RFA-MH-12-100 invites applications related to the new NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project. The objective of the RFA is to support “research grant applications designed to develop innovative ways of understanding mental disorders through classifying patients in clinical studies on the basis of experimental research criteria rather than traditional diagnostic categories.” Further, “Applications submitted in response to this FOA should be based upon RDoC criteria (see the main RDoC page for criteria developed to date).” The RDoC process involves a series of workshops designed to develop and articulate specified dimensional constructs within each of five domains, and applications submitted under this RFA must focus upon constructs that have been vetted through the workshop process.
To date, several questions have been submitted from various investigators about permissible research plans under this RFA. This purpose of this FAQ list is to address these questions.
- Is it permissible to include studies with non-human animals as part of the research plan? Answer: Not in response to the RFA. The intent of this RFA is to stimulate human-only work that is appropriate to the RDoC domains and constructs that have been developed to date through the RDoC workshop process. Studies that include both animal and human studies relevant to RDoC dimensions may be submitted as standard investigator-initiated applications but not under the aegis of this RFA.
- Is it permissible to study a construct that has not yet been developed by the RDoC workshop process? Answer: Not in response to the RFA. An application concerning a dimensional construct for which a definition has not been articulated by the RDoC workshop process (whether or not listed in the sections of the draft RDoC matrix not yet addressed by a workshop) may be submitted as a standard investigator-initiated application but not under the aegis of this RFA.
- Is it permissible to include multiple RDoC constructs in one research plan? Answer: Yes, as long as all constructs that are included have been articulated by the RDoC workshops completed to date. Applicants wishing to include a mix of RDoC-vetted constructs and other dimensions not articulated by the workshop process (even if listed in the draft RDoC matrix not yet addressed by a workshop) may submit standard investigator-initiated applications but not under the aegis of this RFA.
For the investigator-initiated applications mentioned above that may be submitted outside the RFA, potential applicants may find it useful to consult a recent RDoC NIH Guide notice. This notice provides specific guidance for investigators wishing to submit applications related to the RDoC matrix that include both human and animal studies, and that investigate dimensions not currently articulated by the RDoC workshop proceedings.
Inquiries regarding RFA-MH-12-100 may be directed to:
Michael Kozak, Ph. D.
Division of Adult Translation Research and Treatment Development
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7127, MSC 9625
Bethesda, MD 20892-9625
Telephone: (301) 443-6471