2021 Autumn 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 all policies and activities relating to the conduct and support of mental health research, research training, and other programs of the Institute. I invite you to check out the NIMH website for regular updates on timely topics, and to follow me on Twitter (@NIMH Director).
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health
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NIMH staff have been very productive this summer, churning out many exciting products and organizing numerous webinars and meetings. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we celebrate the accomplishments of NIMH staff and grantees, share updates to our Strategic Plan for Research, highlight progress in youth suicide prevention and HIV/AIDS research, and much more.
News to Know from NIMH
- NIMH’s Response to COVID-19: Since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, NIMH has joined several NIH-wide initiatives to accelerate research-based solutions to mental health challenges, including Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx), Pregnant and Lactating Women and Children, and most recently, Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER). The RECOVER initiative aims to understand, prevent, and treat potential long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection. NIMH is also supporting research through the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Health Impacts (SBE) of COVID-19 initiative. For example, NIMH-funded researchers are conducting a culturally-tailored, randomized controlled trial of a mobile-based mindfulness intervention, which aims to improve postpartum depression symptoms in Black and Latina women, populations that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. More information about the NIH-wide response to COVID-19 can be found on the NIH COVID-19 website.
- NIMH Releases Annual Update to the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research and New Annual Progress Report: To keep pace with ever-evolving scientific approaches and research priorities, the Institute released its annual update to the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH uses the Strategic Plan to communicate priorities and help guide mental health research efforts funded by the Institute. The updated Strategic Plan continues to emphasize investments in the research workforce and research on mental health disparities, while also highlighting new efforts, such as Accelerating Medicines Partnership® - Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ) . In addition, it includes an updated Message from the Director and a new section on COVID-19. NIMH is also developing a companion Progress Report, which highlights significant accomplishments made during fiscal year 2020 toward achieving the goals described in the Strategic Plan.
- Addressing Suicide Among Children and Preteens: NIMH is working with researchers, mental health practitioners, and members of the public to advance understanding of suicide risk and risk trajectories in children and preteens, particularly among health disparity populations. During the spring and summer, NIMH hosted a series of research roundtables to review the state of the science, identify research priorities, and discuss challenges and opportunities in identifying children and preteens at risk for suicide. On June 15, 2021, NIMH concluded this series with a public discussion between NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, M.D. Drs. Gordon and Levine discussed the importance of research on preteen suicide risk and risk trajectories and how this research could complement ongoing efforts by NIMH and HHS to promote and protect mental health throughout the life course. Drs. Gordon and Levine also took questions from the webinar audience. In a separate but related effort, NIMH recently solicited research to address systems-level risk detection and interventions to reduce suicidality in Black youth and other underserved populations.
- 40 Years of Research on HIV/AIDS: On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of what would later be known as AIDS, a disease caused by HIV. Over the past 40 years, interagency collaboration and groundbreaking scientific advances in the understanding of basic virology, human immunology, and HIV pathogenesis have led to the development of safe and effective antiretroviral medications and interventions to prevent HIV acquisition and transmission. Nevertheless, HIV remains a serious public health issue and research priority for NIH. On June 7, 2021, Dr. Gordon partnered with Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the Office of AIDS Research at NIH, to describe NIH’s contributions to HIV/AIDS research over the past four decades and highlight opportunities for the future.
- Outreach Spotlight: NIMH created and shared many tools and resources over the summer to support community mental health education. Notably, the Institute launched a new webpage to highlight all NIMH Spanish-language resources in one place. In addition, NIMH collaborated with the National Library of Medicine to promote its Mental Health Matters campaign in the COVID-19 issue of MedlinePlus Magazine. NIMH also created several new resources to support health observance educational activities. In recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in June, NIMH expanded its Education and Awareness portal to offer shareable resources about PTSD. NIMH also promoted the new Stand Up to Stress! Coloring and Activity Book and Teen Depression infographic for its back-to-school promotional campaign. In addition, NIMH revised its Frequently Asked Questions about Suicide brochure to support September’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month activities.
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Updates: On July 1, 2021, Susan Daniels, Ph.D., Director of the NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination and Executive Secretary of the IACC, was named Acting National Autism Coordinator. On July 7, 2021, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced the new and returning members of the IACC. Two weeks later, the new IACC held its first Full Committee Meeting. Committee members discussed recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for the autism community and racial equity and health disparities in autism. The next Full Committee Meeting will take place virtually on October 13-14, 2021.
Updates and Announcements from NIH
- NIH-Wide Initiatives
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative: On June 15-17, 2021, NIH held the 7th Annual BRAIN Investigators Meeting virtually. BRAIN Initiative awardees, staff from the contributing federal agencies, researchers, and members of the media, public, and non-government organizations gathered to discuss exciting scientific developments and potential new directions. Presenters covered a broad range of topics, including neural dynamics of brain stimulation; molecular engineering of neural networks; diversity and equity in underserved research settings; the social brain; and integrative approaches to a functional cell census.
- NIH Leadership News
- On May 26, 2021, NIH announced that Marie A. Bernard, M.D. will serve as the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD), and will lead NIH’s efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in biomedical research. Dr. Bernard has been the Acting COSWD since October 2020. She previously served as the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA), where she oversaw the development of NIA’s Health Disparities Research Framework and managed the Office of Special Populations, which leads health disparities research and training for scientists from diverse backgrounds within NIA.
- On July 15, 2021, NIH announced that Michael Gottesman, M.D., NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, plans to step down after 28 years of service in this role. During his tenure as Deputy Director for Intramural Research, Dr. Gottesman established intramural training programs; created the NIH Intramural Database, providing online information about all researchers and research at NIH; and spearheaded multiple diversity, equity, research integrity, and leadership initiatives. Dr. Gottesman will remain in this role while NIH conducts a national search and will then shift focus toward his research on mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in cancer at the Center for Cancer Research in the National Cancer Institute, where he is Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology.
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Public Law No. 116-260) provides funds through September 30, 2021. The law includes $2.103 billion to NIMH (amount includes 21st Century Cures funding), representing a 3.2 percent increase over the FY 2020 appropriation. NIMH anticipates awarding more than 600 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2021, with an estimated success rate of 21.5 percent, as shown in the figure below. In accordance with NIH’s Next Generation Research Initiative (NGRI) efforts, NIMH anticipates awarding grants to 83 unique early-stage investigators (ESIs) and 190 unique at-risk investigators.
- Outlook for FY 2022 Budget: FY 2022 may 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. On July 29, 2021, the House passed H.R. 4502, a seven-bill minibus package that included the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriation. The bill proposes $2.223 billion for NIMH, an increase of 5.7 percent over the FY 2021 appropriated level (including 21st Century Cures funding). The Senate is expected to begin work on many of the annual appropriations bills in September.
NIMH Staff News and Awards
- Staff News
- On July 18, 2021, Becky Wagenaar-Miller, Ph.D., transitioned from NIMH to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), where she is serving as the Director of the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). Dr. Wagenaar-Miller previously served as the Chief of the Extramural Policy Branch in the NIMH DEA and more recently, as the Deputy Director of the NIMH DEA. During her time as Deputy Director of DEA, she was an integral member of the leadership team and guided DEA through several periods of transition.
- On August 15, 2021, Anna Ordóñez, M.D., M.A.S., was selected as the Director of the NIMH Office of Clinical Research (OCR). Dr. Ordóñez previously served as at the Deputy Director of OCR before taking on the role of Acting Director of OCR in March 2020. In this role, Dr. Ordóñez will continue to advise the NIMH Director and NIMH senior leadership on human subject research protections, data and safety monitoring, and clinical trial operations. Her expertise and leadership in the complex fields of child and adolescent psychiatry, along with her experience with Intramural Research Program (IRP) management and extramural research oversight and policy, are of great value to NIMH.
- Staff Awards
- Victor W. Pike, Ph.D., Chief of the NIMH IRP Section on Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, was awarded the 2021 Michael J. Welch Award and Lectureship by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. Created in 2008, the endowed Welch Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding scientific and mentoring contributions to the field of radiopharmaceutical sciences. In his award lecture, Dr. Pike spoke on "PET Radiochemistry: A Personal Perspective from Over Four Decades."
- Galia Siegel, Ph.D., Acting Chief of the Clinical Trials Operations Branch in the NIMH Office of Clinical Research, received the American Psychological Association Meritorious Research Service Commendation. This Commendation honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science by enhancing opportunities and resources for the field through their service as employees of government bodies or other organization. Dr. Siegel was recognized for her leadership and accomplishments in designing and managing safe and ethical suicide prevention research studies.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
NIMH Grantee Awards
NIMH is proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by our current grantees:
- Edwin Boudreaux, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts Medical School) was awarded the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Research Award.
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.
- Every day, people monitor continuous sequences of visual information while searching for specific cues (e.g., paying attention to a series of signs on the highway when looking for the correct exit). Sequence monitoring is the active process of tracking the order of sequential steps, but little is known about its neural basis. With support from the NIMH Division of Basic and Behavioral Neuroscience, Theresa M. Desrochers, Ph.D. (Brown University), plans to use a combination of imaging and recording techniques to explore the neural mechanisms underlying sequence monitoring. Dr. Desrochers uses a sophisticated behavioral task and measures of neural activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with information processing, to isolate key representations of sequence structure and analyze how they guide behavior. A deeper understanding of the neural circuitry underlying sequence monitoring may lead to new treatment targets for diseases and disorders where sequential behaviors are disrupted, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Family-based treatment (FBT) is an efficacious treatment for anorexia nervosa that is typically delivered only in specialty clinic settings. As a result, many families, particularly lower income families and families who experience health disparities, do not have access to FBT. With support from the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research, Andrea Goldschmidt, Ph.D. (Miriam Hospital), plans to conduct a preliminary evaluation of FBT that is adapted for delivery by community-based, non-specialist clinicians in an individual’s home (home-based FBT). Dr. Goldschmidt’s team has designed home-based FBT to meet the needs of families with limited financial resources and multiple caregiving demands. This innovative study has the potential to improve accessibility of FBT for underserved populations with multiple barriers to accessing office-based mental health services.
- An elusive goal in treating HIV is eradication of the virus from central nervous system (CNS) reservoirs. Two critical barriers to achieving this goal are the inability of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and ARV drug-induced neurotoxicity. With support from the NIMH Division of AIDS Research, Santosh Kumar, Ph.D. (University of Tennessee Health Science Center), aims to design and develop targeted and effective ARV drug delivery strategies that target CNS reservoirs. Dr. Kumar plans to use a novel biological nanoparticle delivery system with enhanced BBB permeability to make it easier for ARV drugs packaged in extracellular vesicles to make it to their targets with minimal neurotoxicity. If successful, this drug delivery system has the potential to increase ARV concentrations in the brain, which could help reduce or eliminate HIV from CNS reservoirs.
For more information on these and other grants selected for funding, visit the NIH RePORTER website.
Featured Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) and Initiatives
NIH electronically posts the NIH Guide, a listing of all NIH FOAs, including program announcements and requests for applications, as well as important notices for the scientific community. Below is a description of some types of FOAs and Notices, as well as a selection of “Featured FOAs” in which NIMH participates. The Funding page on the NIMH website also has links to listings of all NIMH FOAs and other resources. Information about the review process can be found on NIH’s Understand Funding Opportunities webpage.
Program Announcements (PAs) are formal statements about new or ongoing extramural activities or programs. NIH may also make funds available through PARs (PAs with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations) and PASs (PAs with set-aside funds). These types of FOAs may serve as a reminder of continuing interest in a research area, describe modifications to an activity or program, and/or invite applications for grant support.
Featured PAs, PARs, or PASs:
- Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (PAR-21-271, PAR-21-272, PAR-21-273)
- The Role of Work in Health Disparities in the U.S. (PAR-21-275)
- Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Equity in Outcomes (PAR-21-283)
- Effectiveness of Implementing Sustainable Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Mental Health Equity for Traditionally Underserved Populations (PAR-21-284)
- Effectiveness of School-Based Health Centers to Advance Health Equity (PAR-21-287)
Notices of Special Interest
Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) have replaced Institute-issued PAs to highlight interest in a research area that does not have set-aside funds or special review criteria or review considerations. NOSIs direct applicants to one or more active FOAs (often parent announcements) for submission of applications for the initiative described.
- Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry and Re-integration into Health-Related Research Careers (NOT-OD-21-134)
- Administrative Supplements for NIMH Grants to Expand Perinatal Mental Health Interventions and Services Research (NOT-MH-21-215)
- Social, Behavioral, and Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Underserved and Vulnerable Populations (NOT-MH-21-330)
Requests for Applications
Requests for Applications (RFAs) are formal statements that solicit grant or cooperative agreement applications in a well-defined scientific area to accomplish specific program objectives. RFAs often list a single receipt date in the announcement and indicate the amount of funds set aside for the RFA in a given fiscal year. Applications in response to RFAs are reviewed using FOA-specific peer review criteria, which usually includes review by a Scientific Review Group specially convened by the awarding component that issued the RFA.
- Mental Health Research Awards for Investigators Early in their Career in Low and Middle-Income Countries (RFA-MH-21-120)
- BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (BICAN): Comprehensive Center on Human and Non-human Primate Brain Cell Atlases (RFA-MH-21-235)
- BICAN: Specialized Collaboratory on Human, Non-human Primate, and Mouse Brain Cell Atlases (RFA-MH-21-236)
- BICAN: Coordinating Unit for Biostatistics, Informatics, and Engagement (CUBIE) (RFA-MH-21-237)
- Prevention of Perinatal Depression: Improving Intervention Delivery for At-Risk Individuals (RFA-MH-21-240, RFA-MH-21-241)
- Deciphering Immune-CNS Interactions in People Living with HIV on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (RFA-MH-21-250, RFA-MH-21-251)
- Autism Centers of Excellence: Networks (RFA-HD-22-007)
- Autism Centers of Excellence: Centers (RFA-HD-22-008)
NIH periodically issues Notices to update or clarify policies. For example, NIH uses Notices to solicit information from the extramural community, such as a request for information (RFI). NIH may also release Notices of Intent to Publish (NOITPs) to alert the grantee community of an upcoming FOA (particularly FOAs that may require coordination by multiple investigators) or if there will be a shorter than normal time from publication of the FOA to the first application receipt date such as with a reissue of an existing FOA. For the most up-to-date list of NIH and NIMH-issued notices, visit the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts website.
- Notice of Information: NIMH High-Priority Areas for Research on Women's Mental Health during the Perinatal Period (NOT-MH-21-270)
- The BRAIN Initiative Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) (NOT-MH-21-310)
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement: Effectiveness and Implementation Research for Post-Acute Interventions to Optimize Long-Term Mental Health Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (NOT-MH-21-340)
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 see the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities section for updates relating to COVID-19.
Future Research Directions
Concept Clearances for Potential New Research Initiatives
This list of concept clearances offers the earliest possible alert to the field of our research interests and potential upcoming funding announcements. 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.
- From Genes to Biology: Scalable Approaches for Biological Characterization of Mental Illness Risk Genes
- Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions to Optimize Adolescent Mental Health Treatments
- Improving Use of Novel HIV Prevention and Treatment Options through Behavioral and Communication Science
- National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium
- NIMH Career Transition Award for Tenure-Track Intramural Investigators
- Research on Late-Life Suicide: Mechanisms and Future Treatment Targets
- Naturalistic Stimuli and Individual Differences Workshop: Between August 2 and September 8, 2021, the NIMH Center for Multimodal Neuroimaging released a series of three videocasts on naturalistic stimuli and individual differences. In the first videocast, presenters discussed theoretical, methodological, and analytical advances in research on naturalistic stimuli and the study of individual differences in neuroimaging. They also highlighted opportunities for collaboration between viewers, NIH researchers, and experts worldwide. Following the presentation, viewers had the opportunity to submit questions for the presenters, which were addressed during the second and third videocasts.
- Back to School: Coping with the Pandemic and Re-Entry Stress: On August 24, 2021, NIMH hosted a live Instagram event on strategies to handle re-entry stress for students who have been in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Krystal Lewis, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist at NIMH, discussed causes or triggers of stress and shared coping techniques to help reduce anxiety and improve the transition back to school.
- Navigating a Neuroscience Career for Scientists of Color: On August 5, 2021, the NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) hosted Damien Fair, Ph.D., an accomplished NIMH grantee with an extensive international network of collaborators, for a webinar on his academic journey. This presentation is part of NIMH’s efforts to support talented investigators from diverse backgrounds who contribute to the mission of transforming research on and treatment of mental illnesses.
- James Jackson Memorial Award Lecture: On July 28, 2021, the NIMH ODWD hosted the inaugural James Jackson Memorial Award winner, Enrique W. Neblett, Jr., Ph.D., for a presentation entitled "Black Mental Health, Mentoring, and Health Equity: A Love Supreme." Dr. Neblett is an expert in the field of racism and health, with a particular focus on understanding how racism-related stress influences the mental and physical health of young Black Americans. His presentation focused on how his current research, mentoring, and community engagement is advancing the fields of mental health disparities and minority mental health.
- Advanced Statistical Methods and Dynamic Data Visualizations for Multidimensional Neuro-Behavioral Data Workshop: On June 28 and June 30, 2021, the NIMH Division of Transitional Research (DTR) and the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science hosted a two-day virtual workshop focused on addressing the role of statistical methods in identifying meaningful effects in large neuro-behavioral samples, administrative data, or social media sources. During the workshop, attendees learned about statistical methods, analytical strategies, and computational perspectives applied to mental health research; discussed the need to boost reliability through reproducible psychiatric and behavioral studies; considered ways to embed dynamic and interactive data visualizations when communicating science; and heard from experts in the field about potential use cases and gaps for dynamic and interactive data visualizations. Further, attendees participated in five interactive tutorial sessions, gaining hands-on experience with these new data visualization tools.
- Strength in the Face of Challenge: Youth Suicide Prevention Research Among the White Mountain Apache and the Navajo Nation in the Time of COVID-19: On June 29, 2021, the NIMH ODWD hosted a webinar focused on NIMH-supported community-based youth suicide prevention research with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health; the White Mountain Apache Tribe; the Navajo Nation; the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; the Hualapai Tribe; the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes; and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, through the Southwest Hub for American Indian Youth Suicide Prevention. NIMH grantees offered a historical perspective on NIMH’s investments with these communities and highlighted advances in developing culturally appropriate suicide prevention interventions.
- Challenges and Innovations in Neonatal and Infant Imaging: A Look Across Modalities: On June 22-23, 2021, the NIMH DTR hosted a two-day virtual meeting (day 1, day 2) focused on current practices and gaps in neonatal and infant neuroimaging. Presenters described their research with various imaging techniques, which sparked discussion about defining image acquisition parameters and cross-modal applications, increasing access to diverse and underserved populations, and selecting rigorous analytic and sampling methods for longitudinal designs. Attendees also discussed best practices for the study of early development and considered strategies to push the field toward better harmonization and cohesiveness.
- Understanding Suicide Risk Among Children and Preteens: A Synthesis Workshop: On June 15 and June 23, 2021, the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) and DTR hosted a synthesis meeting to conclude a series of roundtable discussions on preteen suicide risk and risk trajectories. The meeting included an overview of the previous roundtable discussions and featured a virtual chat between Dr. Gordon and Rachel Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health. Drs. Gordon and Levine discussed how preteen suicide research aligns with NIMH and HHS priorities and programs, and how addressing research gaps may help inform suicide prevention strategies.
- NIMH-Funded Researcher Discusses Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): On June 17, 2021, in recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, NIMH hosted a livestream event featuring NIMH-funded researcher Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., ABPP, an expert on PTSD. Dr. Rothbaum discussed PTSD signs, symptoms, and treatments, as well as the latest research on PTSD. In addition, she discussed some of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for individuals living with PTSD and other mental illnesses.
- Gender Differences in Bipolar Disorder Across the Life Span Through an Intersectional Lens: On June 10, 2021, the NIMH ODWD hosted a webinar on gender differences in bipolar disorder within the context of intersectionality. NIMH-funded researchers discussed their work on customizing combination therapeutic interventions for historically marginalized women and men who are at risk for or living with bipolar disorder.
- Sleep and Suicide Prevention: Advancing Innovation and Intervention Opportunity: On May 26-27, 2021, the NIMH DTR hosted a two-day virtual workshop entitled “Sleep and Suicide Prevention: Advancing Innovation and Intervention Opportunity.” Clinicians, behavioral scientists, epidemiologists, neuroscientists, and public health experts discussed the current state of the science in sleep medicine and suicide prevention, including the role of sleep as a biomarker for suicide risk and how novel treatment targets could advance innovation in suicide prevention.
- Human Mobility and HIV Workshop: On May 24-25, 2021, the NIMH Division of AIDS Research hosted a two-day virtual workshop to better understand the global magnitude and scope of human mobility among people living with HIV or those at risk of acquiring HIV. Researchers, healthcare providers, advocates, and members of the public interested in understanding, preventing, and treating HIV in mobile communities had the opportunity to learn about mental health research and treatment in humanitarian settings, including a comparison of HIV and COVID-19 treatment in these settings. The workshop concluded with a panel of advocates who shared their first-hand experiences with mobile populations.
- Experts Discuss Borderline Personality Disorder: On May 21, 2021, NIMH hosted a livestream event featuring Stephen O’Connor, Ph.D., Chief of the Suicide Prevention Research Program in NIMH DSIR, and two NIMH grantees, Stephanie D. Stepp, Ph.D., and Shireen L. Rizvi, Ph.D., ABPP. Drs. O’Connor, Stepp, and Rizvi discussed the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and the latest research on borderline personality disorder. They also discussed COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges for individuals living with borderline personality disorder and other mental illnesses.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- NIH Policy Changes Described in Presentation for the Public: On May 25, 2021, NIH collaborated with other federal agencies to review recent and upcoming changes to NIH policy, compliance requirements, and more.
- Implementation of Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page: In an effort to support strong collaboration between federal research agencies, NIH has updated its application forms and instructions to ensure applicants and grant recipients provide full transparency and disclosure of all research activities, foreign and domestic (NOT-OD-21-073 and NOT-OD-21-110). The updated biosketch and other support forms are now available for immediate use by applicants and will be required for applications due on or after January 25, 2022. Applicants who have questions about the biosketch and other support templates can submit their questions to email@example.com.
- Expanding Requirement for eRA Commons IDs to All Senior/Key Personnel: While it has always been strongly encouraged that all senior/key personnel obtain eRA Commons IDs, all individuals listed on the Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) form will be required to have an eRA Commons ID, effective for grant application due dates on or after January 25, 2022 (NOT-OD-21-109). Using a unique personnel credential will help funding agencies correctly identify conflicts of interest in peer review.
- Reminder: Required Use of FORMS-F or FORMS-G Application Forms for Application Submission: Applicants are required to submit grant applications using FORMS-F for due dates on or before January 24, 2022 (NOT-OD-21-104). For due dates on or after January 25, 2022, applicants will be required to use FORMS-G (NOT-OD-21-169). The flexibility for using FORMS-E for some extended application windows during the COVID-19 pandemic has expired.
- Upcoming Change in Federal Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) Requirements: In March 2019, the General Services Administration announced that the U.S. Government would be transitioning from the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to a new government-owned UEI in all systems, including Grants.gov and eRA Commons (NOT-OD-19-098). By April 2022, the federal government will stop using the DUNS to uniquely identify entities registered in the System for Award Management (SAM). More information about this transition can be found in NOT-OD-21-170.
NIH-Wide Grant News
- Continuation of Temporary Extension of Eligibility for the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NIH will be extending the eligibility of prospective applicants for a K99/R00 award (NOT-OD-21-106).
- Reminder: NIH Policies Related to Closeout: Grantees should refer to NOT-OD-21-102 for terms and conditions of award related to grant closeout, including deadlines for drawing down funds from the Payment Management System, additional time required for orderly closeout, and reconciling errors.
For more information on all of these updates, please see the NIH eRA News webpage.
Submission 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 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:
- Reflection on 40 Years of HIV/AIDS Research: In this jointly written Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon and Dr. Maureen Goodenow, Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the Office of AIDS Research at the NIH, discuss 40 years of NIMH and NIH support for HIV/AIDS research.
Here is the latest news about NIMH-supported research:
- Anna E. Ordóñez Named Director of NIMH’s Office of Clinical Research (August 24, 2021)
- Eating Disorder Behaviors Alter Reward Response in the Brain (June 30, 2021)
- Acting National Autism Coordinator Named (June 29, 2021)
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.
Explore research advances and ongoing research supported by or conducted at NIMH:
- Partner Violence and Elevated HIV Viral Load in South African Women (September 13, 2021)
- Improved Emotion Regulation in Dialectical Behavior Therapy Reduces Suicide Risk in Youth (September 8, 2021)
- Mapping ‘Imbalance’ in Brain Anatomy Across the Lifespan (June 14, 2021)
- Assessing Suicide Risk Among Childbearing Women in the U.S. Before and After Giving Birth (May 26, 2021)
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