2022 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 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
Please let us know if you have questions or comments on this edition. If you wish to unsubscribe, subscribe, or change your e-mail address, contact the NIMH Webmaster or visit the Inside NIMH subscription page.
NIMH Director’s Updates
This spring, NIMH has been engaged in key strategic planning activities. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we share more about our efforts and also explore NIMH’s portfolio balance and the Institute’s latest efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).
News to Know
- Updating the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research: NIMH uses its Strategic Plan for Research to communicate Institute priorities and help guide mental health research efforts funded by the Institute. To keep pace with ever-evolving scientific approaches and research priorities, NIMH released its annual update to the Strategic Plan on June 2, 2022. Most notably, the updated Plan emphasizes NIMH’s DEIA efforts. To complement this update, the Institute also published the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Strategic Plan Progress Report. The Report highlights significant accomplishments achieved in FY 2021 towards the goals of the Strategic Plan, spanning fundamental science through to public health impact.
- Balancing the NIMH Portfolio: NIMH seeks to support a diverse portfolio that promotes science across a range of timeframes, ensuring maximal impact now and in the future. In a Director’s Message that reflected on his first five years of leadership at NIMH, Dr. Gordon revisited NIMH’s portfolio balance in terms of the proportion of funding going toward research in three areas—fundamental basic research, disease-related basic research, and therapeutics development and services research. These three areas of research correspond to science that aims to have public health impacts in short-, medium-, and longer-term timeframes. Since 2016, there has been a year-over-year relative increase in the proportion of funding going to therapeutics development and services research. This increase has been accompanied by a more modest increase in the proportion of funding going to fundamental basic research, and a decrease in the proportion of funding going to disease-related basic research. The data also indicate that, over the past decade, NIMH’s proportional investment in clinical research is similar to that of NIH overall.
- Outreach Spotlight: Over the last few months, NIMH has shared resources across its social media platforms to support community mental health education, including graphics about the brain during Brain Awareness Week and a brochure during Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. NIMH also promoted resources for Autism Awareness Month and World Bipolar Day. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, NIMH distributed a special issue of Discover NIMH and promoted Mental Health Minute videos, brochures, fact sheets, and infographics. NIMH also participated in several virtual exhibits and events to share mental health resources with the public, providers, and other stakeholders, including at the annual National Museum of Health and Medicine's Brain Awareness Day.
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Updates: On April 13 – 14, 2022, the IACC held a virtual Full Committee Meeting. The Committee discussed Autism Awareness Month, housing programs, communication needs in autism, and Committee business, including the development of the new IACC Strategic Plan and the 2021 Summary of Advances. On April 27, 2022, the NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination hosted a special event for Autism Awareness Month: Animating the Future for Exceptional Minds. The event featured the work of Exceptional Minds, a non-profit organization that prepares neurodiverse young adults for careers in the digital arts and entertainment industry.
- Personalizing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD): TRD is diagnosed after an individual has tried several types of treatment for depression and their symptoms have not improved. DBS, which has been used to treat diseases and disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, may hold promise for people with TRD. NIMH-supported researchers investigated how DBS in an individual with TRD affected activity in areas of the brain that regulate mood. Over the span of an eight-month trial, researchers administered personalized DBS treatments to a participant, who reported steady improvements in mood, remission of symptoms, and improvement in measures of quality of life. While more research is needed before this approach is ready for wider clinical use, the results offer hope that personalized DBS could be used to treat other neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Updates and Announcements from HHS and NIH
- Updates from HHS
- On March 2, 2022, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced a National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health. Building on President Joseph R. Biden’s State of the Union address that detailed a strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans, Secretary Becerra’s Tour is part of an HHS-wide effort to address the national mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary Becerra and HHS officials will engage with local elected officials and leaders to strengthen mental health and crisis care systems in communities.
- On May 25, 2022, Secretary Becerra announced the formal establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) as an independent entity within the NIH. In addition, Secretary Becerra announced that Adam Russell, D.Phil., has been appointed to serve as the agency’s Acting Deputy Director. In this role, Dr. Russell will lead the intensive process to stand up ARPA-H by continuing to build the infrastructure, business processes, and policies to launch the new agency.
- NIH-wide Initiatives
- NIH-wide DEIA Efforts:
- On February 1, 2022, NIH released the draft NIH-wide DEIA Strategic Plan Framework for public comment. The public provided feedback via a Request for Information (RFI). The Framework articulates NIH's priorities in three key areas: implement organizational practices to center and prioritize DEIA in the workforce; grow and sustain DEIA through structural and cultural change; and, advance DEIA through research.
- NIH strives to build biomedical research capacity, expand research, and enhance cultural competency and community engagement through communication and collaboration between NIH and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. On March 17, 2022, NIH issued its new Tribal Consultation Policy, which requires NIH staff to engage in Tribal Consultation before any actions with significant Tribal implications. This policy aims to standardize the NIH process for initiating Consultation and seeking participation by Tribal Representatives in ongoing, proposed, and current policies, programs, and research activities that impact Indian Tribes.
- NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative Strategic Framework: NIMH is proud to be a part of the Executive Committee of the NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative, a cross-cutting NIH effort to reduce health threats from climate change across the lifespan and build health resilience in individuals, communities, and nations around the world. On February 7, 2022, the Initiative released its Strategic Framework, which will guide NIH research on climate change and health that aims to increase the understanding of the complex drivers of adverse health outcomes and enable effective and impactful interventions.
- Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative: On February 3, 2022, the RECOVER Initiative released a publicly available research protocol. The protocol serves to promote consistency in research methods and data analysis across studies. The Initiative also plans to soon release a version of the protocol in plainer language, to serve as an accessible reference guide for a wider audience.
- Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL)® Initiative: On April 11 – 12, 2022, the NIH HEAL Initiative convened its third annual Investigator Meeting, with more than 600 grantees, federal officials, people with lived experience with substance use disorders, and other stakeholders taking part in the virtual event. Attendees learned about recent research findings, explored trends, and identified opportunities to advance the Initiative’s goals. They also discussed a broad range of topics, including innovative technology-based therapies for pain management; community-based integrated solutions for prevention, overdose, and medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder; and, a variety of new approaches for managing pain.
- All of Us Research Program: On March 17, 2022, All of Us released its first genomic dataset of nearly 100,000 whole genome sequences. Access to these data may enable researchers to address currently unanswerable questions about health and disease, leading to breakthroughs and advancing discoveries to reduce persistent health disparities.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative:
- The BRAIN Initiative launched a new transformative project, BRAIN Initiative Connectivity across Scales (BRAIN CONNECTS). This project aims to develop the research capacity and technical capabilities to generate wiring diagrams of the mouse brain to transform understanding of brain circuits. The scientific advances facilitated by connectivity maps may offer unprecedented insight into the human brain in health and disease. Interested researchers can apply via three funding opportunity announcements with initial receipt dates in July 2022 (RFA-NS-22-047; RFA-NS-22-048; RFA-NS-22-049).
- On June 21 – 22, 2022, NIH will host the 8th Annual BRAIN Initiative Meeting: Open Science, New Tools. The goal of the meeting is to continue building the BRAIN community, provide a forum for discussing scientific developments and potential new directions, and identify areas for collaboration and research coordination.
- On March 1 – 2, 2022, the BRAIN Initiative hosted the Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization Workshop. The virtual event convened experts from across diverse research disciplines and stimulated discussion on how to advance a more comprehensive understanding of behavior. This effort aims to support the development and validation of next-generation tools and analytic approaches to quantify behaviors with simultaneously recorded brain activity and data from the physical and social environment.
- NIH Common Fund: On May 16, 2022, the NIH Common Fund hosted the Health Communication Research Workshop. The virtual event brought together key stakeholders from health and science communication research to identify research opportunities and gaps that, if addressed, may lead to more effective communication strategies that promote healthy behavior. Attendees discussed research related to access to, uptake of, and meaningful use of evidence-based health information; health and science literacy; the spread and impact of health-related misinformation; and, the changing information ecosystem characterized by social media and mistrust. In addition, the NIH Common Fund issued a RFI between April 26 – May 27, 2022, to solicit information from the broad community on opportunities and challenges in health and science communication research.
- Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Program - Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ): On May 2, AMP® SCZ launched ampscz.org, a public website to keep clinicians, potential study participants, and the general public apprised of Program news and updates. This website details the goals of the Program, answers frequently asked questions regarding study participation, and provides information on study sites and partners.
- NIH-wide DEIA Efforts:
- NIH Leadership News
- On April 29, 2022, Norman “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., stepped down as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director. During his tenure, Dr. Sharpless fostered a more diverse and collaborative culture in cancer research and championed health equity, having launched NCI’s Equity and Inclusion Program. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, he oversaw the mobilization of NCI’s scientific experts and cutting-edge resources to conduct research on how the virus affects cancer patients, factors that influence disease severity, and the impact of the pandemic on cancer screening. Doug Lowy, M.D., will serve as the Acting Director of NCI while President Biden seeks to appoint a permanent Director.
- FY 2022 Budget: On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (Public Law No. 117-103), providing funds through September 30, 2022. The law provides $2.2 billion to NIMH (amount includes 21st Century Cures Act funding), representing a five percent increase over the FY 2021 appropriation. NIMH anticipates awarding more than 650 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2022, with an estimated success rate of 24 percent as shown in the figure 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, ensuring representation of diverse perspectives, 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 efforts.
- The next figure shows the NIMH budget in appropriated (current) versus constant (FY 2010) 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 2010. NIMH has received several increases in appropriations over the past decade and actual purchasing power has increased 14.5 percent since FY 2010.
- Outlook for FY 2023: On March 28, 2022, the White House released its FY 2023 budget request to Congress. The request for NIH is $63 billion, an increase of $16 billion from the FY 2022 enacted level. The request for NIMH is $2.2 billion, a decrease of $6 million from the recently enacted FY 2022 levels. On May 11, 2022, NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., and leaders from multiple NIH institutes testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) on the FY 2023 Budget Request for the NIH. On May 17, 2022, Dr. Tabak and leaders from multiple NIH institutes, including Dr. Gordon, testified before the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee on the FY 2023 Budget Request for the NIH.
NIMH Staff News and Awards
- NIMH Staff Transitions
- Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., ABPP, will step down from his role as the Director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) on July 2, 2022 to serve as Senior Advisor to the NIMH Director. For more than a decade, Dr. Heinssen led DSIR, focusing on key initiatives aimed at first episode psychosis, suicide prevention, and the rapid implementation of evidence-based services in real-world settings. Effective July 3, 2022, Joel Sherrill, Ph.D., will serve as interim Acting Director for DSIR.
- On May 22, 2022, Joyce Chung, M.D., transitioned from her role as Deputy Clinical Director of the NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) to serve as the NIH Clinical Center Designated Institutional Officer and Executive Director of Graduate Medical Education. During her time as Deputy Clinical Director, Dr. Chung made substantial contributions to mentoring trainees at all levels, as well as designing a comprehensive screening protocol for healthy research volunteers for NIMH IRP clinical studies.
- James Bourne, Ph.D., joined the NIMH IRP as a senior investigator and Chief of the Section on Cellular and Cognitive Neurodevelopment. Dr. Bourne’s research will focus on the development, plasticity, and dysfunction of thalamocortical networks, which are thought to be important in the neuropathology of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and cortical blindness.
- Angela Langdon, Ph.D., joined the NIMH IRP as a tenure-track investigator and Chief of the Unit on Neural Computations in Learning. Dr. Langdon studies computational neuroscience, spanning across multiple species and systems, with a particular interest in aberrant reward learning in mental disorders.
- NIMH Staff Awards
- Victoria Arango, Ph.D., Director of the Central-Peripheral Interactions Pathophysiology Program in the NIMH Division of Translational Research, has been elected President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry for 2023. The Society of Biological Psychiatry seeks to advance its vision of a world where psychiatric disorders are no longer a cause of human suffering by promoting the highest level of excellence in research into the causes, mechanisms, and treatments of psychiatric illnesses.
- Sarah H. Lisanby, M.D., Director of the NIMH Division of Translational Research, has been inducted as a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Distinguished Fellows are nationally recognized for their demonstrated skill in administrative, educational, and clinical settings. They are also noted for volunteering in mental health and medical activities of social significance and involvement in community activities.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
We are proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by our current grantees.
- Election to the National Academy of Engineering (Academy) is one of the highest honors in the field of engineering. In February 2022, the following NIMH grantee was elected to the Academy:
- Guillermo Sapiro, Ph.D. (Duke University)
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.
- As adolescents transition to adulthood, the neural networks that support cognitive function and behavior refine and stabilize. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Sciences, Beatriz Luna, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), aims to characterize this stabilization process for a specific behavior: habit formation. Habits are learned behaviors, formed after repeated exposure to paired actions and outcomes, and adults are better able to quickly form habits than adolescents. Using a combination of behavioral tasks and neural recording techniques in humans, Dr. Luna plans to map changes in habit formation across development to identify how changes in neural systems and neural activity support behavior stabilization throughout adolescence and adulthood. Understanding the typical stabilization process may make it easier to identify aberrant developmental trajectories when they emerge, including those that may lead to the development of mental illnesses.
- Current antiretroviral therapy does not completely eliminate HIV from the nervous system. HIV can lie dormant in brain reservoirs, where its viral DNA becomes integrated into the genetic material of the host cells and perpetuates the replication of HIV variants. With support from the NIMH Division of AIDS Research, Brian Wigdahl, Ph.D. (Drexel University), aims to extend our understanding of how gene editing, a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, or replaced in the genome of a living organism, can be optimized to better target HIV variants. Dr. Wigdahl plans to utilize novel high-throughput biologic approaches combined with state-of-the-art computational methods to expand what is known about how enzymes edit DNA targets. This research offers promise for better control of HIV replication in the nervous system and could provide a highly effective treatment strategy for using gene editing as a potential cure for HIV infection and other diseases.
- Millions of individuals across the world have been forcibly displaced, with numbers expected to continue to rise given projections in global conditions. Forcibly displaced individuals are at increased risk for developing mental disorders. With support from the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research, Haley Carroll, Ph.D. (Boston Medical Center), aims to use implementation science to examine factors that influence treatment seeking and retention among forcibly displaced Venezuelans living in Peru. Dr. Carroll seeks to adapt and leverage a common elements and treatment approach, a transdiagnostic intervention, with Venezuelan migrants at risk for common mental disorders. The investigator aims to examine the Venezuelan migration to Peru as one case example of forced displacement to better understand factors that facilitate effective mental health care interventions in resource-limited settings.
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 in 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:
- Mood and Psychosis Symptoms During the Menopause Transition (PAR-22-035, PAR-22-036)
- Neuromodulation/Neurostimulation Device Development for Mental Health Applications (PAR-22-038, PAR-22-039)
- Innovative Pilot Mental Health Services Research Not Involving Clinical Trials (PAR-22-082)
- Urgent Award: COVID-19 Mental Health Research (PAR-22-112, PAR-22-113)
- Implementation Research to Reduce Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Burden in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (PAR-22-132)
- Accelerating the Pace of Child Health Research Using Existing Data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (PAR-22-137, PAR-22-138)
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.
- Dissemination and Implementation Research to Advance Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Preventive Interventions in School Settings (NOT-AT-22-004)
- Climate Change and Health (NOT-ES-22-006)
- Assessment of Suicide Thoughts and Behaviors Among Children and Preteens (NOT-MH-22-086)
- Neuro-Glia Mechanisms Governing Complex Behaviors (NOT-MH-22-090)
- NIMH Priorities on Research on Aggression and Violence Against Others (NOT-MH-22-095)
- COVID-19 Pandemic Mental Health Research (NOT-MH-22-100)
- Priority Research Opportunities in Crisis Response Services (NOT-MH-22-110)
- IMPROVE Initiative: Implementation Science to Advance Maternal Health and Maternal Health Equity (NOT-OD-22-125)
- Research Using Implementation Science to Support the Delivery of Evidence-Based Practices in Community-Based Mental or General Medical Healthcare Settings (NOT-MH-22-170)
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.
- Scalable and Systematic Neurobiology of Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Risk Genes (RFA-MH-22-110, RFA-MH-22-111)
- Pilot Practice-Based Research for Primary Care Suicide Prevention (RFA-MH-22-120)
- Integrating Mental Health Care into Health Care Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (RFA-MH-22-130)
- Social Disconnection and Suicide Risk in Late Life (RFA-MH-22-135, RFA-MH-22-136)
- Understanding Suicide Risk and Protective Factors Among Black Youth (RFA-MH-22-140; RFA-MH-22-141)
- Using Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions to Optimize Established Adolescent Mental Health Treatments (RFA-MH-22-150)
- Expanding Prevention Strategies for Mental Disorders in Mobile Populations in Humanitarian Crises (RFA-MH-22-180)
- Addressing Mental Health Disparities Research Gaps: Aggregating and Mining Existing Data Sets for Secondary Analyses (RFA-MH-22-200)
- Understanding the Role of Gut Immune Dysfunction and Gut Microbiome in Pathogenesis of Central Nervous System Co-morbidities in People Living with HIV (RFA-MH-22-230)
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 Change to NIH’s Policy on Special Council Review of Research Applications (NOT-OD-22-049)
- Updated Requirements for NIH Notification or Removal or Disciplinary Action Involving Program Directors/Principal Investigators or other Senior/Key Personnel (NOT-OD-22-129)
- Modifications to the NIMH Special Council Review Procedures (NOT-MH-22-190)
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.
- Expanding Collaborative Implementation Science for the End of the Epidemic National Plan
- Improving Mental Health of Mobile Populations through Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Implementation Approaches
- Innovative Mental Health Services Research Not Involving Clinical Trials
- NIMH Faculty Development Award to Promote Diversity in Mental Health Research
- Novel Assays to Address Translational Gaps in Treatment Development
- Understanding Developmental Processes in Youth Suicide
- Implementing Radical Healing Strategies to Promote Health Equity: On May 3, 2022, the NIMH Division of Extramural Affairs (DEA) hosted Helen A. Neville, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual seminar, Dr. Neville discussed the radical healing framework, a theoretical model which incorporates individual and collective aspects of health and wellness within the context of oppression. Dr. Neville also presented five public policy implications to promote mental health equity, particularly among Black Americans.
- The 13th Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium: On April 20, 2022, NIMH hosted the 13th Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium. The virtual Symposium honored the memory of Julius Axelrod, Ph.D., who was an investigator in the NIMH Intramural Research Programs (IRP) and a Nobel Laureate. The 2021 Society for Neuroscience Axelrod Prize recipient, David Ginty, Ph.D., and 2022 NIMH IRP Fellow Axelrod Award Recipient, Susan Wardle, Ph.D., presented their award-winning work.
- NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research (CGMHR) Webinar Series: Throughout the year, CGMHR is offering a series of webinars to increase researchers’ knowledge about NIH structure and grant processes to enhance capacity in global mental health research. On April 14, 2022, the CGMHR hosted its first event, Submission and Peer Review of NIH Grant Applications, to discuss the process of preparing and submitting grant applications to the NIH, as well as how applications are processed and evaluated through peer review. On May 13, 2022, the CGMHR hosted its second webinar, Grants Management: Pre-Award, which provided an overview of the grants management process, including roles and responsibilities of different NIMH officials, and important milestones.
- Beyond FDA Approval: Assessing the Value of New Health Technologies: On March 8, 2022, the NIMH DEA hosted Foluso Agboola, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Vice President of Research at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual presentation, Dr. Agboola provided a brief background on ICER and described the conceptual framework that guides the development of ICER reports. Using ICER’s review of esketamine for treatment-resistant depression as a case study, Dr. Agboola and provided examples of how the organization’s work is applied in the real world.
- Live Q&A: Mental Health and Older Adults: On March 1, 2022, NIMH collaborated with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the NIH National Institute of Aging to conduct the Mental Health and Older Adults Facebook Live Q&A to address common concerns among older adults and tips to improve overall mental health. Subject matter experts discussed mental and emotional wellness in later life, signs and symptoms of depression, and strategies to maintain and improve mental health.
- Stress Less: Healthy Relaxation for #OurHearts Facebook Live Event: On February 25, 2022, in recognition of American Hearth Month, NIMH partnered with the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to host Stress Less: Healthy Relaxation for #OurHearts Facebook Live Event. Speakers discussed methods to protect heart health, with a focus on stress management and reduction strategies. They demonstrated ways to reduce stress and activate the body’s relaxation response.
- Cancer Control in the 21st Century with an Emphasis on Risk Reduction: On February 22, 2022, the NIMH DEA hosted Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In his virtual seminar, Dr. Brawley discussed cancer incidence and mortality trends in populations defined by race, socioeconomic status, area of residence, as well as how the future of cancer control could be achieved through increased attention to health behavior.
- Biotypes of Central Nervous System Complications in People Living with HIV: On February 17, 2022, the NIMH Division of AIDS Research hosted a virtual meeting to bring together leading experts in the NeuroHIV field. The attendees discussed ways to identify common measures and methods to harmonize large amounts of neuropsychiatric, neuroimaging, and biomarker data collected from people living with HIV. They also considered how to integrate the data collected on virus-related measures, social/structural factors, anti-retroviral medications, and comorbidities that can influence central nervous system outcomes.
- Nonaffective Psychosis in Midlife and Beyond: On February 9 – 10, 2022, the NIMH Division of Translational Research hosted a virtual workshop to share the latest findings, challenges, and opportunities for transformative research in nonaffective psychosis in mid- to late-life populations. Participants discussed current research efforts in cognition, regulatory/metabolic processes, accelerated aging, and treatment targets.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- Reminder: Required Use of FORMS-G Application Forms for Application Submission: Effective January 25, 2022, applicants are now required to use FORMS-G (NOT-OD-22-018). Instructions and significant changes to form instructions are available for applicant reference.
NIH-wide Grant News
- NIH Data Sharing Website: On April 6, 2022, NIH launched a Scientific Data Sharing website as a resource for grantees and researchers. This portal provides information on NIH-wide and Institute- and Center-specific sharing policies and data repositories that can be easily sorted and searched. In the coming months, NIH plans to feature sample sharing plans, provide data sharing considerations for individuals developing project budgets, and answer frequently asked questions.
- Clarification and Guidance for Applicants Preparing Applications for the Summer 2022 Due Dates During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The purpose of this notice (NOT-OD-22-112) is to extend guidance for individuals preparing applications during the COVID-19 pandemic (previously described in NOT-OD-22-046). Applicants should not include COVID-19-related contingency or recovery plans in their applications, as peer reviewers will not consider them; however, the NIH has clarified that investigators may, in the personal statement of the biosketch, address the effects of the pandemic on productivity or other scoreable issues.
- Extending the Special Exception to the Post-Submission Material Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Due to COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions, NIH, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will be extending the special exception for post-submission material to applications submitted for the August/October 2022 Council rounds (NOT-OD-22-047).
- FY 2022 Updated Guidance: Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research: In an updated policy, NIH, AHRQ, and Health Resources and Services Administration outline new recommendations for research training, career development, research education, and dissertation research grants. The policy offers details on the format, frequency, and timing of instruction in the responsible conduct of research and suggests additional topics for consideration (NOT-OD-22-055).
For more information on all of these updates, please see the NIH eRA News 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:
- COVID-19 Risks for People with Serious Mental Illness (May 19, 2022): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon highlights the increased health risks associated with COVID-19 for people with serious mental illness.
- Research Along the Autism Spectrum: Diverse Research to Meet Diverse Needs (April 27, 2022): In this message for Autism Awareness Month, Dr. Gordon highlights the importance of a research portfolio that addresses the full spectrum of needs of individuals with autism, across the lifespan.
- Balancing the NIMH Portfolio (March 9, 2022): In this Director’s message, Dr. Gordon takes a look at NIMH’s portfolio balance, to see where we have come from and where we are headed.
Here is the latest news about NIMH-supported research:
- National Contest Encourages High School Students to Write Short Essays Exploring Mental Health (March 15, 2022)
- Clinical Decision Support System Reduces Cardiovascular Risk in Patients with Serious Mental Illness (March 8, 2022)
- Women’s Experiences of Sexual Assault and Harassment Linked with High Blood Pressure (February 22, 2022)
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:
- Study Shows REACH VET Program Effective for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide (May 16, 2022)
- Mindful Mood Balance Effective for Treating Residual Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation (May 9, 2022)
- Multistage Autism Screening in Early Intervention Settings May Reduce Disparities (April 21, 2022)
- Tool Uses Light to Inhibit Neural Activity in Mice (April 6, 2022)
- New Approach Allows Magnetic Brain Stimulation to Target Deep Brain Structures (March 25, 2022)
- Autism and Congenital Heart Disease Share Underlying Molecular Network (March 17, 2022)
- Personalizing Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression (February 28, 2022)
- Machine Learning Study Sheds Light on Gaze Patterns in Adults with Autism (February 11, 2022)
Connect with NIMH
Sign up for the latest mental health news, research advances, upcoming events, publications, clinical trials, meeting summaries, and more. In addition to our email newsletters and RSS updates, please also visit NIMH on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, where we highlight science news, scientific meetings and events, funding and training opportunities, and other timely information.
Inside NIMH is produced by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about the Institute, visit our website at https://www.nimh.nih.gov. For comments and suggestions about Inside NIMH, please contact the NIMH Webmaster. The material in this newsletter is not copyrighted, and we encourage its use or reprinting.