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FY 2017 Funding Strategy for Research Grants

The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. NIMH’s work toward this mission is guided by our Strategic Plan and by our Strategic Research Priorities based on that Plan. NIMH’s funding priorities are also highlighted in the President’s Budget Request each fiscal year (FY).


NIMH will continue to apply National Institutes of Health (NIH) cost management guidelines when making FY 2017 grant awards.

Non-Competing Continuation Grants:

Non-competing continuation awards that have already been made in FY 2017 were generally funded at levels below that indicated on the FY 2016 Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level) as described in NOT-OD-17-001 , and in NOT-OD-17-048 . Such reductions will be fully restored to previously committed levels. For non-competing continuation awards that remain to be issued in FY 2017, they will be made at the commitment level indicated on the FY 2016 Notice of Award. Out-year commitments for continuation awards in FY 2018 and beyond will remain unchanged.

Competing Research Applications (New, Renewals, and Revisions):

Although NIMH does not have a specific pay line, the Institute expects to support most of the applications that have an impact score up to the 10th percentile, many between the 10th and 20th percentiles, and some beyond the 20th percentile, based on factors such as the Institute’s Strategic Plan, programmatic portfolio consideration, and availability of funds. Overall, as in past years, we expect to support roughly three-fourths of the applications under the 20th percentile (or with comparable impact scores for non-percentiled applications). NIMH will support a sufficient number of applications from early stage investigators  (ESIs) to ensure that their success rate is comparable to established investigators.

For Research Project Grants (RPGs), Centers, and Other Research Mechanisms (excluding Research Career Development):

  • Modular Grants: With the exception of specific programmatic adjustments, modular grant awards will be fully funded in FY 2017, and future year commitments are expected to remain consistent with the FY 2017 awarded amount.
  • Non-Modular Grants: With the exception of specific programmatic adjustments, non-modular grant awards will be fully funded in FY 2017. Future year commitments for competing grant awards will be reduced, on average, 5% from recommended funding levels. The number of out-year commitments may also be adjusted.

For Small Business, Research Career Development, and Research Training Awards:

  • FY 2017 awards will be funded at recommended levels.

Early Stage Investigators (ESI):

NIMH is committed to supporting early stage investigators and facilitating their independence. When considering funding decisions, the Institute gives high priority to ESIs. This means that a research application from an ESI may be funded out of order and at a percentile that is the same as, or even higher than, applications from established investigators not selected for funding. Early Stage Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact a program officer in their area of research to receive technical assistance with the application prior to submission. The dates that start the period of classification as an ESI can be found in the investigators eRA Commons Profile . Under certain circumstances an extension to the ESI period may be granted.

Research Training and Career Development Awards:

NIMH is committed to research training that prepares junior and early-to-midcareer scientists for careers focused on innovative multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in areas of program relevance. NIMH has determined that it is important to strike a strategic balance between building the pipeline of potential new investigators and sufficient funds to support research projects. We will continue to invest significant funds to train investigators in areas highly relevant to the Institute’s mission.


The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral stipend levels and tuition/fees for FY 2017 are described in NOT-OD-17-003 . The undergraduate and predoctoral stipends and tuition/fees for FY 2017 are described in NOT-OD-17-084 .