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FY 2018 Interim 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).

NIH is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR), which continues government operations at the 2017 level. Until the FY 2018 appropriation is finalized, NIH will issue non-competing continuation research awards at a level below the amount indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). Final adjustments to awarded levels and out-year committed funding levels will be considered after FY 2018 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this CR period.

NIMH continues to apply NIH cost management guidelines when making competing research project grant awards. Although funding decisions are generally made in priority score or percentile order, final funding decisions are based on alignment with the NIMH Strategic Plan, considerations of program balance, concentration and availability of funds, and recommendations from the National Advisory Mental Health Council. NIMH also supports the Next Generation Research Initiative and will prioritize funding for early stage investigators (ESIs) and early established investigators (EEIs). NIMH still expects to be able to fund most of the competing research project grant applications that have an impact score up through the 10th percentile.

Pending a final budget, NIMH expects to fund about three-quarters of applications under the 20th percentile and many applications up to the 25th percentile for new and early stage investigators, although funding of such grants will likely be delayed.

This funding strategy will be updated when FY 2018 appropriations are enacted and final funding policies are determined.