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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Short Courses for Mental Health Research Education


James Churchill, Ph.D.
Mark Chavez, Ph.D.
NIMH Training Team Co-Leads


This is a re-issue of a long standing R25 program announcement that aims to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. To address this goal, this concept aims to support educational activities with a primary focus on courses for skills development. Courses would be expected to facilitate the development of a sophisticated cadre of investigators with the requisite scientific research skills to advance the mission of NIMH. Each short course would be expected to include both didactics and hands-on research experiences. Participants would be limited to graduate/medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral scholars, and/or early-career faculty. Proposed course content would be expected to enhance the participants' professional development and to foster their career trajectory towards independent mental health research. Proposed courses would thus be expected to contribute to the development of a skilled cadre of investigators in requisite scientific research areas to advance the objectives of the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH expects all programs to foster the participation of individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, individuals with disabilities, and women.


Mental health research has seen extraordinary changes over the past decade, with the rapid development of new and increasingly complex tools, techniques, and approaches. These developments are expected to continue or increase in pace over the coming years, as the next generation of tools and technologies are being developed via programs like the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative. There is thus a growing need for individuals to learn cutting-edge research methods and incorporate them in their research. Short courses provide a unique opportunity to enable the rapid and widespread dissemination of new methods and approaches. Applications would be accepted that propose to develop, implement and evaluate creative and innovative short courses that would provide education in state-of-the-art research skills (e.g., tools, techniques, approaches) important to fulfill the objectives of the current NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. Support for courses to enhance the acquisition of specific research skills during the formative stages of a research career would thus help ensure that a pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to advance the mission of NIMH. In support of the NIH policy on enhancing the rigor and reproducibility of NIH-supported research through robust study design and reporting (NIH Rigor and Reproducibility; see also NOT-MH-14-004), the principles underlying rigorous and reproducible research would be expected to be incorporated throughout a proposed short course. Participants would be expected to obtain a strong understanding of the requirements of experimental rigor and how to build such processes into their research projects. Courses would be expected to incorporate education in quantitative reasoning, experimental design, statistics, and analytic techniques appropriate to the content and duration of the proposed course.