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Job Vacancy Announcement - Deputy Director, Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative

Deputy Director
Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Position Overview 

The NIMH is seeking superior candidates for Deputy Director of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative within the Office of the Director (OD). The NIH BRAIN Initiative aims to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain by accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, where researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new, dynamic picture of the brain that shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. This initiative will develop technologies from two general directions: 1) neurotechnologies that provide new capabilities to define the neural circuit activity underlying animal behavior, and 2) technologies that advance our ability to record and modulate human neural activity. Neuro/Mental/Substance Abuse disorders are responsible for the greatest degree of disability in the U.S., and the latter is due to dysfunction in neural circuits. Our current inability to understand, measure and correct the neural circuit dysfunction that underlies these disorders is considered a primary barrier to more effective treatments. By providing new tools to interrogate and modulate neural circuit activity, and a new ability to decipher this language of the brain, the NIH BRAIN Initiative aims to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain and spinal cord.

The incumbent will serve as a senior-level leader on behalf of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) BRAIN Director, NIMH Director, NIH Director, and the HHS Secretary and in trans-NIH, HHS, and other Federal governmental scientific task forces, meetings, and working groups. He/She will serve the alter-ego to the NIH BRAIN Director and will serve as the NIH point of coordination and contact across all these entities as well as the international partners in the NIH BRAIN Initiative (e.g., BRAIN Canada Foundation, Lundbeck Foundation, and Australian Medical Research Council) and the BRAIN Initiative programs funded by the European Union, Japan, and China.  

He/She will be responsible for co-directing NIH staff who are developing funding announcements, coordinating peer review, developing funding plans, analyzing ongoing work, organizing scientific meetings and workshops, coordinating activities, and managing data sharing of the NIH BRAIN Initiative scientists. The Deputy Director bears the responsibility to co-lead the NIH BRAIN Initiative and to work with the communication teams of the NIH BRAIN Initiative Institutes and Centers (ICs) and the NINDS Office of Scientific Liaison to communicate with the various stakeholders. The incumbent will represent the NIH at the BRAIN Initiative Alliance, the public and private funders of BRAIN Initiative research.

Applicants will be responsible for ensuring the NIH BRAIN Initiative research efforts harmonize with those of other Federal agencies with BRAIN Initiative programs (National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, Food, and Drug Administration, as well as with several private science foundations, industry partners and universities. The incumbent will also be responsible for providing scientific input and maintaining communications with international partners as they develop funding plans integrated with the NIH research.

Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to, exercising responsibility for working within and across NIH to assure optimal coordination, efficiency, and alignment of the BRAIN science and management infrastructure to enable its high-profile scientific objectives. To achieve these goals, the Deputy Director will coordinate a team of NIH staff that includes representatives from at least 10 ICs. This will include Program Officials, Program Analysts, Scientific Review Officers, Communications Officers, Budget Officers, and Policy Analysts. 

The position involves exceptional complexity, as the Deputy Director manages, directs, develops, implements, and evaluates all aspects of the planning and coordination of research efforts within and external to NIMH, NIH, and HHS regarding the activities of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.  

The position has high visibility within HHS and the Federal community on matters pertaining to the understanding of how brain circuit activity enables thought and behavior. The position requires superior executive leadership and communication skills to effectively brief NINDS, NIMH, NIH, HHS, and Congressional staff on senior-level research experience and knowledge of neuroscience research programs across the lifespan, including gaps in scientific knowledge and access to needed services. The incumbent must successfully manage these key roles while remaining sensitive to the special audiences they are addressing.


Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen with an M.D. or Ph.D. or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university in a mental health relevant discipline. Competitive candidates must also be able to provide a significant effect on the oversight and monitoring of major national scientific research programs. He/She will be required to have extensive experience in Federal research grants administration, budget administration and have a demonstrated experience with supervising a large staff or program. Applicants must also be able to manage interdisciplinary staff with a variety of backgrounds and interests to generate a work environment that is cooperative and productive. 

How to Apply 

Interested candidates should send a Letter of Interest and Curriculum Vitae to Please contact Melissa Kopyto at (301) 827-2862 if you have any questions regarding this process or the position. 

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