2023 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
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This spring, NIMH staff have been engaged in the annual update and refinement of the institute’s Strategic Plan for Research, as well as preparing to celebrate the institute’s 75th anniversary. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we share more about the federal government’s transition out of the COVID-19 public health emergency and NIH’s efforts to evaluate the state of postdoctoral research training and career progression infrastructure in biomedical research.
News to Know
- White House Report on Mental Health Research Priorities: On February 7, 2023, the White House released a report on Mental Health Research Priorities, which outlines administration-wide needs and opportunities to advance mental health research. Areas of emphasis include addressing mental health inequities, understanding and leveraging digital mental health interventions, and supporting and expanding the mental health workforce. This report highlights several NIMH-supported research initiatives, including the Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET), the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative, the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Program - Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ), and the Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness Research Centers (ALACRITY) program.
- NIMH Prepares to Celebrate its 75th Anniversary: Starting in September 2023, NIMH will celebrate 75 years of transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses. Mark your calendars for the kick-off event, Evolution of Mental Health Research, on September 13, 2023. This hybrid event will explore key advances in mental health research over the past 75 years. Learn about current cutting-edge research supported by NIMH and hear visionaries discuss future innovations. Subscribe to our email updates and follow us on social media to stay up to date about NIMH’s 75th Anniversary.
- 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 May 10, 2023. Most notably, the updated Plan emphasizes NIMH’s commitment to funding research that aims to reduce mental health disparities and promote health equity. As such, in the updated Plan, Goal 2 expands on the institute’s support for research studying the impact of social determinants of health on mental illness trajectories. In addition, NIMH changed the title of Goal 4 to “Advance Mental Health Services to Strengthen Public Health” to better align with the research objectives outlined in that Goal. To complement the annual Strategic Plan update, the institute also published the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Strategic Plan Progress Report. The Report highlights significant accomplishments achieved in FY22 toward the goals of the Strategic Plan, spanning fundamental science through public health impact.
- Expanding Diversity of Perspectives in Peer Review: The NIMH peer review process aims to ensure that grant applications submitted are evaluated by scientific experts in a fair, equitable, and timely manner free from inappropriate influences. To support high quality mental health research, NIMH recognizes the need for diverse perspectives and inclusive peer review committees. NIMH seeks to expand its available pool of peer reviewers by inviting qualified researchers to register to be considered to serve as a potential reviewer.
- Outreach Spotlight: Over the last few months, NIMH shared resources and hosted events supporting several observances, including National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Brain Awareness Week, World Bipolar Day, and National Autism Awareness Month. In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, NIMH shared a new grantee spotlight for its Women Leading Mental Health Research campaign, which highlights women who are early-career scientists conducting NIMH-funded research. And, in appreciation of National Mental Health Awareness Month, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on schizophrenia on May 4, 2023, with NIMH staff experts Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., ABPP, and Sarah Morris, Ph.D.
Updates and Announcements from HHS and NIH
- HHS COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Transition Roadmap: Based on current COVID-19 trends, the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 expired on May 11, 2023. On February 9, 2023, HHS published a Transition Roadmap detailing COVID-19 policies and flexibilities that are impacted now that the PHE has ended. The Roadmap also outlines provisions that are generally not affected by the transition from PHE status, including telehealth flexibilities for those participating in Medicare or Medicaid and access to COVID-19 vaccinations and certain treatments.
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC): The IACC is a federal advisory committee that coordinates federal efforts and provides advice to the Secretary of HHS on issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). On April 4, 2023, the IACC held a virtual Full Committee Meeting. The Committee discussed ASD prevalence updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in ASD. In addition, on April 14, 2023, NIMH and the Office of Autism Research Coordination hosted their 10th Annual Autism Awareness Month Special Event, A Portrait of Autism: Artists and Their Works. The event featured four artists who discussed how their experiences as autistic individuals have shaped their artistic expression.
- NIH-Wide Initiatives
- NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) for FY23–27: On March 20, 2023, NIH released its Strategic Plan for DEIA, which captures activities that NIH will undertake to meet its DEIA vision, and will be organized around accomplishments, needs, opportunities, and challenges in addressing DEIA in the NIH workforce, its structure and culture, and the research it supports. Across all priorities, NIH emphasizes three crosscutting themes: promoting transparency, communication, and engagement; fostering sustainable change; and harnessing data. The plan will guide actions across the agency in a transparent and accountable manner to achieve NIH’s vision of being a people-centered organization where all staff feel a sense of belonging when advancing the NIH mission.
- NIH Institutional Excellence in DEIA Prize Competition: On April 4, 2023, NIH launched a prize competition to award up to 10 prizes of $100,000 each to U.S. biomedical, social, and behavioral science institutions with transformative solutions that create cultures of inclusive excellence. The prize competition will also identify practices for enhancing DEIA among faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and student bodies that can be disseminated for adoption by other institutions. The NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity is administering the prize competition in collaboration with the NIH UNITE initiative and 24 institutes and centers across NIH, including NIMH.
- Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Program - Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ): Managed by the Foundation for NIH (FNIH), the AMP SCZ program is a public-private partnership between NIMH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency, and multiple public and private organizations. As of May 9, 2023, researchers involved in the AMP SCZ program have enrolled 495 research study participants across 33 study sites. Of these participants, 325 have completed screening and are in baseline assessment or months 1–8 of the 24-month long study protocol. More information can be found on the program’s website, including the goals of the program, answers to frequently asked questions regarding study participation, and information on study sites and partners.
- All of Us Research Program: The All of Us Research Program seeks to collect health data from one million or more individuals in the United States to accelerate research that may improve health. On March 29–31, 2023, All of Us hosted a virtual Researchers Convention to provide an opportunity for researchers who use All of Us data and tools to showcase their work. The meeting also included networking opportunities, poster presentations, and sessions on mentorship and the current state of science.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative: The BRAIN Initiative® seeks to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain. On June 12–13, 2023, NIH will host the 9th Annual BRAIN Initiative Meeting: Open Science, New Tools. The goal of the meeting is to continue building the BRAIN Initiative community, provide a forum for discussing scientific developments and potential new directions, and identify areas for collaboration and research coordination.
- NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative: Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to human health, with direct and indirect health effects, including mental health impacts. NIMH is proud to be a part of the Executive Committee of the NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative, a cross-cutting NIH-wide effort to reduce health threats from climate change across the lifespan and build health resilience in individuals, communities, and nations around the world. NIMH is participating in a funding opportunity to solicit applications for Climate Change and Health Research Centers (RFA-ES-23-007). This opportunity aims to support the development of new research teams who will collaborate with communities and other partners to advance health effects research, health equity, intervention research, and training and capacity building.
- Postdoctoral Research Training and Career Progression: NIH seeks to evaluate the status of the postdoctoral training process and better understand fundamental issues affecting career progression. Toward this end, NIH established an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) working group to explore postdoctoral training in the research community, identify and understand critical factors and issues relating to the decline in the number of postdoctoral trainees, and provide recommendations that address those factors to NIH leadership. In addition, NIH hosted four public virtual listening sessions in March 2023 for the research community to provide input on opportunities, challenges, and needs to support the postdoctoral training system.
- NIH Leadership News
- On May 15, 2023, President Biden announced his intention to appoint Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., to be the 17th Director of NIH. Dr. Bertagnolli began serving as the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in October 2022. Appointment to the position of NIH Director requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Until the position is confirmed, Dr. Bertagnolli will remain the Director of NCI, and Dr. Tabak will continue performing the duties of the NIH Director.
- On May 6, 2023, Carrie Wolinetz, Ph.D., stepped down from her role as Senior Advisor in the NIH Office of the Director. During her time at NIH, Dr. Wolinetz oversaw policy and regulatory reform related to clinical trials to improve accountability and transparency; revised human participant protections to improve ethical and equitable conduct; guided development of biosecurity and biosafety policy to balance the benefits of life science research while mitigating risk; and led the release of data sharing and management policies to accelerate biomedical discovery and improve rigor.
- On April 24, 2023, Karina Walters, Ph.D., M.S.W., was named Director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office. Dr. Walters will work to advance initiatives to ensure tribally informed biomedical and behavioral research, enhance NIH’s tribal consultation and tribal engagement efforts, and coordinate American Indian/Alaska Native research and research-related activities across NIH and with other federal entities. She succeeds David Wilson, Ph.D., who is on assignment to the White House Council on Native American Affairs.
- On March 26, 2023, Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., transitioned from her role as NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR) to a new role as Senior Advisor in the NIH Office of the Director. Dr. Goodenow led OAR for nearly seven years and was the first woman to serve in the position since its establishment in 1988. Bill G. Kapogiannis, M.D., FIDSA, an NIH leader in HIV research for nearly 18 years, will serve as Acting NIH Associate Director of AIDS Research and Acting Director of OAR while a nationwide search for a new director is conducted.
- On February 25, 2023, Adrienne Hallett stepped down from her position as the Associate Director for the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA). For eight years, she led NIH’s engagement with both chambers of Congress. Ms. Hallett was an integral advisor to the NIH Director and senior leaders as NIH worked to implement new sexual harassment reporting requirements and patient confidentiality standards and address structural racism in the biomedical research enterprise. Lauren Higgins, OLPA Deputy Director, is serving as Acting Associate Director.
- FY23 Budget: On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (Public Law No. 117-328), providing funds through September 30, 2023. The law provides $2.3 billion for NIMH, an increase of 5.5% over the FY22 appropriation. NIMH anticipates awarding more than 600 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY23, with an estimated success rate of 22%, 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 figure below shows the NIMH budget in appropriated (current) versus constant (FY10) 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 FY10. Adjusting for inflation, NIMH has received sustained increases over the past seven fiscal years. NIMH has received several increases in appropriation over the past decade and actual purchasing power has increased 17.7% since FY10.
- Outlook for FY24: On March 9, 2023, the White House released its FY24 budget request to Congress. The discretionary request for NIH is $48.6 billion, an increase of $920 million over the FY23 enacted level. The request for NIMH is $2.5 billion, an increase of $200 million over the FY23 enacted level. The request includes $25 million in funding to support research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health; $20 million to increase research on the impacts of social media on mental health; $50 million to support the Precision Psychiatry Initiative; and $130 million to accelerate the development of better diagnostics, improve treatments, and enhance the precision of mental health care. On April 19, 2023, Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., performing the duties of the NIH Director, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) on the FY24 Budget Request for NIH. On May 4, 2023, Dr. Tabak and leaders from multiple NIH institutes, including Dr. Gordon, testified before the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee on the FY24 Budget Request for the NIH.
NIMH Staff News and Awards
- Staff News
- Mary Rooney, Ph.D., has been appointed as the NIMH Associate Director of Prevention. Dr. Rooney joined NIMH in 2017 as a Program Officer in the Division of Services and Intervention Research. During her tenure at NIMH, she has managed the Child and Adolescent Psychosocial Interventions Research Program and the Perinatal Psychosocial Interventions Research Program, while shaping the institute’s emerging priorities in preteen suicide prevention research.
- Legacy News
- We are sad to announce the passing of Barry Kaplan, Ph.D., in April 2023. Dr. Kaplan recently retired from NIMH after serving as a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) Section on Neurobiology. He also served as the Director for Fellowship Training from 1997 until 2013. Dr. Kaplan conducted pioneering work on local synthesis of nuclear-encoded mitochondria proteins, which helped establish the concept of intra-axonal protein synthesis.
- We are sad to announce the passing of Editha Nottelmann, Ph.D., in April 2023. Dr. Nottelmann, former Chief of the Affective and Regulatory Disorders Branch in the Division of Developmental Translational Research, retired in April 2008 after almost 28 years of service to NIMH in both the Extramural and Intramural Research Programs. Among many achievements, Dr. Nottelmann provided leadership in developing the NIMH research portfolio on bipolar disorder in children and adolescents and served as a mentor to many emerging researchers.
- Staff Awards
- Karen Berman, M.D., Senior Investigator and Chief of the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch, the Section on Integrative Neuroimaging, and the Psychosis and Cognitive Studies Section in the NIMH IRP, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This honor is reserved for AAAS members whose efforts to advance science or its application have distinguished them among their peers. Dr. Berman’s election recognizes her research using multimodal neuroimaging to bridge the gap between mechanisms of brain dysfunction and the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
We are proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by some of our current grantees.
- 2022 Eric Taylor ‘Translational Research into Practice’ Award, Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
- David Brent, M.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
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 achieve the research goals outlined in the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research.
- Kinases are a type of enzyme that help regulate cellular activity. Genetic studies have revealed that kinase signaling is critical for brain development and function. When kinase signaling is disrupted, neurodevelopmental disorders can emerge. For example, genetic mutations in the thousand-and-one amino acid kinase 1 (TAOK1) are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders, yet little is known about the molecular and cellular function of TAOK1 in the developing brain. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, Smita Yadav, Ph.D. (University of Washington), plans to combine stem cell technology, genome editing, proteomics, and microscopy to further understand the mechanisms by which TAOK1 mediates neuronal development and determine how altered TAOK1 function and signaling contributes to neurodevelopmental disorders. This research could help identify novel therapeutic targets.
- Auditory hallucinations (hearing voices or noises without an external source) associated with schizophrenia can be persistent, debilitating, and difficult to treat. Auditory hallucinations may be rooted in altered brain activity in regions that control auditory function. With support from the NIMH Division of Translational Research, Brian Coffman, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), aims to further develop Auditory Control Enhancement (ACE), an intervention that combines psychotherapeutic behavioral training with targeted, non-invasive brain stimulation. Dr. Coffman plans to examine the effects of ACE on brain regions associated with cognitive control using a variety of measures, including assessment of brain stimulation-induced changes in the measured magnetic field, the blood oxygenation level dependent response, cerebral blood flow, and electrophysiological measures. This research may provide preliminary data that can support future effectiveness trials of ACE as a novel combination therapeutic approach, with the potential to improve outcomes for individuals with treatment-resistant auditory hallucinations.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and well-being of the nation and worsened existing health disparities for disproportionately affected groups. Furthermore, socioeconomic inequities may contribute to disparities in COVID-19-related mental health outcomes. With support from the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research, Rita Hamad, M.D., Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco), seeks to compile a county-level dataset to examine whether COVID-19-related public health and social policies (e.g., school closures, housing support, paid sick leave) affected disparities in mental health and health care utilization and aims to determine which policies contributed to or ameliorated pandemic-related disparities in mental health and health behaviors. This research offers the potential to inform policies and interventions to reduce mental health disparities in vulnerable communities.
- Although antiretroviral therapy has led to significant virologic suppression of HIV, it does not completely remove the virus from the nervous system. HIV can lie dormant within brain reservoirs for many years, where it can integrate into the genome of the host’s cells. As a result, HIV can continue to produce viral proteins, damage brain cells, and cause cognitive impairment. With support from the NIMH Division of AIDS Research, Namita Rout, Ph.D. (Tulane University), seeks to modify T-cells (immune cells) by adding a chimeric antigen receptor, which can help T-cells target and attack HIV in reservoirs within the central nervous system. This research may generate new insights for immunotherapy treatments that remove or suppress HIV reservoirs in the brain.
For more information on these and other grants selected for funding, visit the NIH RePORTER website.
Featured Funding Opportunities and Initiatives
NIH is joining other federal agencies in using the term Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) rather than Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). This is simply a change in nomenclature and does not represent any change in policy. For more information, see Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities.
NIH electronically posts in the NIH Guide a listing of all NIH NOFOs, including program announcements and requests for applications, as well as important notices for the scientific community. Below is a description of some types of NOFOs and Notices, as well as a selection of “Featured Funding Opportunities” in which NIMH participates. The Funding page on the NIMH website also has links to listings of all NIMH NOFOs 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 NOFOs 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:
- Innovations to Optimize HIV Prevention and Care Continuum Outcomes (PAR-23-061, PAR-23-062)
- Novel Assays to Address Translational Gaps in Treatment Development (PAR-23-087)
- Effectiveness of Implementing Sustainable Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Mental Health Equity for Traditionally Underserved Populations (PAR-23-092)
- Utilizing Invasive Recording and Stimulating Opportunities in Humans to Advance Neural Circuitry Understanding of Mental Health Disorders (PAR-23-101)
- Mood and Psychosis Symptoms During the Menopause Transition (PAR-23-102)
- Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Equity in Outcomes (PAR-23-103)
- Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) (PAR-23-122)
- NIH Science Education Partnership Award (PAR-23-137)
- Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions (PAR-23-138)
- STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG): Structured Institutional Needs Assessment and Action Plan Development for Resource Limited Institutions (PAR-23-144)
- NIMH Research Education Programs for Psychiatry Residents (PAR-23-266)
Notices of Special Interest
Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) 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 NOFOs (often parent announcements) for submission of applications for the initiative described.
- Explainable Artificial Intelligence for Decoding and Modulating Neural Circuit Activity Linked to Behavior (NOT-MH-23-110)
- The Neural Mechanisms of Multi-Dimensional Emotional and Social Representation (NOT-MH-23-120)
- NIMH Planning Grants for Natural History Studies of Rare Genetic Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NOT-MH-23-235)
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 NOFO-specific peer review criteria, which usually includes review by a Scientific Review Group specially convened by the awarding component that issued the RFA.
- Exploratory Grants for Climate Change and Health Research Center Development (RFA-ES-23-007)
- Individually Measured Phenotypes to Advance Computational Translation in Mental Health (IMPACT-MH) (RFA-MH-23-105, RFA-MH-23-106)
- Effectiveness and Implementation Research for Post-Acute Interventions to Optimize Long-Term Mental Health Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (RFA-MH-23-140)
- Suicide Prevention Across the Life Span in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (RFA-MH-23-260)
- Developing Measures to Advance Quality in Mental Health Care Services (RFA-MH-23-265)
- Using Secondary Data Analysis to Determine Whether Preventive Interventions Implemented Earlier in Life Reduce Suicide Risk (RFA-MH-23-275)
- Developing Measures to Advance Access and Quality in Global Mental Health Services (RFA-MH-23-300)
- BRAIN Initiative: Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization (RFA-MH-23-335)
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 NOFO (particularly NOFOs that may require coordination by multiple investigators) or if there will be a shorter than normal time from publication of the NOFO to the first application receipt date (such as with a reissue of an existing NOFO). For the most up-to-date list of NIH and NIMH-issued notices, visit the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts website.
- NOITP: NIH Blueprint and BRAIN Initiative Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (BP BRAIN-ENDURE) (NOT-NS-23-048)
- Updates to Funding Opportunity Terminology (NOT-OD-23-109)
- NOITP: Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Clinical Trial Network (NOT-MH-23-160)
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.
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 NOFOs may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects.
- Mechanisms of Reciprocal Interactions Between HIV Associated Neuroinflammation and Central Nervous System (CNS) Persistence: Implications in HIV Neuropathogenesis and Cure
- Novel Approaches to Understanding the Mechanisms of the Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and Advancing Therapy Development
For more information about concept clearances, please see recent NAMHC-approved concepts. To send questions about a specific concept, reach out to NIMHinitiatives@mail.nih.gov.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Workshop: On May 2–3, 2023, as a part of the BRAIN Initiative’s Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization Program, NIMH conducted a workshop on sensor technologies to improve the understanding of complex behavior. The hybrid event brought together a diverse group of scientists and innovators to discuss the types and fabrication of sensors and sensing networks, as well as the integration of sensor information with other data streams. The workshop also featured experiments and information on the development of computational models.
- Research, Practice, and Data Informed Investigations of Child and Youth Suicide: On April 25–26, 2023, NIMH hosted a virtual workshop to highlight past, current, and future research on child and youth suicide, as well as the methods used to investigate and certify deaths by suicide. Participants discussed how child and youth suicide research, death investigation and certification practices, and additional data collected by local and state-based surveillance and reporting teams could create a feedback loop that informs efforts to determine, assess, and ultimately mitigate deaths by suicide in children and youth.
- The 14th Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium: On April 14, 2023, NIMH hosted the 14th Annual Julius Axelrod Symposium. The Symposium honored the memory of Julius Axelrod, Ph.D., who was an investigator in the NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) and a Nobel Laureate. The 2022 Society for Neuroscience Axelrod Prize recipient, Marina Wolf, Ph.D., professor of behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, and Mike Michaelides, Ph.D., an IRP investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, presented their research.
- The Kappa Therapeutics Conference: On March 29–30, 2023, NIMH hosted the 7th conference on the Therapeutic Potential of Kappa Opioids in Pain and Addiction. The conference series is designed to advance medication development by bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines. Attendees included medicinal chemists who are developing novel medications; molecular pharmacologists studying structural features of the kappa opioid receptor and functional selectivity in receptor signaling; behavioral pharmacologists identifying effects of kappa opioids in model organisms; systems neuroscientists identifying the actions of kappa opioids on the neural circuit; brain imaging researchers studying kappa drug effects in humans; and clinical researchers conducting trials to establish drug efficacy in humans. Participants attended oral sessions and poster presentations and celebrated the recipients of the 2023 Young Investigator Awards.
- Bipolar Disorder in Adults: On March 30, 2023, in recognition of World Bipolar Day, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on bipolar disorder in adults, featuring Francis McMahon, M.D., Chief of the NIMH IRP Human Genetics Branch, and Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., Chief of the NIMH IRP Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch. Drs. McMahon and Merikangas led a discussion on the signs, symptoms, risk factors, and treatments for bipolar disorder, as well as the latest NIMH-supported research in this area.
- NIMH IRP Training Opportunities: On March 7, 2023, the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training hosted a virtual information session on training opportunities in the NIMH IRP. The session highlighted training programs for undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral fellows. Participants learned about research conducted in IRP laboratories and had the opportunity to network with current NIMH trainees.
- The Opioid Crisis: Disrupting the Status Quo with the HEALing Communities Study (HCS): On February 14, 2023, the NIMH Division of Extramural Activities hosted Sharon Walsh, Ph.D., director of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research and professor of behavioral science, psychiatry, pharmacology, and pharmaceutical sciences in the Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual seminar, Dr. Walsh discussed how the HCS is testing the prevention and treatment of opioid misuse in select communities impacted by the opioid crisis. Dr. Walsh highlighted how the HCS has begun to expand access to evidence-based care, improve data availability and timeliness, address social determinants of health, reduce stigma through public health communications campaigns, and modify relevant policies.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- Revised Post-Submission Material Policy: In response to the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023, NIH has revised its special exception for post-submission material (NOT-OD-23-106). For applications submitted for the May 25, 2023 receipt date and beyond, NIH, the Agency for Health Research and Quality, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will accept a one-page update with preliminary data as post-submission material for Type 1 R01, R21, or R03 applications, including resubmissions, if the funding announcement used for submission allows preliminary data in the application. Because applications for emergency competitive revisions and urgent competitive revisions undergo expedited review, post-submission materials will not be accepted for those applications.
NIH-Wide Grant News
- Terminology Changes to NIH Funding Announcements: Effective April 10, 2023, in an effort to standardize terminology across the federal government, NIH is joining other agencies in using the term “Notices of Funding Opportunities” (NOFOs) rather than “Funding Opportunity Announcements” (FOAs) (NOT-OD-23-109). This update applies to all documents issued by NIH, including funding opportunities, websites, staff guidance, and other resources. Both terms will be used while NIH works to update its webpages and resources.
- Expiration of the COVID-19 PHE: The HHS-declared PHE for COVID-19 was terminated on May 11, 2023 (NOT-OD-23-095). Effective May 12, 2023, NIH will no longer issue Emergency Notices of Funding Opportunity related to COVID-19. Ongoing emergency awards will not be impacted and will retain all existing emergency flexibilities for the remainder of the current competitive segment. In addition, with the expiration of the PHE, NIH is no longer able to grant single institutional review board exceptions for multi-site research (NOT-OD-23-097).
- Reminder: Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS): NIH’s DMS Policy webpages offer information about the new policy (NOT-OD-21-013), which became effective on January 25, 2023, as well as various tips and tools, including frequently asked questions, sample DMS plans, and guidance on selecting data repositories. In addition, the NIH Office of Extramural Research and the NIH Office of Science Policy hosted a two-part webinar series (part 1; part 2) to share DMS policy expectations and considerations for sharing data. For NIMH-specific data policies, please refer to the NIMH Data Sharing for Applicants and Awardees webpage.
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 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:
- Making an IMPACT on Precision Medicine in Psychiatry (May 9, 2023): Dr. Gordon introduced the Individually Measured Phenotypes to Advance Computational Translation in Mental Health (IMPACT-MH) initiative. This new groundbreaking NIMH initiative aims to change the game for precision medicine in psychiatry.
- Autism Awareness Month: The Power of Community (April 10, 2023): In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Dr. Gordon highlighted the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and the power of community in pushing the field forward.
- Brain Science for Everyone—Including You (March 13, 2023): This Brain Awareness Week, Dr. Gordon showed that it is not only scientists who can study the brain—you can too, in your backyard, classroom, or even on a hiking trail near a waterfall!
- Heart, Brain, and Body (February 14, 2023): In honor of American Heart Month, Dr. Gordon discussed NIMH’s research activity at the intersection of the heart and the brain.
Here is the latest news about NIMH-supported research:
- Population Study Finds Depression Is Different Before, During, and After Pregnancy (May 15, 2023)
- Infants’ Health Record Data May Improve Early Autism Screening (April 27, 2023)
- Chatbot Encourages People with Eating Disorders to Seek Care (April 17, 2023)
- Researchers Unlock Genetic Mutations Contributing to Disorders in the Brain (April 10, 2023)
- HIV Can Persist for Years in Myeloid Cells of People on Antiretroviral Therapy (March 27, 2023)
- Medicaid Data Show Wide Differences in Mental Health Care in the United States (March 23, 2023)
- New NIH Study Reveals Shared Genetic Markers Underlying Substance Use Disorders (March 22, 2023)
- Breaking Down Barriers to HIV Medication Access (March 13, 2023)
- Long-Acting Antiretroviral Therapy Suppresses HIV Among People with Unstable Housing, Mental Illnesses, Substance Use Disorder (February 21, 2023)
- Attention to Geometric Images May Offer Biomarker for Some Toddlers with Autism (February 13, 2023)
- NIMH Researcher Karen Berman Elected as AAAS Fellow (February 7, 2023)
The NIMH Press Team wants to share the latest mental health research with the public. If you are working on NIMH-funded research that has been submitted to a journal for publication, please tell us about it. We might be able to help spread the word about your findings. Also, it is important to acknowledge NIMH's support of your research by citing your NIMH award in journal articles and other communications.
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