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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

2019 Autumn Inside NIMH

Inside NIMH Autumn Edition

Welcome

Welcome to the latest edition of Inside NIMH! We publish Inside NIMH in conjunction with each meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), 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. I hope you find this edition interesting and helpful. I also invite you to check out the NIMH website for regular updates on timely topics, and to follow me on Twitter (@NIMH Director).

Sincerely,

Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health

Please let us know if you have questions or comments on this edition. If you wish to unsubscribe, subscribe, or change your e-mail address, please contact the NIMH Webmaster or visit the Inside NIMH subscription page.

NIMH Director’s Updates

September is #SuicidePreventionMonth. A top priority at @NIMHgov is to conduct research aimed at reversing the increasing national suicide rate. The goal of our efforts is not only to identify at-risk individuals, but to help them improve their quality of life and to prevent suicide attempts. To learn how NIMH-supported research is helping save lives and reduce the rising suicide rate, follow, share, and be a part of the conversation on Twitter Facebook YouTube and LinkedIn. To learn about behaviors that may be a sign that someone is thinking about suicide, visit the NIMH Suicide Prevention page. #SPM19 #BeThe1To

News to Know from NIMH

  • Director’s Statement on Diversity: Diversity is the key to excellent science, fostering innovation and increasing the likelihood that research outcomes will benefit all. When the Director of NIH, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced his commitment to change the culture and climate of biomedical research to create an inclusive and diverse workforce, I immediately stood by this pledge. I recently issued a statement describing how I expect and enforce an even playing field for scientists of diverse backgrounds when I evaluate invitations to attend and present at events. I encourage scientific leaders across the biomedical enterprise to support all of the talented minds engaged in research.
  • NIMH Strategic Planning Efforts: NIMH uses its Strategic Plan for Research to guide the Institute towards achieving its mission. To keep pace with scientific progress, the plan is updated every five years. NIMH leadership and staff drafted the 2020 NIMH Strategic Plan for Research and shared the draft Plan with members of the NAMHC. NAMHC members will provide feedback and have a discussion at the 2019 September Council meeting. NIMH plans to publish a Request for Information via the Federal Register to solicit public feedback. The Institute will publish the new NIMH Strategic Plan for Research in 2020.
  • Outreach Spotlight: NIMH is evolving its approach to outreach to focus on broader education, dissemination, and promotion of research-based mental health information. As a part of this effort, NIMH has developed a new Education and Awareness portal on the NIMH website with tools and resources designed for and dedicated to outreach. In addition, NIMH has launched an e-newsletter, Discover NIMH, which provides free education and outreach materials to help raise awareness about mental illnesses and the importance of mental health research (sign up here to receive Discover NIMH). NIMH will continue to provide stakeholders access to NIMH scientific information and patient education materials related to screening and diagnosis, treatment, and clinical trials. All of these new efforts will replace the Outreach Partnership Program (OPP), which will end in April 2020 when the OPP contracts conclude. Read the recent Institute Update, NIMH Deploys New Strategy for Outreach, to learn more about these exciting efforts.
  • NIMH Clinical Research Toolbox: NIMH recently developed the NIMH Clinical Research Toolbox to serve as an information repository for NIMH staff and the clinical research community, particularly those receiving NIMH funding. The Toolbox contains resources such as NIH and NIMH policy and guidance documents, templates, sample forms, links to additional resources, and other materials to assist clinical investigators in the development and conduct of high-quality clinical research studies.
  • Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Updates: On July 23, 2019, the IACC hosted a public workshop on the housing needs of people on the autism spectrum. Speakers provided unique perspectives on housing issues and presented a variety of housing models to help individuals with autism. On July 24, 2019, the IACC held a full committee meeting. Topics included a community continuum of care model for autism, as well as racial and ethnic disparities in services for those with autism. The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (Autism CARES Act of 2019), a bill to reauthorize the IACC to continue for another five years, passed in the House of Representatives and is under consideration by the Senate.

Updates and Announcements from NIH

  • NIH-wide Initiatives
    • All of Us Research Program
      • The All of Us Research Program awarded a combined $9.1 million in initial funding to two organizations to further the program’s extensive community engagement efforts. HCM Strategists, of Washington, D.C., and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, aim to develop innovative approaches to educate communities and support enduring relationships with program participants. They will work with communities to develop engagement experiences that are scalable, customizable, and available for use by the program’s national consortium.
      • The All of Us Research Program issued a Request for Information (RFI) to collect additional input from the consultation and engagement with Tribal Nations. The program recognizes the importance of collaborations with Tribal Nations to facilitate the inclusion of American Indian and Alaska Native communities, which have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Responses will be accepted through October 31, 2019 and must be submitted via email to AoUTribal@nih.gov.
      • Eric Dishman is transitioning from his role as Director of the NIH All of Us Research Program to become the programs’ Chief Innovation Officer. As NIH conducts a nationwide search for a new Director of the program, Mr. Dishman will continue to lead All of Us into its next phase.
    • BRAIN Initiative through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative
      • On August 19, 2019, the Neuroethics Working Group (NEWG) of the NIH BRAIN Initiative held its eighth meeting. Topics included strategic science communication and engagement, and NIH BRAIN Initiative investigators presented research on the ethical implications of advancements in neurotechnology and neuroscience. A videocast of the NEWG meeting is available online.
      • On August 20, 2019, the NIH BRAIN Initiative Multi-Council Working Group (MCWG) convened to discuss the current state of the BRAIN Initiative and its future. The meeting featured updates on BRAIN Initiative programs from experts at other federal agencies, NIH, and the extramural community. NIH program staff presented a portfolio analysis on cell census and cell- and circuit-specific tools. A videocast of the MCWG meeting is available online.
    • HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-TermSM) Initiative: Through the NIH Heal Initiative, NIH is awarding 12 grants to the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) to support research on quality addiction treatment for opioid use disorder in criminal justice settings nationwide. The awards, totaling an estimated $155 million, will support a multi-year innovation network, including ten research institutions and two centers that will provide supportive infrastructure. JCOIN will establish a national network of investigators collaborating with justice and behavioral health stakeholders to investigate promising interventions and other approaches to improve the capacity of the justice system to respond to the opioid crisis.
  • NIH Leadership News
    • On September 3, 2019, Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., assumed the post of Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Dr. Tucci comes to NIH from Duke University where she was professor of surgery and Director of the cochlear implant program in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. NIMH welcomes Dr. Tucci to the NIH.
    • On July 29, 2019, Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., retired as Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI) after nearly 20 years of leadership. As NEI Director, Dr. Sieving promoted a new strategic focus for the agency that helped to elevate NEI to a world-class example of what publicly funded, cutting-edge scientific research can achieve. While NIH conducts a national search, NEI Deputy Director, Santa Tumminia, Ph.D., is serving as Acting Director.
    • On September 30, 2019, Ann K. Cashion, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., will retire as Acting Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), a position she held for the past year. Since 2013, Dr. Cashion also served as NINR Scientific Director, where she has established a thriving intramural research program focused on advancing symptom science. NIH will soon open a search for a new Director of NINR. With Dr. Cashion’s departure, NIH Principal Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., will serve as the NINR Acting Director. Jessica M. Gill, Ph.D., R.N., current NINR Deputy Scientific Director, will serve as NINR Acting Scientific Director.
    • On October 3, 2019, Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S., will retire as Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Dr. Birnbaum served as NIEHS Director for 10 years. Under her leadership, NIEHS became a world leader in toxicology and environmental health research, and NIEHS-supported science laid the foundation for health policy and safety standards. While NIH conducts a national search, NIEHS Deputy Director, Richard Woychik, Ph.D., will serve as NIEHS Acting Director.
    • We are sad to announce the passing of Donald Lindberg, M.D., on August 16, 2019. Dr. Lindberg served as the Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for more than 30 years. He was one of the longest-serving leaders at NIH and continued his service as Director Emeritus of NLM after his retirement in March 2015. Because of his pioneering work in applying computer technology to biomedical research and health information, he was a national leader for the intersection of computers and medicine. Dr. Lindberg will be remembered for his outstanding leadership, and his vision and passion for transforming access to medical information.

Budget Overview

  • Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget: The Appropriations Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 115-245) provides funds through September 30, 2019. The law provides $1.870 billion to NIMH (amount includes 21st Century Cures funding), representing a 6.6 percent increase over the FY 2018 appropriation. NIMH anticipates awarding approximately 700 competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2019, with an estimated success rate of 26 percent as shown in the figure below. In accordance with the NIH Next Generation Research Initiative (NGRI), NIMH estimates funding 86 early stage investigators (ESIs) and more than 331 at-risk investigators.
     
    NIMH Applications, Awards, and Success Rates for Research Project Grants
    Fiscal Year Applications Direct Awards Cures Awards Success Rate
    2014 2830 548 0 19
    2015 2480 507 0 20
    2016 2568 587 0 23
    2017 2735 571 0 21
    2018 2701 589 23 23
    2019 Est 2674 678 23 26
  • Outlook for FY 2020: FY 2020 will most likely begin under a continuing resolution (CR). As in the past, while operating under a CR, non-competing grants will be awarded at levels below the committed amounts, likely at 90 percent. Currently, the House passed HR2740; this bill provides a total of $41.1 billion for NIH, an increase of $2 billion above the FY 2019 enacted level and $6.9 billion above the President’s budget request.

NIMH Staff News

  • NIMH is pleased to announce that Andrea Beckel-Mitchener, Ph.D. was selected as the Director of the NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD), where she previously held the role of Acting Director. Dr. Beckel-Mitchener also serves as the Director of the Office of Rural Mental Health Research (ORMHR). In these roles, she will lead NIMH’s research activities related to mental health disparities, women’s mental health, sexual and gender minority mental health, and mental health in rural and other underserved communities. In addition, Dr. Beckel-Mitchener will lead the development and maintenance of a diverse, multidisciplinary mental health research workforce in the United States through mechanisms that meet the training needs of underrepresented groups.

Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science

Grantee Awards and Updates

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

  • George N. Thompson Award for Distinguished Service, Society of Biological Psychiatry
    • Cameron Carter, M.D. (University of California, Davis)
  • The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest honor bestowed by the government of the United States on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Several NIMH grantees are recipients of this prestigious award:
    • Kwanghun Chung, Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    • Adriana Galván, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles)
    • Ian Maze, Ph.D. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)
    • Priya Rajasethupathy, M.D., Ph.D. (Rockefeller University)
    • Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. (Stanford University)
    • Moriah Thomason, Ph.D. (New York University School of Medicine)
    • Joel Voss, Ph.D. (Northwestern University)

NIMH is sad to note the passing of a remarkable grantee and former Council Member, Carl Bell, M.D. Dr. Bell served on the NAMHC from 2008-2011, and was a professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Bell was a passionate advocate of mental health issues, and spoke out on topics such as HIV prevention, childhood trauma, and violence.

Notable NIMH Grants

Director’s Highlights image

The following is a selection of the Institute’s most recently funded projects that exemplify our efforts to accelerate research on mental illnesses, and to advance the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research.

  • The field of psychiatric genetics has made remarkable progress in the last decade in identifying common and rare genetic variation that increases risk for schizophrenia; however, much of this research has been conducted in populations of European ancestry. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, Karestan Koenen, Ph.D. (The Broad Institute), Dan Stein, Ph.D. (University of Cape Town), Dickens Akena, M.D., Ph.D. (Makerere University), and Solomon Teferra Abebe M.D., Ph.D. (Addis Ababa University) will conduct the largest gene discovery study of schizophrenia in Africa to date (~13,000 cases) while expanding the capacity of the three African universities to conduct cutting edge psychiatric genomics research. Examining African populations is important due to increased genetic diversity compared to other world populations. As such, Dr. Koenen and colleagues aim to map disease-causing alleles with increased accuracy for diverse populations. This research is intended to help reduce health disparities by improving the performance of genetic tools for mental health across people of diverse ancestries.
  • Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics, and 1 to 6 percent of all children meet criteria for this disorder. Motor and vocal tics typically reach peak severity in children ages 10 to 12. After this period, many children experience a significant reduction in tics. However, for 20 to 30 percent of children with tics, these tics persist past the peak period and into adulthood. The causes of this persistence are not well understood, and TS can be tremendously impairing. Understanding how and why some children improve while other do not is important for prognosis and intervention. With support from the NIMH Division of Translational Research, Deanna Greene, Ph.D. (Washington University) aims to identify early indicators that differentiate individuals with TS whose symptoms persist from individuals with TS who improve. Using a longitudinal design, Dr. Greene plans to examine mechanistic differences and developmental changes in specific functional brain networks, regional brain volumes, and cognitive functions in children with TS as a function of tic presentation over time. This research may help explain the variability in tic presentation and persistence, and help clinicians make predictions about clinical course in order to intervene early.
  • Eating disorders (EDs) are associated with substantial physical and psychiatric morbidity, and access to research-informed interventions is limited in many localities. The NIMH Division of Services and Interventions Research is supporting projects to pursue the use of digital technologies to reach teens and adults with ED. Early stage investigator Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, Ph.D. (Washington University) is developing and testing an optimized conversational agent, or “Chatbot,” to facilitate mental health service use for individuals with ED. This approach leverages a partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association which first offers an evidence-based ED screen, and then provides personalized recommendations for seeking intervention, motivational interviewing support to overcome specific barriers to care, and check-ins to encourage follow-up with care. In another project, Patricia Cavozos-Rehg, Ph.D. (Washington University) and Denise Wilfley, Ph.D. (Washington University) are leveraging social media to identify and connect teens who have ED into a low-cost mobile health intervention that will be adapted to their preferences to support and motivate recovery. The approach uses a developmentally adapted version of the investigators’ cognitive-behavioral therapy-based mobile app, Student Bodies-Eating Disorders, along with moderated, interactive, social media features to facilitate group exchanges to promote engagement and recovery.
  • NeuroHIV research is at an inflection point. Use of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has changed the clinical picture, and mild to moderate forms of disease are most prevalent; encephalitis and dementia that were once characteristic of HIV associated central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction no longer occur. The neuropathogenesis research to date primarily utilized in vitro and in vivo mouse models developed in the pre-ART era that express HIV components associated with changes in memory and learning. To better understand CNS disease associated with HIV in the current ART era, the NIMH Division of AIDS Research is supporting a novel research proposal led by Grigori Enikopolov, Ph.D. (Stony Brook University). Based on the hypothesis that ART in combination with HIV impacts adult neurogenesis and synaptic connections, Dr. Enikopolov and colleagues propose to examine the impact of HIV and ART individually, and in combination, using transgenic mouse models. They are employing a highly innovative dual reporter system (utilizing rabies glycoprotein and a retroviral vector encoding nuclear localized green fluorescent protein) that will enable the researchers to characterize the impact of HIV and ART on neurogenesis and the integrity of synaptic connections.

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

Current Funding Opportunities and Announcements

Current Funding Opportunities and Announcements image

NIH electronically posts the NIH Guide, a listing of all NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) that includes 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.

You can subscribe to the NIMH Funding Opportunities ListServ to receive the latest information about NIMH funding opportunities, 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 from the NIH Guide.

Please refer to a specific FOA for submission instructions including applications due dates, award and eligibility information, agency contacts, and additional information.

NIMH-Administered Requests for Applications

  • BRAIN Initiative: Development of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in Human and Non-Human Primate Brain
    • Release date: August 02, 2018; Application due date: September 26, 2019
    • UG3/UH3 announcement ( RFA-MH-19-135 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Tools to Facilitate High-Throughput Microconnectivity Analysis
    • Release date: April 09, 2019; Application due date: September 27, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-135)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Marmoset Colonies for Neuroscience Research
    • Release date: June 25, 2019; Application due date: October 03, 2019
    • U24 announcement (RFA-MH-20-145)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science
    • Release date: October 17, 2018; Application due date: October 09, 2019
    • R01 announcement ( RFA-MH-19-400)
  • Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: October 15, 2019
    • Collaborative R01 announcement (RFA-MH-18-700)
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-18-701)
  • Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: October 15, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-18-707)
  • Development of Psychosocial Therapeutic and Preventive Interventions for Mental Disorders
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: October 15, 2019
    • R33 announcement (RFA-MH-18-705)
    • R61/R33 announcement (RFA-MH-18-704)
  • Early Stage Testing of Pharmacologic or Device -based Interventions for the Treatment of Mental Health Disorders
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: October 15, 2019
    • R33 announcement (RFA-MH-18-703)
    • R61/R33 announcement (RFA-MH-18-702)
  • Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: October 15, 2019
    • R34 announcement (RFA-MH-18-706)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Marmoset Coordination Center
    • Release date: June 25, 2019; Application due date: October 18, 2019
    • U24 announcement (RFA-MH-20-150)
  • Brain Initiative: Research to Develop and Validate Advanced Human Cell-Based Assays to Model Brain Structure and Function
    • Release date: May 31, 2019; Application due date: November 01, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-140)
  • Refinement and Testing of Interventions to Sustain ADHD Treatment Effects Across Settings and Developmental Transitions
    • Release date: February 04, 2019; Application due date: November 15, 2019
    • R34 announcement (RFA-MH-20-100)
  • Computational Approaches for Validating Dimensional Constructs of Relevance to Psychopathology
    • Release date: September 26, 2018; Application due date: November 20, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-242)
  • Computationally-Defined Behaviors in Psychiatry
    • Release date: August 09, 2018; Application due date: November 20, 2019
    • R21 announcement (RFA-MH-19-240)
  • Secondary Data Analysis to Examine Long-Term and/or Potential Cross-Over Effects of Prevention Interventions: What are the Benefits for Preventing Mental Health Disorders?
    • Release date: February 06, 2019; Application due date: January 02, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-110)
  • BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) Scalable Technologies and Tools for Brain Cell Census
    • Release date: September 21, 2018; Application due date: January 24, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-148)
  • BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) Specialized Collaboratory on Human and Non-Human Primate Brain Cell Atlases
    • Release date: September 21, 2018; Application due date: January 24, 2020
    • U01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-149)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation - New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision
    • Release date: June 27, 2019; Application due date: February 14, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-310)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Integration and Analysis of BRAIN Initiative Data
    • Release date: July 17, 2018; Application due date: March 6, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-147)
  • BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
    • Release date: November 07, 2017; Application due date: April 07, 2020
    • F32 announcement (RFA-MH-18-510)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Secondary Analysis and Archiving of BRAIN Initiative Data
    • Release date: April 10, 2019; Application due date: June 11, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-120)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Development and Validation of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in the Brain
    • Release date: May 03, 2018; Application due date: September 09, 2020
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-136)

NIMH-Collaborative Requests for Applications

  • BRAIN Initiative: Biology and Biophysics of Neural Stimulation
    • Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due date: October 04, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-018)
  • Workshops on the Use of Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Data
    • Release date: May 22, 2019; Application due date: October 17, 2019
    • R25 announcement (RFA-DA-20-001)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Research Opportunities Using Invasive Neural Recording and Stimulating Technologies in the Human Brain
    • Release date: August 28, 2018; Application due date: October 18, 2019
    • U01 announcement (RFA-NS-19-001)
  • HEAL Initiative: Clinical Devices to Treat Pain
    • Release date: December 10, 2018; Application due date: October 21, 2019
    • UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-19-018)
  • HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain
    • Release date: December 10, 2018; Application due date: October 21, 2019
    • U44 announcement (RFA-NS-19-017)
    • UG3/UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-19-016)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Clinical Studies to Advance Next-Generation Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human Central Nervous System
    • Release date: December 21, 2017; Application due date: October 21, 2019
    • UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-18-023)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Next-Generation Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human Central Nervous System
    • Release date: December 21, 2017; Application due date: October 21, 2019
    • UG3/UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-18-021)
    • U44 announcement (RFA-NS-18-022)
  • BRAIN Initiative: New Technologies and Novel Approaches for Large-Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System
    • Release date: March 14, 2018; Application due date: October 29, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-020)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Optimization of Transformative Technologies for Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System
    • Release date: March 14, 2018; Application due date: October 29, 2019
    • U01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-019)
  • BRAIN Initiative: New Concepts and Early - Stage Research for Large - Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System
    • Release date: March 02, 2018; Application due date: October 29, 2019
    • R21 announcement (RFA-EY-18-001)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Team-Research BRAIN Circuit Programs - TeamBCP
    • Release date: August 29, 2018; Application due date: October 30, 2019
    • U19 announcement (RFA-NS-19-003)
    • U19 announcement (RFA-NS-19-002)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Projects - TargetedBCP
    • Release date: April 19, 2018, 2019; Application due date: November 06, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-030)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Planning Projects TargetedBCPP
    • Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due date: November 06, 2019
    • R34 announcement (RFA-NS-18-014)
  • Advancing Sustained/Extended Release for HIV Prevention (A-SER)
    • Release date: September 11, 2019; Application due date: December 4, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-AI-19-063)
  • NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award
    • Release date: October 03, 2018; Application due date: December 13, 2019
    • F99/K00 announcement ( RFA-NS-19-011 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Research Resource Grants for Technology Integration and Dissemination
    • Release date: October 22, 2018; Application due date: February 27, 2020
    • U24 announcement (RFA-NS-19-006)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies
    • Release date: June 27, 2019; Application due date: September 3, 2021
    • U01 announcement (RFA-EB-19-002)

Future Research Directions

Concept Clearances for Potential New Research Initiatives

Future Research Directions image

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

  • Suicide Risk Algorithm Applications in Healthcare Settings: On June 5-6, 2019, the NIMH Office of the Director 2025 Suicide Prevention Group convened a meeting of suicide prevention researchers to identify and prioritize research needs in the application of predictive analytics using electronic health records in suicide prevention.
  • Approaches for Targeting CNS Disease by Gene and Drug Delivery through the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB): Focus on HIV: On June 25-28, 2019, the NIH Division of AIDS Research hosted a session in conjunction with the International Conference of Cerebral Vascular Biology. The session included experts who presented their work on viral vectors and nanotechnology platforms for delivery of therapeutic strategies to target HIV reservoirs in CNS. The audience included over 290 BBB investigators from 24 countries, and it is anticipated that research collaborations will emerge between CNS HIV researchers and those involved with cerebrovascular research.
  • Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness (ALACRITY) Center Director’s Meeting: On July 16-17, 2019, the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research convened the inaugural meeting of ALACRITY Center Directors. The meeting brought together Directors and collaborators from each of the eight currently funded centers, which span a variety of target populations and practice settings, cover a range of science, span intervention refinement and optimization through implementation and services research, and incorporate a variety of transdisciplinary collaborations. The meeting provided an opportunity to share strategies for: building stakeholder partnerships for deployment-focused, practice-based research; integrating new trans-disciplinary collaborations; incorporating technology and other innovations to transform research and the delivery of interventions and services; supporting new center-relevant research; and, training and supporting early career investigators. Attendees also discussed opportunities for sharing resources and identifying areas of shared interest for future collaborations.
  • Mood Disorders in People Living with HIV Workgroup Meeting: On July 17, 2019, the NIMH Division of AIDS Research hosted a workgroup meeting focused on mood disorders in people living with HIV. The purpose of this meeting was to synthesize recent findings on the underlying causes of mood disorders, discuss how those findings might apply to mood disorders in people living with HIV, and identify the key research gaps that need to be addressed to advance understanding of the etiologies, mechanisms, and interventions for mood disorders in people living with HIV.
  • Webinar - Let’s Play Ball: How Sex and Gender Effects Influence Sports Involvement, Hippocampal Volume, and Depressive Symptoms in Children: On July 31, 2019, The NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity hosted a webinar with NIMH grantee Deanna Barch, Ph.D., (Washington University). Dr. Barch described her research findings related to how sports involvement interacted with sex to predict depressive symptoms, and how sports involvement was positively correlated with hippocampal volume in both boys and girls. Dr. Barch’s findings may help illuminate a potential neural mechanism for the impact of exercise on the developing brain and the differential effects in girls versus boys.
  • NIMH Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with Dr. Jane Pearson – Suicide Prevention: In recognition National Suicide Prevention Month in September, NIMH participated in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" event on September 5, 2019. NIMH's suicide prevention expert, Jane Pearson, Ph.D., answered questions about NIMH-supported research aimed at reducing suicide rates and saving lives.
  • Webinar – Disseminating Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: On August 28, 2019, the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research hosted a webinar with Richard Bryant, MPsychol, Ph.D., Sc.D. (University of New South Wales), an international leader in the field of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and complicated grief. Dr. Bryant presented his research on the global burden of mental health disorders common in humanitarian settings, emphasizing the needs of the millions of displaced people who currently lack access to mental health providers. Dr. Bryant and colleagues have demonstrated the ability to scale-up transdiagnostic interventions delivered by lay workers in conflict-affected areas.

Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities

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NIH-Wide Grant News

  • Reminder of NIH Policies Related to Foreign Activities: NIH issued a reminder to the extramural community about reporting foreign activities through documentation of other support, foreign components, and financial conflict of interest to prevent scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap. (NOT-OD-19-114)
  • Linking Open Researcher and Contributor (ORCID) Identifiers to eRA Profiles: In FY 2020, NIH will begin requiring individuals supported by training, fellowship, career development, and other research education awards to have an ORCID identifier linked to their personal electronic Research Administration (eRA) account. The purpose of ORCID identifiers is to streamline the application process and to enhance tracking of career outcomes. (NOT-OD-19-109)
  • Extension of Certain Flexibilities for Prospective Basic Experimental Studies with Human (BESH) Participants: NIH is extending the period of delayed enforcement for registration and results reporting for BESH through September 24, 2021. During this extension, investigators are expected to register and report results, but with the additional flexibility to use alternative platforms instead of ClinicalTrials.gov. (NOT-OD-19-126)
  • Notice of System Change and Procedure for Requesting an Extension to Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Status: Effective August 22, 2019, ESIs will submit extension requests directly in eRA Commons via the ESI Status Extension Request. This new feature replaces the previous form, “Requesting an Extension in the Early Stage Investigator (ESI) and Early Established Investigator (EEI) Period.” NIH offers a video tutorial that explains the ESI Status Extension Request. (NOT-OD-19-125)
  • Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue (HFT) Research: Effective September 25, 2019, new requirements for applications and proposals involving HFT include: a specific justification for HFT use; details regarding HFT procurement and costs; and, information about how HFT will be used in the research. Applications and proposals involving HFT that fall within a fundable scoring range will be assessed by an ethics advisory board comprised of scientists and bioethicists. (NOT-OD-19-128)
  • All About Grants Podcast on NIH’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies for Awardees: Sexual harassment is a serious and long-standing issue within the biomedical research enterprise, and NIH is striving to be part of the solution. In an All About Grants podcast, Dr. Jodi Black, Deputy Director for the NIH’s Office of Extramural Research, discussed NIH’s policies and expectations for assuring a safe and harassment-free work environment. For more information about NIH’s anti-sexual harassment efforts, see the NIH Anti-Sexual Harassment webpage.

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

Research Training and Career Development

Here is the latest news about research training and career development at NIMH and NIH:

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  • NIMH is participating in three timely funding opportunities led by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research that advance NIMH efforts to support a dynamic pipeline of mental health researchers prepared to contribute to emerging research areas.
    • The R25 Research Education mechanism is supporting short courses on innovative methodologies and approaches in the behavioral and social sciences. (RFA-OD-19-012)
    • A funding opportunity for a T32 institutional training grant is designed to support predoctoral training in advanced data analytics for behavioral and social sciences research. (RFA-OD-19-011)
    • The K18 career enhancement award mechanism supports established investigators with records of independent, peer-reviewed research grant funding, to extend their expertise into mobile and wireless health technology and data analytics. (PAR-18-882)
  • In partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Pediatric Clinical and Developmental Pharmacology Training Network (PCDPTN), NIMH developed an ongoing pilot T32 supplement initiative in pediatric clinical pharmacology to train postdoctoral researchers on aspects of pharmacological research in child and adolescent populations. The goal is to help build the next generation of pediatric psychiatric drug developers and trialists.

Director’s Messages

NIMH’s Director’s Messages provide insights into the latest topics in mental health research:

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NIMH Science News

The latest news and updates from NIMH-supported research:

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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.

Connect with NIMH

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Inside NIMH is produced by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about the Institute, visit our website at https://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.