2020 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 (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 2020 edition.
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH Director’s Updates
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect us all, individuals may be impacted in different ways. The Institute continues to monitor and respond to the situation, providing guidance to researchers, as well as resources for providers and individuals managing stress and mental illness. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we share updates on NIMH’s response to COVID-19, announce the release of the new NIMH Strategic Plan for Research, and note key developments across NIH.
News to Know
- NIMH’s Response to COVID-19: NIMH is closely monitoring and responding to COVID-19 on several fronts. In a recent Director’s Message, I wrote about managing fear, anxiety, and stress during this time and provided some resources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Stress and Coping webpage. NIMH staff have also developed health information resources, including a new Coping with COVID-19 shareables webpage featuring NIMH experts discussing coping strategies and the mental health impact of COVID-19 in news stories, radio interviews, and videos. Additionally, NIMH issued a Notice of Special Interest (NOT-MH-20-047) to highlight interest in research to strengthen the mental health response to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. More information, including guidance for researchers, can be found on the NIH COVID-19 webpage.
- NIMH Releases the New NIMH Strategic Plan for Research: On May 19th, the Institute published the new NIMH Strategic Plan for Research on the NIMH website. NIMH uses the Strategic Plan to communicate our priorities and help guide mental health research efforts funded by the Institute. NIMH developed the Plan with input from a variety of stakeholders. The Plan will be updated regularly to keep pace with ever-evolving scientific approaches and research priorities. Key research projects and findings from NIMH and NIMH-funded investigators that advance the Institute’s mission will be highlighted on the Research Progress page for each research Goal.
- Outreach Spotlight: NIMH created and shared several education and outreach resources to support community efforts and raise awareness about mental health observances throughout the spring. For example, NIMH created a new infographic, Bipolar Disorder in Teens and Young Adults: Know the Signs, to support World Bipolar Day, and a new infographic, Let's Talk about Eating Disorders, to support Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
- During Autism Awareness Month in April, NIMH promoted resources that help increase awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and supports for those living with ASD. Also, NIMH shared and posted new ASD social media cards on its ASD shareables webpage for community use.
- In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, NIMH promoted mental health resources through its Let's Talk about Mental Health social media campaign and expanded its Education and Awareness portal to offer digital, shareable resources on Anxiety Disorders and Depression. Also, NIMH promoted new brochures about Perinatal Depression and Depression in Women for Women's Health Week and created new Children and Adolescent Mental Health shareables for National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Addressing Black Youth Suicide: NIMH is engaging with the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Youth Suicide and Mental Health and the Working Group that developed the recent report, Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America, on the alarming rise in suicide and suicide-related behaviors among black youth. NIMH supports multiple studies aimed at optimizing suicide risk detection and intervention among black youth across the country and is committed to developing strategies to engage and care for this at-risk group. To further this objective, the NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) and the Office of Behavioral Health Equity at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently hosted a virtual panel discussion to discuss the Congressional Black Caucus report and formulate strategies to engage black youth and provide developmentally and culturally appropriate support and care. Additionally, I recently met with Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, and Working Group members to discuss NIMH suicide prevention research.
- National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) Workgroup Update: The NAMHC Drug Development Workgroup has been asked to examine current strategies that NIMH is using to foster mechanism-focused approaches to drug development for psychiatry. The Workgroup will advise the NAMHC on future directions in drug development for the treatment of mental disorders, and will focus on addressing a number of potential challenges, including what constitutes “target engagement” for medications, and how to revamp Fast Fail efforts to explore novel drugs. A NAMHC-approved report will be used to help guide NIMH’s future efforts in this area.
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Updates: The IACC, which was reauthorized under the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 , is in the process of having new members selected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Once the new committee is appointed by the Secretary of HHS, the IACC will resume meetings. In April, a new Coronavirus Resources page with a focus on federal resources for people with autism and their families was added to the IACC website. The National Autism Coordinator and Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) recently co-sponsored a webinar series on transition aged youth on the autism spectrum addressing the topics of healthcare, transportation, and employment. See iacc.hhs.gov for updates on Autism Awareness Month and IACC activities.
Updates and Announcements from NIH
- NIH-Wide Initiatives
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative®: As the BRAIN Initiative begins to transition its focus from tool and technology development to clinical application, NIH reflected on the many accomplishments of BRAIN Initiative-funded research and set its sights on new challenges and opportunities. On March 11, 2020, a number of BRAIN Initiative-funded investigators and invited speakers had opportunities to present and discuss the newest advances in neuroscience at the LabRoots’ 8th Annual Neuroscience Virtual Conference. Presenters discussed topics on Cell Type Diversity, Tool Development, Advancing Human Neuroscience, Early Career BRAIN Scientists, and Understanding Circuits and Behavior.
- Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative: On March 18, 2020, NIH hosted a meeting with the HEAL Initiative Multi-Disciplinary Working Group (MDWG) to discuss HEAL research and facilitate the exchange of scientific information about HEAL projects. The MDWG includes experts in pain and addiction research from across the scientific and advocacy communities, and convenes regularly to ensure broad engagement with the Initiative’s research aims and plans.
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget: On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (Public Law No. 116-94) providing funds through September 30, 2020. The law provides $2.038 billion to NIMH (amount includes 21st Century Cures funding), representing a 9 percent increase over the FY 2020 appropriation. NIMH anticipates awarding more than 600 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2020, with an estimated success rate of 25 percent, as shown in Figure 1 below.
- 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. Moreover, the Institute will give special consideration to certain applications in accordance with the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI).
- Figure 2 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 2021: In August 2019, the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 establishing discretionary funding limits for defense and non-defense spending. In February 2020, the President submitted the FY 2021 budget request to Congress. The request for NIH is $38 billion, a decrease of $4 billion from the FY 2020 appropriated level including 21st Century Cures funding. The request for NIMH is $1.845 billion, a decrease of $200 million from the FY 2020 appropriated level including 21st Century Cures funding. House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have postponed hearings until a later date.
NIMH Staff News and Awards
- NIMH Staff News
- Armin Raznahan, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Developmental Neurogenomics Unit in the NIMH IRP was awarded tenure. Dr. Raznahan’s research combines neuroimaging, genomic, and bioinformatic techniques to better understand the architecture of human brain development in health, and in neurogenetic disorders that increase risk for psychiatric symptoms.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
NIMH is proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by our current grantees:
- 2020 Elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences:
- Seth Pollak, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin – Madison
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.
- It is well established that the hippocampus supports a host of memory functions; however, the exact patterns of neural activity that mediate memory processing are still being explored. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, Gyorgy Buzsaki, M.D., Ph.D. (New York University) and Jayeeta Basu, Ph.D. (New York University) aim to investigate how downstream brain regions, such as the parietal cortex, “read out” the information sent by the hippocampus. The researchers plan to identify and record hippocampal sharp wave ripples, a pattern of neural activity that seems to represent an animal’s previous experience, during various memory tasks. Once the researchers have identified these patterns in the hippocampus, they plan to artificially alter the pattern using an optogenetic stimulation technique, which uses light to control genetically modified neurons. They hope to then examine how these changes in hippocampal firing are reflected downstream in the parietal cortex. This and other innovative experiments may help us understand neural representations in the brain and how this information is transmitted between brain regions.
- The NIMH Division of Translational Research continues to invest in research aimed at reducing suicide rates across the United States. In an effort to better understand the progression from suicidal ideation to attempt, Alexandre Dombrovski, M.D. (University of Pittsburgh) aims to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine whether the neural circuits involved in decision-making are disrupted in individuals at risk for suicide. Dr. Dombrovski and his team plan to collect behavioral and fMRI data from four groups of participants: 1) individuals who both have attempted suicide and endorse current suicidal ideation, 2) individuals who endorse current suicidal ideation but have not attempted suicide in the past, 3) individuals who are depressed but non-suicidal, and 4) healthy controls. Using data from these experiments, the researchers plan to build computational models to predict suicide risk. Results from this study may inform future neurostimulation studies by identifying neural circuit targets that are implicated in suicide attempts. Further, the research team is committed to sharing their codes and data to spur computational and decision-making approaches to understanding suicidal behavior.
- The NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research recently funded three studies that respond to the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus report, Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America. These studies all aim to address the significant increase in the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation and behaviors among black children and youth over the last several years. Holly Wilcox, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University) plans to adapt Youth Aware of Mental Health, an efficacious school-based mental health promotion program, for a racially diverse (67% African American), middle school population. Dr. Wilcox is also working with Rashelle Musci, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University) to leverage existing data to understand the impact of childhood universal prevention programs on suicidal behaviors, depression and anxiety symptoms and diagnoses, and psychosis symptoms in early adulthood. Most of the participants in this study are black youth. Lastly, W. Lavome Robinson, Ph.D. (DePaul University) aims to test the effectiveness of a culturally adapted, school-based suicide prevention intervention for low-resourced, urban, black 9th grade students. These studies may have the potential to inform the development of interventions that may curb the recently-observed increase in suicide among black youth.
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.
Please see the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities section for updates relating to COVID-19.
NIMH-Administered Requests for Applications
- 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)
- Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions
- Early Stage Testing of Pharmacologic or Device-based Interventions for the Treatment of Mental Disorders
- Development of Psychosocial Therapeutic and Preventive Interventions for Mental Disorders
- Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions
- Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due dates: June 15, 2020 – October 15, 2020
- R34 announcement (RFA-MH-18-706)
- Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders
- Release date: November 14, 2017; Application due dates: June 15, 2020 – October 15, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-18-707)
- NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS)
- Release date: April 6, 2020; Application due dates: June 20, 2020 – June 20, 2022
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-525)
- Effectiveness of Implementing Sustainable Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Mental Health Equity for Traditionally Underserved Populations
- Release date: November 27, 2019; Application due date: August 25, 2020
- R01 announce (RFA-MH-20-400)
- Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Equity in Outcomes
- Release date: November 27, 2019; Application due date: August 25, 2020
- R34 announce (RFA-MH-20-401)
- BRAIN Initiative: Standards to Define Experiments Related to the BRAIN Initiative
- Release date: February 24, 2020; Application due dates: September 3, 2020 – September 2, 2021
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-128)
- BRAIN Initiative: Integration and Analysis of BRAIN Initiative Data
- Release date: July 17, 2018; Application due dates: September 9, 2020 – March 4, 2021
- 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 09, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-136)
- 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 28, 2020
- 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 30, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-135)
- NIMH Instrumentation Program
- Release date: November 26, 2019; Application due dates: October 9, 2020 – October 8, 2021
- S10 announcement (RFA-MH-20-555)
- Utilizing Invasive Recording and Stimulating Opportunities in Humans to Advance Neural Circuitry Understanding of Mental Health Disorders
- BRAIN Initiative: Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science
- Release date: October 17, 2018; Application due date: October 9, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-400)
- NIMH Career Enhancement Award to Advance Autism Services Research for Adults and Transition-Age Youth
- Practice-Based Research for Implementing Scalable Evidence-Based Prevention Interventions in Primary Care Settings
- Enhancing Suicide Prevention in Emergency Care via Telehealth
- Release date: November 19, 2019; Application due date: October 15, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-226)
- BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation - New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision
- Release date: June 27, 2019; Application due date: October 15, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-310)
- Post-Acute Interventions for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa
- Release date: April 15, 2020; Application due dates: October 19, 2020 – June 15, 2021
- R34 announcement (RFA-MH-20-500)
- Laboratories to Optimize Digital Health
- Release date: November 25, 2019; Application due date: November 2, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-20-510)
- Computational Approaches for Validating Dimensional Constructs of Relevance to Psychopathology
- Release date: September 26, 2018; Application due date: November 20, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-MH-19-242)
- Computationally-Defined Behaviors in Psychiatry
- Release date: August 9, 2018; Application due date: November 20, 2020
- R21 announcement (RFA-MH-19-240)
NIMH-Collaborative Funding Opportunity Announcements
- BRAIN Initiative: Biology and Biophysics of Neural Stimulation and Recording Technologies
- Release date: January 2, 2020; Application due dates: June 2, 2020 – October 3, 2022
- R01 announcement (RFA-NS-20-006)
- BRAIN Initiative: Biology and Biophysics of Neural Stimulation
- Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due dates: June 4, 2020 – October 6, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-018)
- BRAIN Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity
- BRAIN Initiative: Research Opportunities Using Invasive Neural Recording and Stimulating Technologies in the Human Brain
- Release date: August 28, 2018; Application due dates: June 19, 2020 – October 19, 2020
- U01 announcement (RFA-NS-19-001)
- 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 dates: June 22, 2020 – October 21, 2020
- UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-18-023)
- HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain
- HEAL Initiative: Clinical Devices to Treat Pain
- Release date: December 10, 2018; Application due dates: June 22, 2020 – February 21, 2021
- UH3 announcement (RFA-NS-19-018)
- BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Projects - TargetedBCP
- Release date: April 19, 2018; Application due dates: July 1, 2020 – November 10, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-030)
- BRAIN Initiative: Targeted BRAIN Circuits Planning Projects – TargetedBCPP
- Release date: December 14, 2017; Application due dates: July 1, 2020 – November 10, 2020
- R34 announcement (RFA-NS-18-014)
- BRAIN Initiative: Exploratory Team-Research BRAIN Circuit Programs – eTeamBCP
- Release date: April 1, 2020; Application due date: July 14, 2020 – June 15, 2020
- U01 announcement (RFA-NS-20-029)
- Harnessing Natural Killer (NK) Cells to Prevent, Control, or Eradicate HIV
- Release date: March 6, 2020; Application due date: July 28, 2020
- R01 announcement (RFA-AI-20-016)
- Limited Competition: International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA)
- Release date: April 8, 2020; Application due date: August 4, 2020
- U01 announcement (RFA-AI-20-023)
- Reducing Stigma Related to Drug Use in Human Service Settings
- Release date: April 9, 2020; Application due date: August 11, 2020
- R34 announcement (RFA-DA-21-001)
- BRAIN Initiative: Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies
- Release date: June 27, 2019; Application due dates: September 3, 2020 – September 3, 2021
- U01 announcement (RFA-EB-19-002)
- HEAL INITIATIVE: Development of Therapies and Technologies Directed at Enhanced Pain Management
- 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, 2020
- U01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-019)
- 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, 2020
- U01 announcement (RFA-NS-18-020)
- 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, 2020
- R21 announcement (RFA-EY-18-001)
- BRAIN Initiative: Team-Research BRAIN Circuit Programs – TeamBCP
- Transformative Research Award for the Investigation of Co-occurring Conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndrome (INCLUDE) Project
- Release date: December 13, 2019; Application due dates: November 3, 2020 – November 3, 2021
- R01 announcement (RFA-OD-20-005)
- The Intersection of Sex and Gender Influences on Health and Disease
- Release date: September 27, 2019; Application due dates: November 25, 2020 – November 26, 2021
- R01 announcement (RFA-OD-19-029)
- BRAIN Initiative: Research Resource Grants for Technology Integration and Dissemination
- Release date: October 22, 2018; Application due dates: November 27, 2020 – June 27, 2021
- U24 announcement (RFA-NS-19-006)
- NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award
- Release date: October 3, 2018; Application due dates: December 15, 2020 – April 15, 2021
- F99/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.
- Assessing Outcomes of Health System Suicide Risk Screening Programs
- BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
- HEAL Initiative Supplements to Improve the Treatment and Management of Common Co-Occurring Conditions and Suicide Risk in People Affected by the Opioid Crisis
- Optimizing Multi-Component Service Delivery Interventions for People with Opioid Use Disorder, Co-Occurring Conditions, and/or Suicide Risk (HEAL Initiative)
- Standards to Define Experiments Related to the BRAIN Initiative
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).
- Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Workshop: On February 13-14, 2020, NIMH hosted the Clinical High Risk (CHR) for Psychosis Workshop. NIMH convened 22 international CHR researchers to 1) develop well-operationalized definitions for use across research projects and 2) begin harmonizing the current gold standard assessment tools for assessing CHR for psychosis. The attendees plan to continue this effort via a series of videoconference calls and hope to publish a white paper detailing the final operationalized definitions.
- Novel Target Discovery and Psychosocial Intervention Development: On February 24-25, 2020, the NIMH Division of Translational Research hosted the Novel Target Discovery and Psychosocial Intervention Development Workshop. Interdisciplinary researchers shared their experience and discussed the utility of cross-disciplinary teamwork for the successful translation of basic findings to clinical application. Meeting attendees formed a subgroup to develop future steps to help communicate the opportunities provided by target-focused psychosocial intervention development.
- NIMH Rare Genetic Disease Network: On March 9-10, 2020, NIMH hosted a virtual workshop for investigators from the NIMH Rare Genetic Diseases Network. Attendees shared updates on their individual research progress and discussed a variety of topics, including cross-Network analyses, data coordination and harmonization, and leveraging emerging opportunities.
- Expanding Career Pathways for Youth and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Employment as a Social Determinant of Health: On March 23, 2020, the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) and the National Autism Coordinator hosted a webinar on expanding career pathways for youth and young adults on the autism spectrum. The webinar emphasized employment as a key social determinant of health and highlighted how greater access to work-based learning may increase opportunities for gainful employment. The webinar hosts also shared federally funded resources to support access to workplace accommodations for people on the autism spectrum.
- Transforming the Practice of Mental Health Care: On April 2, 2020, NIMH hosted a virtual workshop on Transforming the Practice of Mental Health Care. Attendees brainstormed how big data and artificial intelligence may transform care for individuals living with mental illnesses. During the discussion, they addressed the strengths and challenges of integrating artificial intelligence and big data into mental health care, including ethical issues in using artificial intelligence, what partnerships will be required to achieve this goal, and the level of evidence needed to support approval by regulatory agencies.
- Webinar – Responding to the Alarm: Addressing Black Youth Suicide: On April 21, 2020, the NIMH Office of Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) and the Office of Behavioral Health Equity at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) co-hosted a virtual panel discussion to address the rising rates of suicide among black youth. The discussants addressed the latest trends and prevalence of suicide and suicide-related behaviors, identified common risk and protective factors, and shared their thoughts on how to best engage this population and provide developmentally and culturally appropriate support and care.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- COVID-19: Information for Applications and Recipients of NIH Funding: The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) developed a webpage to provide information about late submissions (NOT-OD-20-091), answer questions about current awards, and share notices of special interest for research on the pandemic. Please send any additional questions to: GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov.
- Reminder: NIH "FORMS-F" Applications and Instructions: NIH and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently announced plans to transition to updated application forms and instructions for due dates on or after May 25, 2020 (FORMS-F; NOT-OD-20-026). This Notice provides additional information on the planned changes to forms and instructions affecting research training grant, fellowship, and career development award applications.
NIH-Wide Grant News
- Notice of Fiscal Policies in Effect for FY 2020: On February 5, 2020 NIH released a Guide Notice that lists fiscal operations now in effect for FY 2020 funding levels, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Research Awards (NRSA) stipends, Next Generation Researchers Initiative Policy, salary limits, and more (NOT-OD-20-068).
- Notice of Transition to New System for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality for Non-NIH Funded Research: On February 28, 2020, NIH released a Guide Notice to inform the research community that NIH is updating its Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) online system that is used to request an NIH-issued CoC for non-NIH funded research (NOT-OD-20-075).
- Updated Guidance for Videos Submitted as NIH Application Materials: NIH recently released a Guide Notice revising the policy on video formats (see NOT-OD-12-141; all other portions of the policy remain unchanged and in effect). As of February 3, 2020, post-submission videos no longer need to be embedded in .pdf files. Acceptable formats for videos are .mp4, .mov, .avi, and .wmv. All other aspects of the video policy remain unchanged (NOT-OD-20-061).
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.
NIMH’s Director’s Messages provide insights into the latest topics in mental health research:
- The Kindness of Strangers: Supporting Each Other During COVID-19 (May 7, 2020): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon reflects on some of the acts of kindness he has encountered and calls on others to support friends, family, and strangers alike during the pandemic.
- Piecing Together the Genetic Puzzle of Autism (April 22, 2020): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon looks at new findings that help shed light on the complex causal web that leads from genes to autism.
- Coping with Coronavirus: Support for the Autism Community (April 14, 2020): In this Autism Awareness Month Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon addresses the challenges faced by individuals with autism and their families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Coping with Coronavirus: Managing Stress, Fear, and Anxiety (March 16, 2020): Each person responds to stress in different ways. In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon talks about managing fear, anxiety, and stress related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Piecing Together the Genetic Puzzle of Schizophrenia (March 13, 2020): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon highlights new findings that advance our understanding of how genetic differences contribute to the development of schizophrenia.
NIMH Science News
Here is the latest news about NIMH-supported research:
- Emergency Drug Overdose Visits Associated with Increased Risk for Later Suicide (May 7, 2020)
- Infant Temperament Predicts Personality More Than 20 Years Later (April 20, 2020)
- Digital Mental Health: Innovating in a Time of High Anxiety (April 13, 2020)
- Supporting Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 3, 2020)
- Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments (March 30, 2020)
- Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication (February 10, 2020)
Please help us spread the word about NIMH-funded research! If you have a manuscript submitted for publication that describes an especially significant finding, please contact the NIMH Press Team at NIMHpress@nih.gov and notify your NIMH Program Official to discuss the possibility of a news release or other form of dissemination. NIMH has several methods for getting the word out: press releases, institute updates, and social media. All releases and updates are posted to the Science News section of the NIMH website, distributed to the public through a mailing list, and posted on NIMH social media channels. Please also remember to acknowledge NIMH support of your research, for example, in journal articles (citing your NIMH award by number when possible) and other communications.
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