2014 Spring Inside NIMH
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
Table of Contents
- Message from the NIMH Director
- Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
- New Announcements about Funding Opportunities
- Future Research Directions
- Update on Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
- Research Training and Career Development
- Director’s Blog
- NIMH Science Updates
- Connect with NIMH
I. Message from the NIMH Director
With spring finally arriving, we have a multitude of activities blooming at NIMH. We recently announced a new experimental therapeutics approach to clinical trials and the release of new clinical trials funding opportunities; we have some exciting program updates, including plans to form a Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) unit and plans to merge our developmental and adult translational research divisions into a unified Division of Translational Research. In addition, we have several important public mental health projects that are now moving forward, including a collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the development of coordinated specialty care for first episode psychosis based on the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) program; the release of the Nation’s first prioritized suicide research agenda which seeks to advance suicide prevention research more rapidly; and, the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) project researchers have published their first three primary data papers.
- New Clinical Trials Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs): NIMH recently released several FOAs addressing a new direction for the clinical trials research that we support. Collectively, these opportunities define NIMH’s focus on an experimental therapeutics approach when supporting clinical trials research. This shift in focus aims to accelerate treatment development and bring improved therapies to patients with mental disorders. These new opportunities include:
- Exploratory Clinical Trials of Novel Interventions for Mental Disorders (RFA-MH-15-300 ; RFA-MH-15-310 );
- First in Human and Early State Clinical Trials of Novel Investigational Drugs or Devices for Psychiatric Disorders (PAR-14-107 );
- Pilot Effectiveness Studies and Services Research Grants (RFA-MH-15-330 );
- Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions (RFA-MH-15-320 ; RFA-MH-15-325 ); and,
- Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders (RFA-MH-15-340 ).
- Change in NIH Resubmission Policy: NIH recently announced an updated policy for resubmission of grant applications (NOT-OD-14-074 ). Sally Rockey, PhD, NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research, recently described these changes in her Rock Talk blog . The new resubmission policy still allows a single resubmission per application; however, ideas that were unsuccessfully submitted as a resubmission (A1) may now be presented in a new grant application (A0) without having to substantially redesign the content and scope of the project. These changes take effect immediately for application due dates after April 16, 2014.
- New NIH Policies will Address Inclusion of Both Sexes in Preclinical Studies: NIH announced the development of new policies to ensure that NIH-funded preclinical research includes both females and males, as described in a recent comment in Nature (509: 282-283, 2014) by Janine A. Clayton, MD, Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the NIH. These new policies will require applicants to report their plans for the balance of male and female cells and animals in all future applications (with certain exceptions). These policies will be rolled out in October 2014, and will be accompanied by parallel changes in review activities and requirements, monitoring of compliance, additional training efforts, and collaboration with stakeholders including publishers.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative: As mentioned in the last edition of Inside NIMH, NIH released its first round of funding opportunities in support of the President’s BRAIN Initiative in December 2013; NIH expects to review the first round of applications in June 2014. The BRAIN requests for applications (RFAs) were based on recommendations from a working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director, which NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins convened to guide NIH’s BRAIN Initiative efforts. The working group is now preparing a final report which it will present to the Advisory Committee to the Director at its meeting in June 2014. The final report will provide NIH with additional recommendations for research areas that could be supported with BRAIN Initiative funds, if they become available in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015; President Obama has called for doubling the federal investment in the BRAIN Initiative in FY 2015.
- FY 2014 Budget: NIMH anticipates awarding over 500 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2014, with an estimated success rate of 19% (see Figure 1). Overall, as in past years, NIMH expects to support at least 75% of applications up to the 20th percentile. Moreover, the Institute will give special consideration to applications from Early Stage Investigators . With the exception of specific programmatic adjustments, NIMH will fully fund modular and non-modular grant awards. Future year commitments for modular grant awards are expected to remain consistent with the FY 2014 awarded amount. Future year commitments for competing non-modular grant awards will be reduced, on average, 10% from recommended funding levels and will not include inflationary increases for future years. Non-competing continuation awards in FY 2014 will be made at the committed level.
- Outlook for FY 2015: In March 2014, the President submitted his FY 2015 budget request to Congress. The request for the NIH is $30.362 billion, an increase of 0.7% over the FY 2014 enacted level, and the request for NIMH is $1.440 billion, an increase of 1.6% over the FY 2014 enacted level. The President’s budget request also included a proposed “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative” with $56 billion, if funds are available, over the FY 2015 funding caps set in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. This initiative proposes an additional $970 million for NIH, which would support new grants, including increased funding for the BRAIN Initiative .
Both House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have held hearings with the Director of NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, as the principal witness. Questions from Members centered on many different areas: there was considerable interest in the situation regarding inclusion of both sexes in preclinical studies and clinical trials; the reproducibility of scientific studies; and in how NIH sets research funding priorities. At this time, it is unclear when the funding bill containing the NIH appropriation will be introduced in either the House or the Senate.
Also of note, Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Labor-DHHS Appropriations subcommittee, recently announced his retirement from the Senate after the current term. Senator Harkin has been a consistent supporter and champion of NIH and NIMH. We wish him well in his retirement.
NIMH Program Updates
- New Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit: As you are likely aware, the RDoC project has been a top priority for NIMH since 2009. The eventual goal of RDoC is to transform diagnosis by incorporating genetics, imaging, cognitive science, and other levels of information to lay the foundation for a new classification system. As this initiative continues to grow and gain traction, I am excited to announce that we are creating an RDoC unit within the NIMH Office of the Director (OD). This new home for further developing this initiative will be led by Bruce Cuthbert, PhD, currently the Director of the Division of Adult Translational Research (DATR).
- New Division of Translational Research: With the shift of the RDoC project to the NIMH OD, I am also excited to announce our plans to merge the Divisions of Developmental Translational Research (DDTR) and DATR into a unified Division of Translational Research. We aim to establish this new Division on October 1, 2014, with the start of the new fiscal year.
- Funding Basic/Basic Research: Story Landis, PhD, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), recently described the findings of an analysis of NINDS’s research portfolio in her blog, Back to Basics: A Call for Fundamental Neuroscience Research . For this analysis, the proportion of basic science declined from 87% to 71%. When broken down further, there was a significant decline in basic/basic research over this time period; from 52% to 27% of their competing budget. A similar analysis of the NIMH research portfolio revealed that our funding of basic/basic science has remained stable over a similar time period (2002-2013).
- Office of AIDS Research (OAR) Review: In November 2013, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins asked the OAR Advisory Council (OARAC) to initiate a priority-setting exercise to identify key areas of HIV/AIDS research that the NIH should focus on over the next 3-5 years. In response, OARAC formed a working group that is now identifying priorities in HIV prevention, treatment (including research toward a cure), and co-morbidities, as well as priorities in cross-cutting areas of basic science research, training, and information dissemination. These priorities will be presented to the Advisory Council of the NIH Director at its meeting in June 2014. In parallel, the OAR, in consultation with NIH Institutes and Centers (NIMH included), is reviewing the NIH AIDS research portfolio to optimize decisions about how limited AIDS research dollars will be allocated to projects across the agency moving forward.
From Science to Service
- Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for First Episode Psychosis: The NIMH RAISE project seeks to change fundamentally the trajectory and prognosis of schizophrenia through coordinated and aggressive treatment in the earliest stages of illness. Given the early success of RAISE, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547)—which President Barack Obama signed into law on January 17, 2014—provides funds to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the development of RAISE-style early psychosis treatment programs across the United States. To ensure that programs implemented are evidence-based, NIMH was directed to collaborate with SAMHSA in developing input for states regarding what are promising first episode psychosis treatment models. A variety of CSC program development resources—including treatment manuals, videos, educational handouts, and worksheets—are available to assist States’ efforts to initiate or expand CSC services for youth and young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
- Prioritized Suicide Prevention Agenda: As I noted on February 5, 2014, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force released the Nation’s first suicide research agenda: A Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives. The Research Agenda includes an overarching goal to advance suicide prevention research more rapidly, seeking ways to reduce suicide deaths and attempts by 20% in five years and by 40% or greater in 10 years, if multiple actions, informed by research, were fully implemented.
- Army STARRS Project: The goal of Army STARRS is to provide the Army with actionable data to help them drive down the suicide rate. Recently, the Army STARRS team published three articles describing initial findings; the data for these papers were sourced from a historical database of over 1 billion anonymized records from 1.6 million Soldiers who served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 2004 to 2009, and surveys conducted on over 110,000 Soldiers from all parts of the Army, including during deployment, at over 75 Army installations around the world.
NIMH Staff Awards
- Special Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association:
- Robert K. Heinssen, PhD, ABPP, Director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research, for championing research on early psychosis and translating it into policy and programs for clinical implementation as a new standard of care.
II. Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
NIMH is proud to recognize significant awards received by our current grantees:
- Elected as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS):
- Nathan A. Fox, PhD, (University of Maryland, College Park).
- Larry J. Young, PhD, (Emory University).
- A. E. Bennett Research Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry:
- Eric Morrow, MD, PhD, (Brown University) is being recognized as a young investigator for his research in biological psychiatry.
- Best Published Research Paper of the Year from the Society of General Internal Medicine:
- Gail Daumit, MD, MHS, (The Johns Hopkins University) for her widely-read New England Journal of Medicine (368(17): 1594-1602, 2013) paper, “A Behavioral Weight-Loss Intervention in Persons with Serious Mental Illness. ”
- George N. Thompson Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry:
- Linda L. Carpenter, MD, (Butler Hospital) is being honored for her outstanding service promoting the welfare of the Society of Biological Psychiatry.
- Gold Medal Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry:
- Helen S. Mayberg, MD, (Emory University) is being honored for her pioneering contributions in the field of Biological Psychiatry.
- National Science Foundation Alan T. Waterman Award:
- Feng Zhang, PhD, (Broad and McGovern Institutes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is being recognized as an outstanding young research in science or engineering.
- Society for Clinical Trials Trial of the Year Award:
- Gail Daumit, MD, MHS, (The Johns Hopkins University) is being awarded for the Randomized Trial of Achieving Healthy Lifestyles in Psychiatric Rehabilitation (ACHIEVE) as the most noteworthy clinical trial published in 2013.
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:
- Evidence suggests that the structure and function of the hippocampus are altered in people with schizophrenia. However, it is unclear when these abnormalities arise in the disease process, and which regions of the hippocampus are affected. Using high-field brain imaging technology (7T), Stephan Heckers, MD , (Vanderbilt University) is studying individuals with schizophrenia both at an early stage of psychosis and longitudinally, to track the timing and evolution of hippocampal abnormalities and their impact on cognition over the first two years of illness. Dr. Heckers predicts that increased hippocampal activity will be associated with moderate memory impairments at illness onset, and that over time this increased activity will lead to reductions in hippocampal volume and a worsening of memory deficits. If successful, this work may identify hippocampal biomarkers for the early diagnosis of psychotic disorders.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents, and there are currently no established interventions for teens at risk for suicide. David Brent, MD , (University of Pittsburgh) and Beth Kennard, PsyD , (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) are developing an intervention to reduce the risk of suicidal behavior in high-risk adolescents aged 12-17 years who are currently hospitalized. The intervention will take place during the transition from inpatient to outpatient care, and will focus on improving motivational factors and positive mood, as well as augmenting protective factors such as family support, treatment adherence, and improved sleep. Safety plans and mobile crisis teams will be available to address suicidal risk after discharge, ensuring continuity of care. This intervention addresses an important public health need by focusing on high-risk youth going through a high-risk period when transitioning from hospital to community care.
- Guido Frank, MD , (University of Colorado, Denver) is studying how reward circuitry in the brain contributes to eating disorders in adolescents and adults. While in an MRI scanner, girls and women with anorexia or bulimia will learn to associate certain patterns with a sweet—that is, rewarding—taste, and other patterns with no taste. Dr. Frank will compare the brain activity patterns of individuals with and without an eating disorder during conditions in which the taste (reward) does or does not match the learned expectation, and also when the individuals are at rest. Individual differences in reward circuitry activity in response to anticipated vs. received reward, and in prediction errors during the matching task, may help uncover biological mechanisms that contribute to disordered eating. This grant was one of several grants funded under our recent funding announcement, Advancing Eating Disorders Research through Dimensional Studies of Biology and Behavior (RFA-MH-14-030 ).
- There are numerous dynamic principles and mechanisms at play during real-time social interaction. In an effort to characterize fine-grained spatio-temporal “choreography” of specific EEG patterns related to social coordination, J.A. Scott Kelso, PhD , (Florida Atlantic University) and Emmanuelle Tognoli, PhD , (Florida Atlantic University) are measuring behavioral and neural activity simultaneously from two individuals interacting in real time. Drs. Kelso and Tognoli have developed a “Virtual Partner Interaction” paradigm which allows researchers to manipulate particular parameters of social coordination, and to explore how specific types of interaction lead to particular patterns of EEG activity. Based on these analyses in healthy individuals, this unique project has long-term potential for the detection of subtle EEG differences in patients with psychiatric disorders, and for the development of precise interventions.
For more information on these and other grants selected for funding, please visit the NIH RePORTER website .
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 e-mails of the NIH GUIDE .
NIMH-administered Requests for Applications
- Exploratory Clinical Trials of Novel Interventions for Mental Disorders
- Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions
- Pilot Effectiveness Studies and Services Research Grants
- Release date: February 24, 2014; Application due date: June 17, 2014
- R34 announcement (RFA-MH-15-330 )
- Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders
- Release date: May 14, 2014; Application due date: July 30, 2014
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-340 )
- Leveraging a Recovery Act Resource to Accelerate Research on Neurodevelopment
- Release date: March 24, 2014; Application due date: September 3, 2014
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-400 )
- 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 )
- Longitudinal Assessment of Post-traumatic Syndromes
- Release date: May 6, 2014; Application due date: November 6, 2014
- U01 announcement (RFA-MH-15-110 )
- National Cooperative Reprogrammed Cell Research Groups (NCRCRG) to Study Mental Illness
- Reducing the Duration of Untreated Psychosis in the United States
NIMH-collaborative Requests for Applications
- NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) Awards
- Release date: April 25, 2014; Application due date: June 26, 2014
- U01 announcement (RFA-OD-14-005 )
- Beyond HAART: Innovative Approaches to Cure HIV-1
- Release date: January 24, 2014; Application due date: June 28, 2014
- U19 announcement (RFA-AI-14-004 )
- Undiagnosed Diseases Gene Function Research
- Release date: April 18, 2014; Application due date: June 23, 2014
- R21 announcement (RFA-RM-14-005 )
- Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science
- Release date: April 22, 2014; Application due date: July 28, 2014
- T32 announcement (RFA-HG-14-004 )
- Development of Software and Analysis Methods for Biomedical Big Data in Targeted Areas of High Need
- Release date: February 19, 2014; Application due date: July 19, 2014
- U01 announcement (RFA-HG-14-020 )
- Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program
- Release date: April 22, 2014; Application due date: July 29, 2014
- Si2 announcement (RFA-OD-14-004 )
- Revisions to Add Biomedical Big Data Training to Active Institutional Training Grants
- Release date: April 22, 2014; Application due date: July 28, 2014
- T32 announcement (RFA-HG-14-005 )
- NIH Pioneer Award Program
- Release date: August 8, 2013; Application due date: October 10, 2014
- DP1 announcement (RFA-RM-13-006 )
- NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program
- Release date: August 8, 2013; Application due date: October 17, 2014
- DP2 announcement (RFA-RM-13-007 )
- Sustained Release for Antiretroviral Treatment or Prevention (SRATP) of HIV Infection
- Release date: May 14, 2013; Application due date: November 18, 2014
- UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-14-008 )
- 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
- 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
- R25 announcement (RFA-HG-14-008 )
- Development of Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells (SBIR)
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.
- Phenotypic Manifestations of Rare Variations Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: The goal of this initiative is to estimate population prevalence of rare variants associated with neurodevelopmental disorders using very large, unselected populations (epidemiologic cohorts), and conduct in-depth clinical assessments of variant carriers to determine penetrance, range of associated phenotypes, and genotype-by-environment interactions.
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 Alliance for Research Progress: The NIMH Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison (OCRPL) convened the twentieth meeting of the Alliance for Research Progress on February 7, 2014, in Rockville, MD. Alliance meetings provide an opportunity for Alliance members—including leaders from national mental health-related organizations representing individuals with mental illness and their families—to network with colleagues and to interact directly with Dr. Insel and senior NIMH staff. Presentation topics included updates on psychotherapeutic standards; the new Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention ; psychiatric genetics; advances in eating disorders research; and, updates on implementing community-based initiatives for early treatment of psychosis based on the NIMH RAISE program.
- Future Directions in Research Diagnostic Criteria for Mental Disorders: In collaboration with scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO), on February 17-19, 2014, NIMH co-sponsored a meeting in Madrid, Spain, to discuss future directions for research diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. The meeting addressed the relationships among the NIMH RDoC project, the European Road Map for Mental Health-Europe (ROAMER) research planning initiative, and the WHO’s Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) plans. Presentations and discussions covered an overview of the RDoC project; how RDoC could relate to the various basic, clinical, and public health goals of ROAMER; and, how RDoC and ROAMER could interface with the development of RDC for the pending ICD-11 revisions for mental and behavioral disorders.
- Childhood Irritability and the Pathophysiology of Mental Illness Workshop: On February 27-28, 2014, NIMH assembled a multidisciplinary group of researchers—representing expertise in development, genomics, neural circuits, physiology, behavior, risk, and intervention—to evaluate progress and evidence, identify gaps, and articulate future directions for studying the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of irritability in youth. Specific areas of discussion included the definition and measurement of irritability; the heritability of irritability; the neurobiology of irritability; and, the interface between the developmental trajectories of irritability and psychiatric illness.
- NIMH Outreach Partnership Program (OPP) Annual Meeting: The NIMH OCRPL convened the NIMH OPP Annual Meeting on April 1-3, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. Sherry Glied, PhD, Dean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, delivered the keynote address Improving Behavioral Health in the Era of Healthcare Reform. In addition to updates from Dr. Insel on the state of mental health research, presentations covered the use of technology in mental health interventions; updates on the NIMH RAISE and Early Prediction and Prevention of Psychosis (EP3) research initiatives; and, the new Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention . In addition, Partners viewed the premiere of a new NIMH video highlighting the activities of the OPP and its Outreach Partners.
- NIMH Conference on Mental Health Services Research (MHSR): On April 23-25, 2014, NIMH’s Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch hosted the 22nd MHSR conference Research in Pursuit of a Learning Mental Health Care System. Building from the 2012 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America, the MHSR 2014 conference highlighted and fostered innovative research on the construction of a learning mental health system to improve access to, and the efficiency and quality of, mental health services for all populations.
- Pushing Translational Boundaries: On May 12-13, 2014, NIMH hosted a workshop Pushing Translational Boundaries: Advances in Developmental Neuroimmunology and Mental Health. The goal of this workshop was to bridge basic and translational research and to define gaps and opportunities in developmental neuroimmunology, with a focus on prenatal and early postnatal development as potential sensitive periods for neuroimmune interactions in the development of psychopathology. Discussion topics included the role of the blood brain barrier during fetal development; mechanisms and sex differences underlying risk and resilience; the role of immune cells and signaling molecules in shaping neural architecture; and, areas of traction for translational research in humans.
V. Update on Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- Improved Continuous Submission Eligibility Information: Principal Investigators (PIs) and Signing Officials (SOs) will be able to view real-time eligibility for continuous submission within eRA Commons. PIs should go to the Personal Profile tab of eRA Commons; the Reviewer section of the Personal Profile displays the Continuous Submission Eligibility information. PIs can check their eligibility based on the current appointed membership and/or based on recent substantial review committee service. SOs should go the Admin>Accounts>Advanced Search within eRA Commons. On the Account List form, they can search for a PI by Commons ID and/or by name. The Account Search Results includes a column for CS Eligibility Details. The column will display Yes or No. These will be hyperlinked to a summary of the PI’s Continuous Submission Eligibility status.
- Administrative Supplements Online Help Now Available from within eRA Commons: Online Help for Administrative Supplements can now be accessed from specific Administrative Supplement screens within eRA Commons. The question marks for help will take you to the specific information for that screen or topic.
- Changes to the Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Module: NIH is making several changes to the FCOI module to improve institutional reporting and promote compliance. For further details see the April 21 edition of eRA News , the Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-081 , the FCOI Online Help (accessed by clicking on the question marks on the screens of the FCOI module), and the FCOI User Guide .
- Funding Opportunity Searches: The NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts now allows users to save queries that they use regularly to search for FOAs. On the main NIH Grants and Funding page , the blue Funding box can be used to query the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. Using the Advanced Search feature, there is an option to save the search. Users can also select the frequency of notifications (daily, weekly, or monthly), and will be alerted when notices and/or FOAs are posted that meet the selected criteria. Users can have an unlimited number of saved searches.
- Project Title Field Expanded: eRA systems and databases are now able to accept grant application titles up to 200 characters. Note that not all eRA screens and reports will reflect the expanded project title with this initial implementation; these will be updated over time. Please note that when submitting a Revision (supplement) application, applicants must use the exact project title displayed in eRA Commons for the awarded application (i.e., if the project title of the awarded grant was previously truncated to 81 characters, then only those 81 characters can be used for the Revision application).
- NIH upgrades to Unicode: eRA is being updated to Unicode, which will allow the system to recognize Greek characters in the attachments to grant applications, progress reports, etc. (see Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-071 ).
- Order of Components in ASSIST: ASSIST, the electronic submission system for multi-component grant applications, now provides the option to set the order of different components within a component type; the order of the components (e.g., Project-001, Project-002, etc.) can be controlled and modified before final submission. Refer to the online help for ASSIST for more information regarding this and all ASSIST features.
- Changes in Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR): As of January 31, 2014, NIH multi-year funded awards must be submitted using the RPPR module in eRA Commons. Grantees are able to initiate multi-year funded award progress reports via the Status screen in eRA Commons. For more information, please see the Submit Progress Report page, the Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-026 , and the updated NIH RPPR Instruction Guide .
- eRA Commons Video Tutorials Page: Three new videos have been posted on the eRA Commons videos page. These videos include: how to access various features available to PD/PIs in the Status module of the eRA Commons; a description of the Detailed Status Information screen which gives latest information on your grant application such as scores, NIH contact information, and award information; and, access to your summary statement.
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 Grants.gov or with eRA that is beyond your control.
VI. Research Training and Career Development
Here is the latest news about Research Training and Career Development at the NIMH and the NIH:
- New Research Training and Career Development Website: NIMH has a new website for applicants interested in Research Training and Career Development Opportunities. The website is designed to help potential applicants easily find an appropriate funding opportunity for their career stage and locate information about NIMH-specific practices. The new website also provides links to NIMH-funded T, K, and F awards in NIH RePORTER.
- New Approach to Clinical Trials: NIMH recently announced a new approach to clinical trials; future trials will follow an experimental medicine approach. Guidance based on this new approach is now posted for Mentored Career Development (K) applicants proposing a clinical trial. K applicants are encouraged to contact NIMH Program Staff well in advance of the application due date to discuss this guidance.
- NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00): Please remember that the postdoctoral eligibility window for the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) has changed. Effective for applications due February 12, 2014, and beyond, the eligibility window has been reduced from 5 to 4 years. That is, candidates must now have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral experience at the time of an initial application or a subsequent resubmission. Potential K99/R00 applicants and their mentors are encouraged to contact NIMH Program Staff with any questions about this change in eligibility or about application preparation.
- Re-issue of F and K Funding Announcements: The NIH re-issued all parent Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service (NRSA) Fellowship Awards (Fs) and all parent Career Development Award (K) funding opportunity announcements. The next receipt dates for applications are: F30 , F31 , and F32 , August 8, 2014; Diversity F31 , August 15, 2014; and, all Ks , June 12, 2014 (resubmission date, July 12, 2014).
- Change in F30 Eligibility: Applicant eligibility for the NRSA for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD or Other Dual-Doctoral Degree Fellowship (Parent F30) changed on March 7, 2014, with the issuance of PA-14-150 . All applicants other than DDS/PhD, DMD/PhD, and AuD/PhD degree candidates (e.g., MD/PhD candidates) must have matriculated into a dual-degree program no more than 48 months prior to the due date of the initial (-01) application. This eligibility limit applies only to an initial (-01) application, and not to a resubmission (-A1) application. As the timing of this eligibility change may be problematic for some applicants, NIH will accept F30 applications for the August 8, 2014 due date from applicants who would otherwise only be eligible to submit an initial (-01) application for the April 8, 2014, due date (see NOT-OD-14-072 for details). In addition, over the total duration of F30 support, at least 50% of the award period must be devoted to full-time graduate research training leading to the doctoral research degree.
- Publication Reporting in the RPPR: To fulfill the NIH Public Access Policy , grantees must report publications resulting from NIH funding in their RPPR . The NCBI My Bibliography reference tool allows users to see if their publications comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, to start the compliance process for journal articles, and to associate their publications with awards or grants. As the compliance process can take upwards of 3 months, grantees are encouraged to ensure that publications are compliant before submitting their RPPR.
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 NIMH_Training@mail.nih.gov.
VII. Director’s Blog
The following blogs by former NIMH Director Thomas Insel are no longer available.
- May is for Meetings and Mental Health (May 9, 2014): Dr. Insel talks about common themes at some major national meetings taking place during Mental Health Awareness Month in May: changes in the health insurance climate, technology in health care, and possibilities both create for “learning” health care systems.
- From Research to Practice (May 1, 2014): Dr. Insel and SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde detail how the two agencies are implementing evidence-based early psychosis treatment programs across the United States.
- National DNA Day (April 24, 2014): To celebrate National DNA Day, Dr. Insel shares new insights about DNA, and emphasizes that, for mental disorders, DNA is less about simple heritability and more about complex mechanisms of risk.
- A Misfortune Not a Crime (April 11, 2014): A new report compares the number of people with serious mental illness who are incarcerated vs. the number being treated in hospitals.
- BrainSpan – Mapping the Developing Brain (April 4, 2014): A new map of where and when genes are expressed in the developing human brain—the transcriptome—is already enabling scientists to gain insights into the role of risk genes in neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Autism Awareness: April 2014 (March 27, 2014): New scientific findings on autism, including new CDC prevalence data, being reported just as Autism Awareness Month begins.
- Celebrating Science (March 21, 2014): Recently, Research!America honored patients who worked with researchers to find cures for disease; what we can learn from these collaborations, and an example of how genetic research can lead to effective treatment.
- Brain Awareness (March 11, 2014): In a blog about Brain Awareness Month, Dr. Insel talks about the complexity of the brain and challenges ahead for research to understand it.
- Clues to Risk and Resilience: Army STARRS (March 4, 2014): Just published findings coming out of Army STARRS, a joint Army-NIMH effort to understand risk factors for suicide in the military.
- A New Approach to Clinical Trials (February 27, 2014): NIMH is changing how it will support clinical trials; these changes, and the reasons behind them, are discussed.
- BITs and BYTEs (February 19, 2014): The numerous ways in which devices like computers and smartphones could be used to diagnose and treat mental disorders are discussed.
- A Growth Chart for the Mind (February 12, 2014): A newly published paper offers the first picture of a growth chart for cognitive development. As long-term studies add information on different facets of cognitive function, such a map has the potential to be just as vital a tool for evaluating growing children as charts for height, weight, and head circumference.
- A New Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention (February 5, 2014): The impetus behind a newly released prioritized agenda for research on suicide prevention, and what the task force that developed the agenda hopes to achieve in terms of reducing suicide rates.
- Mental Health in Davos (January 27, 2014): From the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Dr. Insel reports that there was notable attention paid to mental health at this year’s meeting. He explains the interest of both developing and developed countries in preventing and treating mental illness.
- BRAINS—A New Research Generation (January 23, 2014): The latest group of young investigators to receive funding through NIMH’s BRAINS program, an effort to support young scientists undertaking innovative, exploratory research.
VIII. NIMH Science Updates
The latest news and updates from NIMH-supported research:
- NIMH Twitter Chat on Postpartum Depression (May 5, 2014)
- NIMH Director Honored by BBRF (April 28, 2014)
- Channel Makeover Bioengineered to Switch Off Neurons (April 24, 2014)
- NIMH’s Dr. Robert Heinssen Receives Special Presidential Commendation from APA (April 23, 3014)
- NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis (April 21, 2014)
- Jump-starting Natural Resilience Reverses Stress Susceptibility (April 17, 2014)
- Learn About the Adolescent Brain with Expert Dr. Jay Giedd on May 8! (April 14, 2014)
- The 22nd NIMH Conference on Mental Health Services Research (April 2, 2014)
- NIH-funded Brain Atlas Offers Clues to Psychiatric Disorders (April 2, 2014)
- Most Individuals Receive Health Services a Year Before Suicide Death (March 27, 2014)
- Disorganized Cortical Patches Suggest Prenatal Origin of Autism (March 26, 2014)
- NIMH Scientists Help Students Learn About the Brain at NMHM (March 18, 2014)
- Brain Region Singled Out for Social Memory, Possible Therapeutic Target for Select Brain Disorders (March 13, 2014)
- Girls Thrive Emotionally, Boys Falter After Move to Better Neighborhood (March 11, 2014)
- Announcing New U.S. Disability Statistics on the NIMH Website (March 7, 2014)
- Students Unlock the Mysteries of the Brain with NIH Scientists (March 7, 2014)
- Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors (March 3, 2014)
- 9 Eating Disorders Myths Busted (February 27, 2017)
- NIMH Twitter Chat on Eating Disorders (February 21, 2014)
- Healthy People 2020 Webinar (February 21, 2014)
- NICHD/NIMH Podcast on Youth Violence (January 31, 2014)
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.
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 http://www.nimh.nih.gov. 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.