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Promoting Outstanding Mental Health Innovators in Scientific Excellence (PrOMISE) Awards

NAMHC Concept Clearance


David Armstrong, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities


The Promoting Outstanding Mental Health Innovators in Scientific Excellence (PrOMISE) Award is intended to identify outstanding scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in the mission areas of NIMH. This award would assist the investigators in launching an innovative research program that holds the potential to profoundly transform the understanding of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders, paving the way for a cure.


An essential element of the NIMH mission is to support and promote the careers of the future generation of talented and creative new scientists who will transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses and enable NIMH to fulfill its strategic vision of a world in which mental illnesses are prevented and cured. Currently, NIMH supports a number pre- and postdoctoral fellowship and training programs as well as mentored career development awards for faculty in the early stages of their career. However, even with these career development mechanisms in place, NIMH needs to initiate further imaginative programs to identify the best new mental health investigators and facilitate their establishing vibrant, independent research programs in areas relevant to the mission of the NIMH.

To address this need, NIMH is establishing a unique program of research grants intended for early career researchers who have not received their first independent research grant but hold tenure-track positions or equivalent. The grant is designed to be highly competitive, and only a limited number will be awarded per year. Research programs to be supported by this announcement would include basic, translational, clinical, and services research. Research programs must clearly be able to demonstrate how the work, if successful, will impact and potentially transform one or more of the Institute’s strategic objectives: (1) Promote discovery in the brain and behavioral sciences to fuel research on the causes of mental disorders; (2) Chart mental illness trajectories to determine when, where, and how to intervene; (3) Develop new and better interventions for mental disorders that incorporate the diverse needs and circumstances of people with mental illness; and (4) Strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research. In addition, this initiative would seek to promote career advancement of the most highly creative and promising new scientists who would bring innovative, ground-breaking, and potentially risky research studies to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.

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