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2019 Spring Inside NIMH

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 (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 policies and activities relating to the conduct and support of mental health research, research training, and other programs of the Institute. Check out our website 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 Spring 2019 edition.


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

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NIMH Director’s Updates

Happy 70th birthday, NIMH! On April 15, 1949, NIMH was formally established  – it was one of the first four NIH institutes. Over the past 70 years, NIMH-supported researchers have made tremendous discoveries to advance the field of mental health. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we continue to celebrate recent therapeutic advances, plan for the future, and note key developments across NIH.

News to Know

  • Transformative Therapeutics: In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new promising neurotherapeutic drugs.
    • Esketamine: Ketamine, an anesthetic that was approved by the FDA in 1970, is emerging as a potential rapid onset intervention for acute suicide risk and treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine is associated with rapid–within minutes to hours–decrease in depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. The FDA recently approved  SpravatoTM, an esketamine (a form of ketamine) nasal spray that should be taken in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for treatment-resistant depression in adults. This is the first truly novel FDA-approved antidepressant medication in decades (followed quickly by Brexanolone, see next bullet). The makers of Spravato are also conducting clinical trials  of intranasal esketamine in participants at imminent risk for suicide. NIMH-supported intramural and extramural research helped lay the foundation for the development of this drug.
    • Brexanolone: Approximately 1 in 9 women in the United States experiences symptoms of postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC). The FDA recently approved brexanolone , an analog of the endogenous human hormone allopregnanolone and the first drug specifically designed to treat postpartum depression. FDA approval represents the final phase of a bench-to-bedside journey for this drug — a journey that began in the NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP).
  • 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 are currently working to draft the 2020 NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH plans to provide a draft to NAMHC members for review and discussion at the 2019 September Council meeting. NIMH will then publish a Request for Information via the Federal Register to solicit public feedback, and the Institute will publish the new NIMH Strategic Plan for Research in 2020.
  • Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC): The IACC  met on April 17, 2019. Presentations included a tutorial on the CDC’s new Autism Data Visualization Platform, an update on disability policies from the Federal Communications Commission, as well as a presentation of research to address employment for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). On May 21, 2019, the IACC held a workshop  addressing the mental health needs of people on the autism spectrum. The workshop highlighted research on anxiety, depression, suicide, and aggressive and self-injurious behaviors in ASD.
  • NIH-Wide Initiatives:
    • Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study: The ABCD study is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. On April 2, 2019, NIH released  the comprehensive baseline dataset from the ABCD study  – available on the NIMH Data Archive . Approximately 100 terabytes of data obtained from the full participant cohort (11,878 youth and their families) can now be accessed by scientists worldwide to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
    • All of Us Research Program: On March 14, 2019, the All of Us Research Program  launched a Speaker Series  in partnership with the National Library of Medicine. In the inaugural talk, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D. discussed the importance of All of Us, noted how far the research program has come, provided a preview of the Program’s future, and answered questions from viewers. On May 6, 2019, one year following the launch of the All of Us Research Program, NIH hosted a mini-symposium  to discuss what has been learned about building an engaged and diverse participant community, and its potential for scientific impact.
    • Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative®: At the fifth annual BRAIN Investigators Meeting  on April 11-13, 2019, over 1,500 BRAIN Initiative awardees, representatives, and investigators joined staff and leadership from the contributing federal agencies, members of Congress, members of the media, and the interested public to advance the understanding of the brain and nervous system. The BRAIN Initiative Multi-Council Working Group  met on February 12, 2019 and May 16, 2019. Ongoing meetings of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0  , and its BRAIN 2.0 Neuroethics Subgroup (BNS) , as well as public feedback  , continue to guide updates to BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision . On January 23, 2019, the BNS conducted a portfolio review and held a public workshop   on neuroethical issues posed by BRAIN Initiative research. The BNS welcomes comments from the public on draft findings and analysis detailed in a Neuroethics Roadmap .
    • Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative: The NIH HEAL Initiative  is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. On February 26, 2019, NIH announced the appointment of Rebecca Baker, Ph.D. , as Director of the NIH HEAL Initiative. On March 5, 2019, NIH announced the formation of the HEAL Partnership Committee , a subgroup of the HEAL Multi-Disciplinary Working Group , to guide data sharing and information collection efforts.
  • NIH Leadership News

Budget Overview

  • Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget:  On September 28, 2018, President Trump signed the Appropriations Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 115-245) providing 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 more than 600 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2019, with an estimated success rate of 26 percent, as shown in Figure 1 below.
    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 2674 677 30 26
  • Although NIMH does not have a specific pay line, the Institute expects to support most of the applications that have an impact score up to the 10th percentile, many between the 10th and 20th percentiles, and some beyond the 20th percentile. Funding decisions are based on factors such as the Institute’s Strategic Plan for Research, programmatic portfolio consideration, and availability of funds. Overall, as in past years, NIMH expects to support approximately three-fourths of the applications under the 20th percentile (or those with comparable impact scores for non-percentiled applications). Moreover, the Institute will give special consideration to certain applications in accordance with the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) .
    NIMH Budget in Appropriated Dollars and Constant 2000 Dollars
    Appropriation Appropriation in 2000 Dollars
    2000 973.146 973.146
    2001 1106.536 1082.716
    2002 1248.093 1202.402
    2003 1341.014 1270.140
    2004 1381.774 1272.352
    2005 1411.933 1260.654
    2006 1403.515 1216.218
    2007 1404.494 1185.227
    2008 1411.968 1169.816
    2009 1450.491 1191.858
    2010 1489.372 1037.167
    2011 1476.293 1174.458
    2012 1480.265 1155.554
    2013 1403.005 1075.924
    2014 1446.172 1088.985
    2015 1433.603 1068.259
    2016 1548.390 1141.881
    2017 1604.658 1160.273
    2018 1711.434 1213.783
    2019 1812.796 1261.514
  • Figure 2 (above) shows the NIMH budget in appropriated (current) versus constant (FY 2000) dollars. Constant dollars are “inflation adjusted” for variations in the purchasing power of the dollar over time. Dollar amounts are adjusted based on the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI). The annual change in BRDPI indicates how much the NIH budget must change to maintain purchasing power similar to FY 2000.
  • Outlook for FY 2020: In February 2019, the President submitted an outline for the FY 2020 budget request  to Congress. The request for NIH is $34.368 billion, a decrease of $4.939 billion from the FY 2019 appropriated level (including 21st Century Cures funding). The request for NIMH is $1.630 billion, a decrease of $240 million from the FY 2019 appropriated level (including 21st Century Cures funding). In April 2019, the House  and Senate  Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held appropriations hearings with the NIH Director and several NIH Institute and Center Directors.

NIMH Staff News and Awards

  • NIMH Staff News:
    • Sue Swedo, M.D., Chief of the Section on Behavioral Pediatrics, retired at the end of March 2019 and is now a Scientist Emeritus. Dr. Swedo came to the NIMH as a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in 1986. She is a board-certified pediatrician who trained at Northwestern University's Children's Memorial Hospital. Dr. Swedo has authored/co-authored over 100 research publications. Her research has focused on diagnosis and treatment of childhood neuropsychiatric conditions, including Sydenham's chorea, Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and ASD. Dr. Swedo and colleagues were the first to describe a post-infectious etiology for OCD and define criteria identifying the Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) subgroup.
    • Judith Rumsey, Ph.D., Chief of the Brain Circuitry and Dynamics Program is retiring at the end of May 2019. Dr. Rumsey began her career at NIMH in the IRP Child Psychiatry Branch in 1980. She served over 25 years as an extramural scientist and program officer. Dr. Rumsey made substantial contributions to many large initiatives, including the Pediatric MRI Extramural Data Repository, the Bipolar & Schizophrenia Consortium for Parsing Intermediate Phenotypes (BSNIP), Psychosis & Affective Research Domains and Intermediate Phenotypes (PARDIP), Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care consortium (EMBARC), and North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS 1-3) and its partnership with international Harmonization of At Risk Multisite Observational Networks for Youth consortium (HARMONY).
  • NIMH Staff Awards:
    • Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research, was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in recognition of exceptional efforts to further NAMI’s goal of improving the lives of people living with mental illness. This award will be presented at the NAMI national convention in Seattle, Washington on June 19-22, 2019.
    • Jeymohan Joseph, Ph.D., Chief of the HIV Neuropathogenesis, Genetics, and Therapeutics Branch in the Division of AIDS Research, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Personalized NanoMedicine in appreciation of several years of service and commitment in Innovative Biomedical Research, particularly in HIV Neuropathogenesis. This award was presented at the 5th Annual Personalized NanoMedicine Symposium in Miami, Florida on November 2, 2018.

Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science

Grantee Awards and Updates

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

  • Newly Elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    • Guoping Feng, M.D., Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    • Bryan L. Roth, M.D., Ph.D. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Innovation in Acute Care Suicide Prevention Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    • Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation (ED-SAFE) Study
      Principal Investigators: Edwin D. Boudreaux, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts), Carlos A. Camargo Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H. (Massachusetts General Hospital), Ivan W. Miller, Ph.D. (Butler Hospital, Providence, RI)

Notable NIMH Grants

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.

  • Glial cells are the primary support cells of the brain and are critically important for normal brain development. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS), Anna Molofsky, M.D., Ph.D.  (University of California, San Francisco) will investigate how two types of glial cells – astrocytes and microglia – communicate with each other using a molecule called Interleukin-33. Interleukin 33 is known from the immune system to help brain cells form proper connections during development. Understanding how glia communicate via immune molecules to regulate synapses may fundamentally impact our understanding of how neural circuits change in learning and development, as well as in neurodevelopmental diseases.
  • Eating disorders, characterized in part by extreme dietary restriction and excessive exercise, typically begin in adolescence, which is a time of reproductive hormone changes and rapid brain development. These disorders are also highly associated with estrogen deficiency as well as specific cognitive and behavioral dysfunction. With support from the NIMH Division of Translational Research (DTR), Madhusmita Misra, M.D.  and Kamryn Eddy, Ph.D.  (Massachusetts General Hospital), will examine whether estrogen deficiency contributes to common cognitive, behavioral, and neural circuit impairments exhibited in this adolescent patient population, and whether correcting this deficiency by estrogen replacement improves eating disorder symptoms and pathology via its impact on the proposed cognitive, behavioral, and neural systems. The results of this study may inform the development of hormone replacement treatments for eating disorders.
  • Evidence-based illness management interventions have been shown to prolong the recovery periods and improve the outcomes in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSDs). Because they are time intensive and require the skills of trained providers who are often in short-supply, these interventions are seldom available at community mental health clinics where many individuals with SSD receive care. Technology can help overcome these constraints. With the support of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR), Dror Ben-Zeev, Ph.D.  (University of Washington) plans to test strategies to implement FOCUS, a clinically effective mHealth illness management intervention for people with SSDs. Previous studies, partly funded by NIMH, have shown that FOCUS is feasible, usable, engaging, and effective. Findings from this study may pave the way for real-world implementation of mHealth in community mental health settings.
  • HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an oral medication regimen that provides more than 90 percent protection from HIV infection when taken regularly. Persistent use of PrEP has proven challenging. Barriers to sustained use of PrEP include the burden of quarterly medical appointments for clinical monitoring, financial and insurance-related issues, and risk-perception. The NIMH Division of AIDS Research (DAR) is supporting research to address these challenges. Susan Buchbinder, M.D.  (San Francisco Department of Public Health) is testing a 100 percent digitally-delivered PrEP care and support program. The program combines a mobile smartphone app for adherence and risk monitoring support with telemedicine appointments from an online pharmacy with courier deliveries. This approach may serve as a scalable model for expanding PrEP services and support to vulnerable populations nationwide.

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

Current Funding Opportunities and Announcements

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

  • Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: June 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: June 15, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-18-707 )
  • Development of Psychosocial Therapeutic and Preventive Interventions for Mental Disorders
  • Early Stage Testing of Pharmacologic or Device -based Interventions for the Treatment of Mental Health Disorders
  • Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions
    • Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due date: June 15, 2019
    • R34 announcement (RFA-MH-18-706 )
  • NIMH Career Enhancement Award to Advance Autism Services Research for Adults and Transition-Age Youth
  • Limited Competition for a Connectome Coordination Facility
    • Release date: January 25, 2019; Application due date: June 24, 2019
    • R24 announcement (RFA-MH-20-210  )
  • BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
    • Release date: November 7, 2017; Application due date: August 7, 2019
    • F32 announcement (RFA-MH-18-510 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Secondary Analysis and Archiving of BRAIN Initiative Data
    • Release date: April 10, 2019; Application due date: September 6, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-120 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Data Archives for the BRAIN Initiative
    • Release date: July 17, 2018; Application due date: September 6, 2019
    • R24 announcement (RFA-MH-19-145 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Standards to Define Experiments Related to the BRAIN Initiative
    • Release date: July 17, 2018; Application due date: September 6, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-146 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Integration and Analysis of BRAIN Initiative Data
    • Release date: July 17, 2018; Application due date: September 6, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-147 )
  • 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 6, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-136 )
  • NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS)
    • Release date:  May 03, 2018; Application due date: September 6, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-130 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Development of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in Human and Non-Human Primate Brain 
    • Release date: August 2, 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 9, 2019; Application due date: September 27, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-135 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science
    • Release date: October 17, 2018; Application due date: October 9, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-400 )
  • Refinement and Testing of Interventions to Sustain ADHD Treatment Effects Across Settings and Developmental Transitions
    • Release date: February 4, 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 9, 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 6, 2019; Application due date: January 2, 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  )

NIMH-Participating Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • BRAIN Initiative: Biology and Biophysics of Neural Stimulation
    • Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due date: June 4, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-018 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Exploratory Team-Research BRAIN Circuit Programs - eTeamBCP
    • Release date: May 17, 2018; Application due date: June 10, 2019
    • U01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-029 )
  • HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain
  • HEAL Initiative: Clinical Devices to Treat Pain
    • Release date: December 10, 2018; Application due date: June 21, 2019
    • UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-19-018 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Next-Generation Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human Central Nervous System
  • 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: June 21, 2019
    • UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-18-023 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Research Resource Grants for Technology Integration and Dissemination
    • Release date: October 22, 2018; Application due date: June 27, 2019
    • U24 announcement (RFA-NS-19-006 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Projects- TargetedBCP
    • Release date: April 19, 2018; Application due date: July 3, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-030 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Planning Projects TargetedBCPP
    • Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due date: July 15, 2019
    • R34 announcement (RFA-NS-18-014 )
  • Limited Competition for Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study - Coordinating Center
    • Release date: April 3, 2019; Application due date: July 24, 2019
    • U24 announcement (RFA-DA-20-004 )
  • Limited Competition for Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study - Data Analysis, Informatics and Resource Center
    • Release date: April 3, 2019; Application due date: July 24, 2019
    • U24 announcement (RFA-DA-20-003 )
  • Limited Competition for Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study - Linked Research Project Sites
    • Release date: April 3, 2019; Application due date: July 24, 2019
    • Collaborative U01 announcement (RFA-DA-20-002 )
  • U.S.-South Africa Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research - Phase 2 (HIV/AIDS)
    • Release date: March 15, 2019; Application due date: July 26, 2019
    • R01 announcement (RFA-AI-19-022 )
  • HIV Prevention Clinical Trials Network Leadership and Operations Center
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement ( RFA-AI-19-005  )
  • HIV Vaccines Clinical Trials Network Leadership and Operations Center
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-19-006 )
  • HIV/AIDS Adult Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network Leadership and Operations Center
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-19-003 )
  • HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks Laboratory Centers
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-19-001 )
  • HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks Statistical and Data Management Centers (SDMC)
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-19-002 )
  • HIV/AIDS Maternal, Adolescent and Pediatric Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network Leadership and Operations Center
    • Release date: January 24, 2019; Application due date: August 1, 2019
    • UM1 announcement (RFA-AI-19-004 )
  • BRAIN Initiative: Theories, Models and Methods for Analysis of Complex Data from the Brain
    • Release date: October 12, 2017; Application due date: September 3, 2019
    • R21 announcement (RFA-EB-17-005 )
  • 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 )
  • 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 2, 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-19-002 )
  • NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award
    • Release date: October 3, 2018; Application due date: December 13, 2019
    • F90/K00 announcement (RFA-NS-19-011 )

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

  • From Mind-Wandering to Mindfulness: The Role of Attention and Awareness. The NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP) hosted a symposium on March 5-6, 2019. The symposium tied together the basic science research topics of attention and awareness and highlighted their relevance in mental health and daily life. Experts presented their work in areas ranging from neural correlates of consciousness to mindfulness-based training to promote cognitive resilience.
  • Regulatory Peptides: Emerging Translational Opportunities: On March 25-26, 2019, the NIMH IRP hosted a workshop focused on the ‘virtual pipeline’ that links basic neuroscience research to its potential translation into neurotherapeutics. Attendees discussed regulatory peptides (substances consisting of amino acids involved in the transfer of information between cells) and specifically, neuropeptides as neuromodulators, and their receptors as targets, in metabolic disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and other CNS disorders.
  • A Critical Examination of Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback: On March 28-29, 2019, the NIMH IRP convened  international experts from across the field of neuroscience to discuss neurofeedback methods, analysis and mechanisms, experimental design, clinical applications, and changing cognitive states.
  • Heart and Soul: Brain, Behavior, and Cardiovascular Gene Dosage Effects in 7q11.23 and 22q11.2 Copy Number Variations: On April 2-3, 2019, NIMH and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) co-hosted a workshop  focused on Williams Syndrome and Velocardiofacial Syndrome – Deletions and Duplications. The Heart and Soul workshop brought together world experts on gene dosage effects in brain and cardiac development.
  • 10th Anniversary Conference: Global Mental Health Research Without Borders: On April 8-9, 2019, the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research, together with Grand Challenges Canada, hosted a 10th anniversary conference. The event showcased findings from cutting-edge science and identified opportunities for new groundbreaking research to address the grand challenges in global mental health.
  • From Neural Activity to Behavior: Computational Modeling of the Nervous System: On April 18-19, 2019, experts from around the world came together to discuss  computational modeling of sensory circuits, computations in neurons and populations, cortical circuits, and high-level cognition and behavior.
  • Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium: On April 22, 2019, NIMH hosted the event in honor of Julius Axelrod, Ph.D. to commemorate his monumental contributions to the fields of pharmacology and neuroscience. The event also recognized the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Annual Axelrod Prize recipient.
  • A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs: On April 23, 2019, the NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) hosted a special event to recognize National Autism Awareness Month. The event featured a panel presentation from Barb Cook, Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D., and Dena Gassner, M.S.W. The three women are authors of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism. The panel also included Jennifer O'Toole, author of Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. Panelists discussed their books and life from the perspective of a woman with ASD.
  • Identifying Research Priorities in Child Suicide Risk: On May 9-10, 2019, the NIMH Office of the Director and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) sponsored a workshop to identify future research priorities in the study of child suicide risk. The workshop fostered discussion among experts in the field on a range of topics including NIMH priorities, groups at high risk for suicide-related thoughts and behaviors, and ethical and risk management considerations in researching child suicide risk.
  • Looking to the Future: Behavioral Aspects of Long-Acting and Extended Delivery HIV Prevention and Treatment Regimens: On May 13-14, 2019, NIMH and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases co-hosted a workshop  to identify and explore behavioral considerations, facilitators, and barriers that may be important to future implementation of long-acting and extended delivery biomedical regimens for HIV prevention and treatment. The workshop was co-sponsored by the NIH Office of AIDS Research, the NIH Office of Disease Prevention, and NIH OBSSR.

Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities

Electronic Grant Application Submission News

  • New eRA Website: On April 30, 2019, NIH launched a newly designed eRA public website . The eRA website is an informational gateway for applicants, grantees and reviewers to navigate externally-facing eRA modules such as eRA Commons, Internet Assisted Review (IAR), and Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST).

NIH-Wide Grant News

  • New Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Involving Humans: A new Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Template  is now available to guide investigators through the systematic development of a comprehensive clinical protocol. The new template, based on the previously released Phase 2 & 3 Clinical Trial Template , is fully integrated into the NIH’s Clinical e-Protocol Writing Tool , and can be used by behavioral and social science researchers to prepare research protocols for human studies measuring a behavioral or social outcome, or testing a behavioral- or social science-based intervention. The use of this protocol template is optional.
  • New “All About Grants” Podcast on using RePORT Web Tools: In the latest installment of the NIH’s All About Grants podcast series , staff from the NIH Office of Extramural Research shared their advice on applying the suite of tools available on NIH RePORT to help applicants throughout the grants process (MP3 /Transcript ).
  • Updates to NIH Policy on Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Application Status: On February 7, 2019, NIH announced changes to its policy for identifying ESI eligible applications in cases where a Program Director or Principal Investigator may need to update or change ESI status. NIH will now automatically update the ESI status of an application within eRA Commons to minimize the need for manual change requests by applicants and to facilitate consideration of ESI status at the time of a funding decision (NOT-OD-19-072 ).
  • Guidance on Oversight and Monitoring of Clinical Research: On April 8, 2019, NIMH released a Guide Notice that consolidates and summarizes NIMH’s policies and efforts related to oversight and monitoring of clinical research, particularly clinical trials (NOT-MH-19-027 ).

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 or with eRA that is beyond your control.

Director’s Messages

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

NIMH Science News

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