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2014 Autumn Inside NIMH

Inside NIMH: Funding News for Current and Future Awardees

Welcome to the latest edition of Inside NIMH. We publish Inside NIMH in conjunction with each meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, which advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Director of NIMH on all policies and activities relating to the conduct and support of mental health research, research training, and other programs of the Institute. In addition, check out the NIMH Director’s Blog for regular updates on timely topics at NIMH. I hope you find this information interesting and helpful. Please let us know if you have questions or comments on this edition.


Tom Insel, MD
Director, National Institute of Mental Health

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Table of Contents

  1. Message from the NIMH Director
  2. Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
  3. New Announcements about Funding Opportunities
  4. Future Research Directions
  5. Update on Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
  6. Research Training and Career Development
  7. Director’s Blog
  8. NIMH Science Updates
  9. Connect with NIMH

I. Message from the NIMH Director

As we reconvene after an eventful summer, we have a lot of exciting items to discuss with you. We are updating the NIMH Strategic Plan, promoting data sharing through the development of new repositories, funding the first round of grants via the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative , and much, much more.

New Priorities

  • Updated NIMH Strategic Plan in Progress: NIMH has been working to update the NIMH Strategic Plan, released in 2008. While the major strategic objectives have not changed substantially, the scientific opportunities and the public health context are both quite different from 2008. This revised plan is currently under review by our National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), and will be available for public comment in the coming months.
  • NIMH Data Repositories: Efforts to expand the impact of data sharing are taking shape across the NIH. On the genomics front, the NIH recently released the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy (NOT-OD-14-124 ) which expands data-sharing expectations  to all large-scale human and non-human genomic data generated by NIH-supported research, while assuring the protection of human genomic data. In line with this renewed agency-wide effort to facilitate and promote data sharing, NIMH is developing federated data repositories—to be referred to in general as the NIMH Data Repositories—that will store data collected from participants in a variety of research studies. The NIMH Data Repositories will include: the National Database for Autism Research  (NDAR); the NIH Pediatric MRI Data Repository  (PedsMRI); the National Database for Clinical Trials Related to Mental Illness (NDCT); and the Research Domain Criteria Database (RDoCdb). NDAR and PedsMRI have been facilitating data sharing for several years now, whereas NDCT and RDoCdb are new initiatives. For NDCT, as noted in the recently released Guide Notice (NOT-MH-14-015 ), we currently expect individual-level data to be shared from trials funded through a series of NIMH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) while the trials are ongoing, but we anticipate expanding that expectation to other NIMH-funded clinical research in the future. Regarding RDoCdb, we will be releasing similar guidance regarding data from grants funded through RDoC-related FOAs.
  • BRAIN Initiative
    BRAIN Initiative: In June, the BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision  report was presented to and accepted by the Advisory Committee to the Director. As mentioned in previous editions of Inside NIMH, NIH released its first round of funding opportunities  in support of the President’s BRAIN Initiative  in December 2013. The awards will be made by September 2014. The process for making BRAIN awards has more steps than normal. In addition to first-level peer review and second-level advisory council review, both proposed BRAIN Initiative pay plans and potential program announcements are discussed with a special Multi-council Working Group (MCWG). Their scientific expertise is an important component in keeping BRAIN Initiative planning up to date. The pay plans have also been reviewed by the directors of the ten Institutes and Centers that are participating in the BRAIN Initiative.

    BRAIN preparation for fiscal year (FY) 2015 is well underway. The President’s budget called for an increase in funding for the BRAIN Initiative from $40M in FY 2014 to $100M in FY 2015. The additional $60M will likely be used to support new program announcements as well as reissues of some of the announcements released in FY 2014. We will not know how many new initiatives or new applications can be funded until the FY 2015 budget is finalized.

    Dr. Story Landis, the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, and my co-leader in the BRAIN Initiative, announced her plans to retire in early October. Her contributions to the program will be greatly missed, but her leadership in the early stages of the BRAIN Initiative has been vital to its success so far.
  • Follow that Cell Challenge
    Follow that Cell Challenge: The NIH Common Fund’s Single Cell Analysis Working Group, co-led by NIMH, announced the launch of the Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP) Challenge  on August 15, 2014. This challenge is a $500,000 prize competition to spur the development of innovative solutions in single cell analysis that will allow us to “Follow that Cell.” Specifically, NIH is seeking novel robust methods for analysis of individual cells that can detect and assess changes in cell behavior and function over time, either as a result of natural-state changes or exogenous perturbations.
  • NIMH Guidance on Coordinated Specialty Care for Mental Illness: The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant  (MHBG) 5% Set Aside is a partnership between the federal government and States to direct 5% of the state’s MHBG allocation administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to support “evidence-based programs that address the needs of individuals with early serious mental illness, including psychotic disorders.” To prepare states to implement the set-aside, NIMH worked collaboratively with SAMHSA to provide States with guidance, and along with NIMH has held national webinars to inform States of the evidence-based components of coordinated specialty care. Early intervention is critical to preventing negative outcomes.
  • The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2014: The Autism CARES Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-157), signed into law on August 8, 2014 by President Obama, reauthorizes and expands upon the provisions of the Combating Autism Act of 2006, including extension until 2019 of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The IACC is an advisory body charged with coordination of federal autism spectrum disorder (ASD) activities and with providing advice on ASD-related issues to the Secretary of HHS. Under the new law, the IACC will be required to increase its focus on service provision activities, in addition to its current focus on biomedical and services research activities. New provisions also include a requirement that the Secretary of HHS designate an official within HHS to oversee national ASD research, services, and support activities. The law also requires HHS to prepare and submit a new report to Congress on the transition for adolescents and young adults from school-based services to adult services.
  • Update from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force : NIMH staff in the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) contributed to a supplement  to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine entitled,“Expert Recommendations for U.S. Research Priorities in Suicide Prevention.” NIMH staff served as guest editors, authors, and co-authors of the supplement, which expanded on research which had contributed to the basis for the Prioritized Research Agenda , which was released in February of this year.

Budget Overview

  • FY 2014 Budget: We are currently on track to award approximately 542 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2014, a notable increase over the 517 we estimated earlier. The projected success rate for competing RPGs in FY 2014 is 19%, which is comparable to the FY 2013 success rate of 19%. The projected success rate for Early Stage Investigators  (ESIs) is 19%, compared to 22% in FY 2013. We anticipate funding a total of 77 new Principal Investigators (PIs) in FY 2014, compared to the 96 new PIs we funded in FY 2013.
  • Outlook for FY 2015: FY 2015 will almost certainly begin under a continuing resolution (CR). As in the past, while operating under a CR, non-competing grants will be awarded at levels below committed amounts, likely at 90%. As in previous years when operating under a CR, the commitment level for NIMH grants will be determined after we receive a full-year appropriation for FY 2015.

Program Updates

  • The NIMH Division of AIDS Research (DAR) Has Physically Moved: The NIMH DAR has moved their offices to a new location; DAR staff are now co-located with their colleagues in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This move will facilitate a more cohesive scientific agenda and more tightly integrated basic and behavioral science research programs, aligned with the highest priorities of current AIDS research, as defined by the Report of the HIV/AIDS Research Portfolio Review Working Group of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) to the NIH Director in May 2014. The NIMH DAR continues to fund innovative research in their priority areas.

NIMH Staff: In Memoriam: 2014

We are saddened to announce the passing of three of our NIMH colleagues:

  • Ellen Stover, PhD: Ellen joined NIMH in 1976 and rose through the ranks to lead our AIDS efforts. She became the Director of the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS at NIMH in 1988 and Division Director beginning in 1997, first of the Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS and most recently of the Division of AIDS Research. Her international leadership fighting for those at risk for, or already infected with, HIV led to many awards, including NIMH and NIH Director’s awards and the UCLA/Drew University Distinguished Achievement Award. In addition to her leadership in AIDS research, Ellen and her colleague Wayne Fenton, MD, led the NIMH effort to find new treatments for the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Ellen famously recruited some of the best and brightest to the NIMH extramural program, using her administrative and leadership skills to create outstanding program officer teams. Over the past three years, Ellen served in the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) where she was a special advisor to the Director.
  • Varda Shoham, PhD: Varda joined NIMH in 2010 after a long and distinguished career in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona. She was a national expert on psychosocial treatments and was one of the leaders in the controversial effort to require certification for behavior therapists. We were fortunate to have her spend the last phase of her career at NIMH, both for her commitment to ensure fidelity for psychosocial treatments and for the enthusiasm and positive energy she brought to so many projects at NIMH. Varda served as head of the Psychopathology, Behavioral Dysregulation, and Measurement Development Research Program in the Division of Adult Translational Research (DATR). She was one of the lead authors of the new NIMH clinical trials initiatives, which she believed would have a major positive impact on the field of psychosocial treatment development. The Association for Psychological Science has established the Varda Shoham Scholarship Fund  in her memory.
  • Robert ‘Bob’ Mays Jr., PhD: Bob joined NIMH in 2000 after a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, and after having served as the Department of Defense representative to the National Advisory Mental Health Council for four years. In his career at NIMH, Bob led our efforts to eliminate health disparities and improve scientific workforce diversity. He administered the Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program, the Undergraduate Career Opportunities in Research Program, and the High School Career Opportunities in Research Program. He also served as the Acting Director of the Office of Special Populations, the predecessor to the NIMH Office of Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH), for three years. Bob was an active participant in federal efforts to reduce health disparities. He was a member of the Federal Interagency Health Equity Team (FIHET), and served in a number of leadership positions with this group. He was Co-chair for the Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) member recruitment committee in 2011, Co-chair for the FIHET’s Awareness committee from 2011 through January 2013, and Co-chair for the youth National Partnership for Action work group through February 2013. Most recently, Bob served as the Chief of the Rural Mental Health Program in the Office for Rural Mental Health Research and as a member of the mental health disparities team in ORDGMH.

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II. Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science

Grantee Awards

NIMH is proud to recognize significant awards received by our current grantees:

  • American Psychiatric Foundation, Alexander Gralnick Award:
    • Philip D. Harvey, PhD, (University of Miami).
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation:
    • 2014 Klerman Prizewinner:
      • Theodore Satterthwaite, MD, MA, (University of Pennsylvania).
    • 2014 Klerman Prizewinner:
      • Theodore Satterthwaite, MD, MA, (University of Pennsylvania).
    • Honorable Mentions, 2014 Klerman Prize:
      • Elena Ivleva, MD, PhD, (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center).
      • Aristotle Voineskos, MD, PhD, (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
    • Honorable Mentions, 2014 Freedman Prize:
      • Bo Li, PhD, MSc, (University of British Columbia).
      • Mazen Kheirbek, PhD, (New York State Psychiatric Hospital).
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Barnwell Award:
    • Philip D. Harvey, PhD, (University of Miami) for outstanding scientific achievement in clinical science.
  • The Lasker Foundation, Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science:
    • Mary-Claire King, PhD, (University of Washington) for bold, imaginative, and diverse contributions to medical science and human rights.
  • Schizophrenia International Research Society:
    • Outstanding Clinical/Community Research:
      • Michael Foster Green, PhD, (UCLA).
    • Outstanding Basic Research:
      • Akira Sawa, PhD, (Johns Hopkins University).

Notable NIMH Grants

Here is a selection of the Institute’s most recently funded projects that exemplify our efforts to accelerate mental health research and to advance the NIMH Strategic Plan:

  • In 2009 there were ~9.8 million emergency room visits for youth ages 10-17; ~700,000 visits involved a psychiatric concern, and ~128,000 visits were for intentional self-harm (Nationwide Emergency Department Sample ), making the emergency department a prime setting for suicide prevention efforts. With the recently launched Emergency Department Screen for Teens at Risk for Suicide (ED-STARS) study, Cheryl King, PhD , (University of Michigan), and colleagues will develop and prospectively validate an instrument to screen for suicide risk as well as refine algorithms capable of predicting which youth are most likely at risk for attempting suicide in the future. The capacity to classify youth as high, moderate, or low risk would be of tremendous benefit to emergency department clinicians as it will enable efficient triaging of limited resources and identification of modifiable risk factors to target in treatment. The study will take place in 13 hospital emergency departments affiliated with the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) and the Whiteriver PHS Indian Hospital. These emergency departments serve geographically and socio-demographically diverse groups of youth, including American Indian youth. More than 8,000 youth will be enrolled over the three-year project period. This project aligns with research gaps in risk detection research identified in the Prioritized Agenda for Suicide Prevention .
  • Scientists are using technologies recently developed through the Human Connectome Project  to visualize how different brain regions connect to each other, providing unique insight into brain organization. Jed Elison, PhD,  (University of Minnesota) will use these cutting edge technologies to characterize the rapid and intensive brain development that occurs between 3 and 15 months of age. The project will advance our understanding of early brain development and behavioral associations in healthy infants, providing a foundation for understanding when and how brain development can go awry in neurodevelopmental disorders. This grant was funded under the Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists  (BRAINS) program, which supports outstanding scientists in the formative stages of their careers.
  • Rett syndrome (RTT) is one of the most common causes of intellectual disability in females and often includes features of autism. RTT is caused by mutation of the DNA binding protein MECP2, resulting in aberrant MECP2 levels. Rudolf Jaenisch, MD,  (Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research) is setting up an experimental paradigm to determine how MECP2 affects gene expression and the manifestation of the RTT phenotype, to test the possibility of pharmacologically reversing the RTT phenotype using cell-culture approaches in various types of stem cell lines and in mice transplanted with human RTT neurons. This highly innovative work could help validate compounds of potential therapeutic benefit to patients with RTT.

For more information on these and other grants selected for funding, please visit the NIH RePORTER website .

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III. New Announcements about Funding Opportunities

Each week, NIH electronically distributes the NIH GUIDE , a listing of all NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that include requests for applications (RFAs), program announcements (PAs), and important notices for the scientific community. Below is a selection of recently issued FOAs in which NIMH participates. The Funding page on the NIMH website has links to listings of all NIMH FOAs and other resources.

Note: You can subscribe to the NIMH Funding Opportunities ListServ to receive the latest information about RFAs and other research funding opportunities from NIMH, as well as administrative updates and changes to grant policies and procedures. You can also subscribe to a separate listserv to receive weekly emails of the NIH GUIDE .

NIMH-administered Requests for Applications

  • Dimensional Approaches to Research Classification in Psychiatric Disorders
    • Release date: April 9, 2014; Application due date: October 3, 2014
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-500 )
  • Exploratory Clinical Trials of Novel Interventions for Mental Disorders
    • Release date: February 24, 2014; Application due dates: October 17, 2014; February 17, 2015
    • R21/R33 announcement (RFA-MH-15-300 )
    • R33 announcement (RFA-MH-15-310 )
  • Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions
    • Release date: February 24, 2014; Application due dates: October 17, 2014; February 17, 2015
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-320 )
    • Collaborative R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-325 )
  • Pilot Effectiveness Studies and Services Research Grants
    • Release date: February 24, 2014; Application due dates: October 17, 2014; February 17, 2015
    • R34 announcement (RFA-MH-15-330 )
  • Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders
    • Release date: May 14, 2014; Application due dates: October 17, 2014; February 18, 2015
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-340 )
  • NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS)
    • Release date: June 11, 2014; Application due dates: October 23, 2014; October 23, 2015; October 24, 2016
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-600 )
  • Mentored Career Development Award to Build Research Capacity in Global Mental Health
    • Release date: June 11, 2014; Application due date: October 29, 2014
    • K01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-700 )
  • Longitudinal Assessment of Post-traumatic Syndromes
    • Release date: May 6, 2014; Application due date: November 6, 2014
    • U01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-110 )
  • Limited Competition for a Connectome Coordination Facility
    • Release date: August 12, 2014; Application due date: December 17, 2014
    • R24 announcement (RFA-MH-15-750 )
  • National Cooperative Reprogrammed Cell Research Groups (NCRCRG) to Study Mental Illness
  • Reducing the Duration of Untreated Psychosis in the United States
  • First in Human and Early Stage Clinical Trials of Novel Investigational Drugs or Devices for Psychiatric Disorders

NIMH-collaborative Requests for Applications

  • Neuroscience Information Framework
    • Release date: July 16, 2014; Application due date: September 26, 2014
    • U24 announcement (RFA-DA-15-009 )
  • Development of Sample Sparing Assays for Monitoring Immune Responses
    • Release date: June 2, 2014; Application due date: September 26, 2014
    • U24 announcement (RFA-AI-14-027 )
  • NIH Transformative Research Awards
    • Release date: July 24, 2014; Application due date: October 10, 2014
    • R01 announcement (RFA-RM-14-003 )
  • NIH Pioneer Award Program
    • Release date: August 8, 2013; Application due date: October 10, 2014; October 9, 2015
    • DP1 announcement (RFA-RM-13-006 )
  • NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program
    • Release date: August 8, 2013; Application due date: October 17, 2014; October 16, 2015
    • DP2 announcement (RFA-RM-13-007 )
  • Sustained Release for Antiretroviral Treatment or Prevention (SRATP) of HIV Infection
    • Release date: May 14, 2014; Application due date: November 18, 2014
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-14-008 )
  • Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program for HIV Topical Microbicides and Biomedical Prevention (IPCP-MBP)
    • Release date: June 4, 2014; Application due date: November 18, 2014
    • U19 announcement (RFA-AI-14-025 )
  • U.S.-China Program for Research Toward a Cure for HIV/AIDS
    • Release date: July 16, 2014; Application due date: November 21, 2014
    • R01 announcement (RFA-AI-14-057 )
  • Mentored Career Development Award in Biomedical Big Data Science for Clinicians and Doctorally Prepared Scientists
    • Release date: January 15, 2014; Application due date: April 1, 2015
    • K01 announcement (RFA-HG-14-007 )
  • Open Educational Resources for Biomedical Big Data
    • Release date: January 16, 2014; Application due date: April 1, 2015; April 1, 2016
    • R25 announcement (RFA-HG-14-009 )
  • Courses for Skills Development in Biomedical Big Data Science
    • Release date: January 16, 2014; Application due date: April 1, 2015; April 1, 2016
    • R25 announcement (RFA-HG-14-008 )
  • Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science
    • Release date: April 22, 2014; Application due date: July 27, 2015
    • T32 announcement (RFA-HG-14-004 )
  • Revisions to Add Biomedical Big Data Training to Active Institutional Training Grants
    • Release date: April 22, 2014; Application due date: July 27, 2015; July 28, 2016
    • T32 announcement (RFA-HG-14-005 )
  • Development of Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells (SBIR)

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IV. Future Research Directions

Concept Clearances for Potential New Research Initiatives

This listing of potential future initiatives is meant to provide the earliest possible alert to the field of our research interests and of potential upcoming announcements to solicit that research. While NIMH plans to proceed with these initiatives, their publication and timing are not certain and depend on sufficient funding. The titles and brief descriptions are consistent with the information available at the time of concept clearance. The resultant FOAs may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects. To send questions about a specific concept, follow the "Submit Comments" link at the bottom of the description.

For more information, please see recent NAMHC-approved concepts, recent public venue-approved concepts, and past NAMHC meetings, which also contains links to meeting agendas, minutes, and Inside NIMH (Director’s Reports).

NIMH-sponsored Meetings

  • Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health: On June 12-13, 2014, more than 200 individuals from 31 countries participated in NIMH’s fifth annual global mental health workshop, “Solving the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health: Partnerships for Research and Practice.” During the workshop, which NIMH co-sponsored with Grand Challenges Canada , grantees of both organizations, global mental health innovators, and other key stakeholders discussed research activities required to solve the six priority areas identified in the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health  study. Participants noted the tremendous growth over the past five years in the number of mental health research projects in low- and middle-income countries, due in large part to initiatives launched by NIMH and by Grand Challenges Canada.
  • 2014 Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) Investigator Meeting: The annual meeting of investigators from the ACE Program  took place on June 16-17, 2014 at the NIH Neuroscience Center. Principal investigators (PIs), project PIs, junior faculty, and trainees from all of the ACE centers and networks attended the meeting. The meeting opened with a webinar featuring presentations on the state of science in research on minimally verbal children with autism, and neuroimaging techniques in autism. The remainder of the meeting was punctuated with breakout sessions on high-priority topics such as: special and under-represented populations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); genetic and non-genetic factors of familial ASD risk; training programs and activities at the ACEs; opportunities for data sharing and research collaboration through National Database for Autism Research (NDAR); neuroimaging in ASD; and, minimally verbal children with ASD. The breakout sessions fostered discussions among the ACE investigators and strengthened research collaborations.

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V. Update on Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities

Electronic Grant Application Submission News

  • NIH Upgrades to Unicode Successfully Completed: The project to enable eRA systems to accept Greek characters has been completed successfully and ahead of schedule. Adopting a universal computing standard called Unicode completes a major effort to improve the quality of data in eRA systems.
  • Upgrades to the NIH Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST): The following features for multicomponent grant application activities submitted through ASSIST are now available:
    • Copy an application: This allows Signing Officials (SOs) and Administrative Officials (AOs) to duplicate an existing application or components of an application (minus attachments) for submission under another Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
    • Delete a component: From the Summary tab of a component, SOs, AOs, and Principal Investigators (PIs) can select the “Delete Component” button to permanently delete a specific component. This removes the component from the application and updates the Application Status History to reflect the deletion.
    • Extended access: Access to ASSIST is now extended to all those with an eRA Commons Role.
    • Enhanced PDF usability: The PDF version of multi-project applications has been enhanced for greater usability. The Table of Contents now indents the forms and attachments of each component of a particular component type.
    • New file name requirements: A new file name restriction has been implemented for form attachments, such that when multiple attachments are made on a single form, each file name must be unique.
  • New Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) Inclusion Forms: For RPPRs requiring inclusion enrollment reporting, users can attach inclusion enrollment forms. The enrollment forms can be downloaded from the RPPR, completed by the user, and then added as a PDF attachment within Section G Special Reporting Requirements (G.4.b specifically). This is a temporary process until the new Inclusion Management System is deployed in a future release.
  • Public Access Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) Updated: The PRAM feature has been modified to require the addition of the My NCBI PDF report as proof of compliance with NIH Public Access Policy. Users select the Add Attachment button on the PRAM screen to upload the PDF, and Attachments will be viewable within the PRAM PDF document.
  • Multi-year Funded Award (MYF) RPPRs and Multi-component Pre-population: Many of the common fields of the MYF RPPR and Multi-component will be pre-populated with data from the previously submitted report. This greatly reduces the burden on the grantee of completing the forms. See the eRA Commons Release Notes  for a complete list of which fields get pre-populated.
  • Personal Profile Form (PPF): When adding residency information to the Education component of your personal profile in the eRA Commons, you must also enter your degree information if it does not currently exist. Failure to do so will result in additional changes not being saved and an error message: “Please enter degree information before entering residency.”
  • New Institution Profile Form (IPF): The IPF form, with the same look, feel, and functionality of the Personal Profile Form, is the central repository of information for all eRA Commons registered applicant organizations. The re-designed module includes the following new features:
    • Basic information about the institution is grouped into components by type of data, making such data easier to find and maintain.
    • Warning icons and messages highlight fields that are missing information.
    • Two options, View and Edit, allow users to view a summary of information for each component of the profile, or, if you are an SO, allow you to access to perform edits.
    • Assurance and Certification fields are easily updated with clear checkboxes and explanation of text fields.
      Support is now provided for maintaining multiple DUNS Numbers in IPF. The About the Institution component of the profile includes two fields: the Primary and Secondary DUNS. The Primary DUNS is read-only, populated by the original institution registration and is not able to be edited. Please contact the eRA Commons Help Desk  if this number needs to be corrected.
  • ERA Videos Update: The tutorial For Reviewers: Navigating Internet Assisted Review  (IAR) walks reviewers through submitting critiques and preliminary scores in the IAR module.

For more information on all of these updates, please see the NIH eRA News and Events page .

Questions? Contact the eRA help desk . Note that contacting this help desk is the only way to document problems with an electronic grant application submission. Evidence of this contact is the only way to be eligible for any special consideration by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) Division of Receipt and Referral, should you run into a system problem with or with eRA that is beyond your control.

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VI. Research Training and Career Development

Here is the latest news about Research Training and Career Development at the NIMH and the NIH:

  • In 2013, the NIH encouraged institutions to develop and use Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to assist graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to achieve their career goals (NOT-OD-13-093 ). Beginning on October 1, 2014, NIH grant progress reports must describe whether and how IDPs are used to help manage the career development of students and postdoctoral researchers associated with their award (see NOT-OD-14-113 ). This requirement applies to: research project grants (e.g. R01); institutional training awards (e.g. T32); individual fellowship awards (e.g., F30, F31, F32); individual career development awards (K); and, research education grants (R25).
  • As part of our commitment to supporting the research training of physician-scientists, the NIMH recently issued the NIMH Administrative Supplement Program to Enable Continuity of Research Experiences of MD/PhDs during Clinical Training (PA-14-263 ). This program supports advanced research opportunities for individuals holding an MD/PhD degree who are early in their research careers, with the goal of helping these individuals transition efficiently and effectively from the period of clinical training to the next stage of their research careers. This supplemental award will provide focused, protected research time for eligible individuals during residency and/or clinical fellowship.
  • The Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) submitted the Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group Report  and recommendations to the NIH Director at the June 2014 ACD meeting. Interested individuals may submit feedback on these recommendations to by October 17, 2014.
  • The NIMH re-issued three Research Education FOAs effective for the September 25, 2014 due date:
    • NIMH Research Education Programs Supporting Psychiatry Residents (R25; PAR-14-306 );
    • NIMH Short Courses for Mental Health-Related Research Education (R25; PAR-14-305 ); and,
    • NIMH Mentoring Networks for Mental Health Research Education (R25; PAR-14-304 ).
    In 2015 and beyond, the application due date will be May 25. Please visit our website for information about currently supported research education awards.

Please contact NIMH Program Staff with questions or comments.

We are interested in feedback from the community; comments or suggestions related to NIMH’s support for research training and career development may be directed to

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VII. Director’s Blog

The following blogs by former NIMH Director Thomas Insel are no longer available.

  • Childhood and Beyond - Services Research for ASD (September 11, 2014): Dr. Insel talks about new NIMH grants that will support research on services for people of all ages with autism.
  • Manipulating Memory (August 28, 2014): Neurotechnologies are making it possible to finely tune brain circuitry to manipulate memory.
  • Robin Williams (August 13, 2014): In referring to the recent death of Robin Williams, Dr. Insel talks about the continuing need for research to develop better treatments for serious mental illness.
  • Funding Research – It Takes a Village (August 8, 2014): The importance of recent large philanthropic gifts to fund basic research on the brain.
  • Mapping the Risk Architecture of Mental Disorders (July 22, 2014): Dr. Insel describes the results of two new genetics studies and why they are milestones in our understanding of the genetics of autism and schizophrenia.
  • AIDS: A Cautionary Tale (June 20, 2014): There are many obstacles to controlling illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, even when effective treatment is available; Dr. Insel talks about what is needed to ensure that effective health care is delivered to those who need it.
  • SAMHSA and NIMH Partner to Support Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness (June 17, 2014): Dr. Insel and SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde provide an update on funding to support evidence-based programs that address the needs of individuals with early serious mental illness across the country.
  • BRAIN – Creating the Next Generation of Tools (June 11, 2014): The BRAIN Working Group unveiled an extraordinary report last week, providing a 12-year roadmap for the development of a new generation of neuroscience tools. Dr. Insel discusses how their vision provides hope for preventing and treating brain diseases and disorders.
  • Are Children Overmedicated? (June 6, 2014): Despite common assumptions about why more children are being treated with medications for mental disorders, the reasons remain unclear.
  • The Paradox of Parity (May 30, 2014): Recent changes in health care law are prompting consideration of how to ensure that treatments provided are evidence-based; Dr. Insel talks about the implications for mental health care.

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VIII. NIMH Science Updates

The latest news and updates from NIMH-supported research:

Publicizing NIMH research is a communal responsibility. Please help us spread the word about the results of NIMH funding by acknowledging our support of your research, for example, in journal articles (citing your NIMH award by number when possible) and other communications. NIMH has two primary methods of getting the word out: press releases and science updates. All releases and updates are posted to the Science News section of the NIMH Web site. These are also distributed to the public through a mailing list .

If you have a manuscript accepted for publication that describes an especially significant finding, please contact your NIMH Program Official to discuss the possibility of a news release or other forms of dissemination.

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IX. Connect with NIMH

Our newest effort to reach our stakeholders is a service that allows you to to subscribe for updates  sent directly to your email inbox on the NIMH topics of your choice. In addition to our email newsletters and RSS updates, NIMH offers a vodcast series entitled “Speaking of Science” and its own YouTube  videos on mental health topics. We have also entered the world of Twitter  and Facebook , where we highlight Science Updates, Press Releases, and other timely matters.

Inside NIMH is produced by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about the Institute, visit our Web site at For comments and suggestions about Inside NIMH, please contact the NIMH Webmaster. The material in this newsletter is not copyrighted, and we encourage its use or reprinting.

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