releases and updates are posted to the Science News section of the NIMH website. 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.
VI. Stay Connected with NIMH
In pursuit of new ways to reach our stakeholders, NIMH has leapt into the world of social media. In addition to our email newsletters and RSS updates, NIMH now offers YouTube videos on mental health topics. We have also entered the world of Twitter, where we highlight Science Updates, Press Releases, and other timely matters. You can even find us on Facebook! Be sure to read our Director’s Blog for insights into the latest topics in mental health research.
Check us out!