2023 Winter 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 (@NIMHDirector).
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health
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This winter, NIMH staff have been actively engaged in facilitating scientific meetings and developing numerous research funding opportunities. As we venture into 2023, we focus this edition of Inside NIMH on recent developments to advance research priorities in youth mental health and precision medicine, as well as highlight health equity efforts and key leadership positions filled across NIH.
News to Know
- NIMH Releases a Strategic Framework for Addressing Youth Mental Health Disparities for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022–2031: On February 1, 2023, NIMH released its Strategic Framework for Addressing Youth Mental Health Disparities to help guide NIMH activities, including research funding, stakeholder engagement, and workforce development related to research on the mental health needs of youth impacted by racial and ethnic health disparities. Informed by researchers and care providers across the country, this Strategic Framework is a living document that summarizes NIMH’s plans and priorities for guiding research to address and reduce mental health disparities among underserved and underrepresented youth by 2031. To develop the Framework, NIMH partnered with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and engaged with multiple other entities across NIH, HHS, and the federal government. This Strategic Framework is structured to align with and supplement the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research and the NIH Minority Health and Health Disparities Strategic Plan, and may be periodically updated based on stakeholder feedback, emerging challenges and opportunities, and research advances.
- NIH Recognizes Winners of National Youth Essay Contest on Mental Health: In an effort to promote awareness of and spark conversations about mental health among high schoolers, NIMH, along with NIMHD and NICHD, sponsored the “2022 Speaking Up About Mental Health!” essay contest. Contest participants explored ways that individuals or society can address or eliminate stigma that young people may face when seeking mental health treatment. Of the 200 submissions from high schoolers across 33 states, NIH named nine winning essays and six honorable mentions. These essays addressed topics such as suicide, anxiety, the challenges of stigma, and improving access to mental health education and treatment, particularly in underserved populations, including individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.
- Advancing Precision Medicine Research: NIMH aims to support research that will develop and test tools for use by clinicians in tailoring treatment recommendations to individual patients. To address this pressing challenge, NIMH plans to launch an ambitious research program that will focus on two parallel areas of need: precision diagnostics and biomarker development. The goal of the precision diagnostics effort is to support studies that follow large, diverse cohorts of individuals over time using novel behavioral and physiological methods to better predict patient prognosis and optimize treatment. These studies will combine innovative methods for assessing behavior (such as mobile device-based measurement of cognition and activity) with detailed clinical information from electronic health records to identify longitudinal relationships among symptoms of mental illnesses, biological systems, behavior, and day-to-day functioning. Meanwhile, the biomarker development effort seeks to deliver highly sensitive and specific biomarkers to guide treatment decisions for major depression.
- Outreach Spotlight: Over the last several months, NIMH shared resources across its digital platforms, which include social media and NIMH’s Discover NIMH e-newsletter, to support community mental health education for multiple observances, including Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2–8) and World Mental Health Day (October 10). In recognition of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month in October, NIMH shared several messages and resources about ADHD. NIMH also featured its Spanish-language materials during National Hispanic Heritage Month. As daylight hours decreased in the fall, NIMH promoted its fact sheet and infographic on seasonal affective disorder. NIMH highlighted resources about HIV and mental health for World AIDS Day in December. Starting in the fall, NIMH returned to exhibiting resources at in-person meetings to share mental health brochures and fact sheets with providers, educators, and other stakeholders.
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Updates: On October 26, 2022, the IACC held a virtual Full Committee Meeting. The Committee discussed National Disability Employment Awareness Month, including research on employment of young adults on the autism spectrum, and autism in older adulthood. On January 18, 2023, the IACC held another Full Committee Meeting, which included presentations about autism services and stakeholder-engaged disability research funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The Committee also voted on and approved the 2021–2022 IACC Strategic Plan, which is expected to be released in Spring 2023.
Updates and Announcements from HHS and NIH
- HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration
- On September 16, 2022, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released a Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration, which advances the President’s Strategy to Address the National Mental Health Crisis. The Roadmap summarizes the most significant barriers to achieving fully integrated behavioral health care, and highlights HHS-supported high-impact policies and programs that can help achieve the administration’s goals. Among the efforts described in the Roadmap, there are two NIMH funding opportunities aimed at implementing sustainable, evidence-based mental health practices in low-resource settings (PAR-21-283, PAR-21-284).
- U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-being
- On October 20, 2022, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., released a new Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-being. This Framework outlines the foundational role that workplaces should play in promoting employee health and well-being and offers evidence-informed practices that leadership across workplaces of varied sizes and industries can apply to reimagine and reinvigorate their organizations.
- NIH-wide Initiatives
- Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study®: NIMH is a partner of the ABCD Study®, the largest longitudinal study of brain development and child health in the United States. Using data from ABCD participants aged 9 to 10 years old, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School assessed whether genetic risk factors known to be associated with suicide attempts in adults are also associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children. Results indicate that there may be genetic factors associated with suicide attempt risk across the life span. Further research is needed to assess the complex interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors in order to improve the identification of children at risk for suicide and mediate this risk.
- 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 to improve health. On December 3, 2022, All of Us announced that it has begun returning personalized genetic results to participants, delivering on its promise to share research findings and return information of value to participants. Participants can choose which health-related results they want, if any. Additionally, genetic counselors are available to meet with participants and their family members or health care provider to discuss and interpret their results.
- On October 3, 2022, All of Us hosted a virtual institutional onramp event to educate researchers and administrators on how to access the program’s data and tools to power research. More than 240 attendees from a variety of research institutions learned about available data and tools and discussed future research opportunities.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative: The next phase of the BRAIN Initiative includes funding for three transformative projects aimed at enhancing the understanding of brain cell types and the precise tools needed to access them. On September 22, 2022, the BRAIN Initiative announced awards for two-large scale projects. The BRAIN Initiative® Cell Atlas Network (BICAN) and the Armamentarium for Precision Brain Cell Access seek to transform neuroscience research by illuminating foundational principles governing the circuit basis of behavior and informing new approaches to the treatment of human brain disorders. The forthcoming BRAIN Initiative Connectivity Across Scales (BRAIN CONNECTS) Network, the third project, will create funding opportunities to target connectivity mapping at multiple scales.
- NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research: The NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, known as "Blueprint," is a collaborative framework that includes the NIH Office of the Director and 15 NIH Institutes and Centers that support research on the nervous system. By pooling resources and expertise, the Blueprint framework identifies cross-cutting areas of research and confronts challenges too large for any single Institute or Center. On September 29, 2022, Blueprint hosted its first NIH Investigator Meeting on Functional Neurocircuits of Interoception. The virtual meeting focused on pre-clinical functional neural circuit analysis of interoception, or the ways in which organisms sense and regulate signals within their bodies. The event featured presentations from NIH-funded researchers and covered topics including digestive system-brain connections; pulmonary-cardiovascular systems-brain connections; and metabolic, immune, muscular, and multiple systems-brain connections.
- NIH Common Fund: The NIH Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program supports exceptionally creative scientists pursuing highly innovative research with the potential for broad impact in biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences within the NIH mission. On October 4, 2022, the program announced its intention to award over $200 million to support potentially transformative biomedical research projects. Numerous NIMH grantees were recipients of the awards.
- UNITE Initiative: The NIH-wide UNITE initiative strives to reduce barriers and provide solutions to creating racial equity in the biomedical research workforce. On October 20, 2022, UNITE published its inaugural progress report. This report, covering fiscal years 2021–2022, describes NIH’s actions to identify and address structural racism that may exist within the NIH and in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. It discusses UNITE’s initial efforts across four focus areas: 1) elevate health disparities and minority health research across NIH; 2) promote equity in the NIH-supported biomedical and behavioral research ecosystem; 3) promote equity in the internal NIH workforce; and, 4) improve accuracy and transparency of racial and ethnic equity data.
- NIH Leadership News
- On January 14, 2023, Roger I. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., stepped down as the Director of the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and as NIH Associate Director for International Research, positions he held since March 2006. As the longest-serving director of FIC, Dr. Glass broadened NIH’s global health footprint by partnering with all NIH Institutes and Centers to advance global health research in support of the NIH mission. Dr. Glass will serve as Senior Scientist Emeritus at FIC, focusing on bolstering diversity and equity in Fogarty programs, working with NIH leadership to expand engagement in global health, and reinforcing existing partnerships abroad. Peter H. Kilmarx, M.D., former FIC Deputy Director, will serve as Acting Director of FIC while NIH conducts a search for a permanent Director.
- On December 31, 2022, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., stepped down as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden after 54 years of federal service. Dr. Fauci had been the Director of NIAID for 38 years, overseeing an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established and emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Fauci had advised seven Presidents of the United States on domestic and global health issues, including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 1, 2023, Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., former NIAID Principal Deputy Director, has begun serving as Acting Director of NIAID while NIH searches for a permanent Director.
- On December 31, 2022, Andrea Norris retired from her positions as NIH’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Director for the Center of Information Technology (CIT). For over a decade, she led the $1.6 billion technology portfolio that supports the research of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers, as well as researchers at more than 2,500 universities and medical centers across the country that receive NIH funding support. NIH will launch national searches for a new CIO and a CIT Director.
- On November 8, 2022, NIH announced the appointment of Joni L. Rutter, Ph.D., as Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Dr. Rutter had been serving as the NCATS Acting Director since April 2021. Dr. Rutter will direct innovative research programs to advance diagnoses and treatments, including gene therapies, for some of the more than 10,000 known rare diseases. She also will guide research efforts that drive team science to create and test innovative methods for improving the drug development process.
- On November 3, 2022, Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., was named the NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR) in the NIH Office of the Director. Dr. Schor had been serving in this role in an acting capacity since August 1, 2022. As DDIR, Dr. Schor will be responsible for the selection and approval of new NIH principal investigators, human subjects research protection, research integrity, technology transfer, and animal care and use for the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP). She will also oversee efforts to train the next generation of biomedical and behavioral researchers at NIH, as well as efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive culture across the NIH IRP. Dr. Schor replaces Michael M. Gottesman, M.D., who served as NIH DDIR for 29 years.
- On October 11, 2022, Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D., began her role as inaugural Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an independent entity within the NIH. Dr. Wegrzyn will be responsible for driving the agency’s research portfolio and associated budget. The budget is expected to support a broad range of programs in order to develop capabilities to prevent, detect, and treat some of the most intractable diseases, including cancer.
- On October 3, 2022, Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., began her role as the 16th Director—and first female Director— of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Throughout her career, Dr. Bertagnolli has been at the forefront of the field of clinical oncology, advancing current understanding of the gene that promotes gastrointestinal cancer development, in particular. Her decades of clinical and leadership experience will be applied to advancing NCI initiatives, including spearheading the President’s Cancer MoonshotSM initiative. Doug Lowy, M.D., had served as the Acting Director of NCI while the President searched for a permanent Director, and has resumed his position as NCI’s Principal Deputy Director.
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget: NIMH awarded an estimated 673 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2022 and achieved an overall success rate of approximately 24 percent (defined as number of RPG applications funded divided by the number of applications received; see below). Cures Awards are funded by appropriations made available through the 21st Century Cures Act. In accordance with Next Generation Researchers Initiative efforts, NIMH awarded grants to 98 unique early stage investigators and 209 unique at-risk investigators.
- The next figure shows the number of competing R01 and equivalent applications that were awarded or not awarded across the full percentile scoring range in FY 2022. The number of percentiled competing awards was 304 for $191 million.
- The figure below shows the NIMH budget in appropriated (current) versus constant (FY 2010) dollars (excludes 21st Century Cures funding). 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. 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 percent since FY 2010.
- Outlook for FY 2023: 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 $2.338 billion for NIMH, an increase of 5.5 percent over the FY 2022 appropriation. This includes $225 million from the 21st Century Cures Act. The law also provides $25 million to expand research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, and an increase of $5 million to support research to inform mental health treatment approaches, service delivery, and system transformation.
NIMH Staff News and Awards
- Staff Retirements
- Barry Kaplan, Ph.D., Senior Investigator in the NIMH IRP Section on Neurobiology, retired from federal service on December 30, 2022. Dr. Kaplan served as Chief of the Section on Molecular Neurobiology from 1998 and was Director for Fellowship Training from 1997 until 2013. His research focused on the mechanisms and function of RNA transport to the axon and local translation. Dr. Kaplan conducted pioneering work on local synthesis of nuclear-encoded mitochondria proteins, which helped to establish the concept of intra-axonal protein synthesis.
- Denise Pintello, Ph.D., M.S.W., Chief of the Child and Adolescent Research Program in the NIMH Division of Services Research and Epidemiology, retired from federal service on December 31, 2022. Dr. Pintello helped grow and shape high priority research portfolios in child mental health services, autism services, and dissemination and implementation science.
- Staff Awards
- Maryland Pao, M.D., Clinical Director of the NIMH IRP, was elected as President of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (ACLP) for its 2022–2023 term. The ACLP’s mission is to promote education, research, and advocacy to advance integrated psychiatric care for the medically ill.
- Andrea Horvath Marques, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Program Chief of Suicide Prevention Research and Integration of Mental Health Care in the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research, received a certificate of recognition from the Embassy of Brazil for connecting the Brazilian science, technology, and innovation community in the United States with Brazil.
- Elisabeth A. Murray, Ph.D., Chief of the Section on Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and the Laboratory of Neuropsychology in the NIMH IRP, received the Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Neuroscience. The 2022 Salpeter Award acknowledges Dr. Murray’s distinguished career and excellence in biomedical research alongside her dedication to mentoring women in neuroscience.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
We are proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by some of our current grantees.
- Election to the National Academy of Medicine (Academy) is one of the highest honors in the scientific field. In November 2022, the following NIMH grantees were elected to the Academy:
- Sheena A. Josselyn, Ph.D. (Hospital for Sick Children; University of Toronto)
- Lisa M. Monteggia, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt Brain Institute; Vanderbilt University)
- Vikram H. Patel, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School)
- Katherine S. Pollard, Ph.D. (Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology; University of California, San Francisco; Chan Zuckerberg Biohub)
- Several NIMH-supported researchers were honored at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in December 2022:
- Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award: Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D. (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)
- Daniel Efron Research Award: Kristen J. Brennand, Ph.D. (Yale University School of Medicine); Michael R. Bruchas, Ph.D. (University of Washington)
- Barbara Fish Memorial Award: Raquel E. Gur, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)
- Paul Hoch Distinguished: William A. Carlezon, Jr., Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School)
- Eva King Killam Research Award: Damien Fair, PA-C, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota)
- Dolores Shockley Diversity and Inclusion Advancement Award: Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. (Stanford University)
- The Society for Implementation Research Collaboration’s Mission Award, which recognizes collaborations to advance system enhancements to address health and justice equity issues, was given to:
- Faye Taxman, Ph.D. (George Mason University)
- Several NIMH-supported researchers were honored by the Society for Neuroscience at its annual meeting in November 2022:
- Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience: Richard Huganir, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University)
- Peter Seeburg Integrative Neuroscience Prize: Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. (Stanford University)
- Next Generation Award (Junior Faculty): Elizabeth Engler-Chiurazzi, Ph.D. (Tulane University)
- Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience: Ila Fiete, Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award: Laura DeNardo, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles) and Talia Lerner, Ph.D. (Northwestern University)
- Jacob P. Waletzky Award: Ian Maze, Ph.D. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)
- Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience: Lyle Kingsbury, B.A. (University of California, Los Angeles)
- Young Investigator Award: Michael Yartsev, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley)
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.
- During adolescence, the brain undergoes a profound reorganization, including the formation and stabilization of neural circuits that are critically involved in decision making. While direct evidence has been limited, it is hypothesized that age-related improvements in decision making are driven by changes in brain circuits that encode specific reinforcement learning mechanisms. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, Benjamin Saunders, Ph.D., and Stephanie Groman, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota), plan to use imaging techniques and computational modeling to assess circuit and neuronal activity in rats during adolescence to determine how developmental changes in specific neural networks mediate improvements in reinforcement learning and subsequent decision making. Further, Drs. Saunders and Groman seek to determine how encoding of attention and reward-prediction errors guide value-based choice across adolescence. Study findings may provide a framework for understanding the neurodevelopmental mechanisms of mental illnesses and inspire future translational studies.
- Late-life depression (LLD) affects about 1 in 10 adults aged 60 years and over and places those individuals at higher risk for additional adverse health outcomes, such as stroke and dementia. LLD can present differently across individuals due to depression severity, symptoms, age of onset, and duration of illness. With support from the NIMH Division of Translational Research, Janine Bijsterbosch, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis), plans to study variations in the development of LLD, leveraging data from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million people. Dr. Bijsterbosch aims to combine data from more than 60 brain measures, such as cortical thickness, with information about environmental and psychological stressors and employ computational modeling approaches to predict individual resilience or vulnerability to LLD. Overall, this research may improve strategies for treatment and prevention of LLD by revealing further insights into LLD heterogeneity.
- Suicide is a leading cause of death in youth, with an alarming increase in suicide rates among certain subpopulations. The NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research is supporting several studies targeting systems-level risk detection and interventions to reduce suicide ideation and behaviors in Black youth and in youth from other underserved populations. For example, several research teams, led by Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D. (New York University), Janelle Goodwill, Ph.D. (University of Chicago), and Sonyia Richardson, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina Charlotte), aim to refine and optimize scalable versions of evidence-based strategies in emergency departments, middle schools, and faith-based organizations, with added emphasis on intersectionality and family support. Additionally, teams led by Kathleen Kemp, Ph.D. (Rhode Island Hospital), Sarah Polk, M.D. (Johns Hopkins University), and Jody Russon, Ph.D. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), aim to reduce suicide among groups that experience disparities in service access and use, including justice-involved youth, Latinx or Hispanic youth, sexual and gender minority youth, and youth who seek service in a variety of non-mental health settings, including family court, medical care facilitates, and LGBTQ-serving organizations. Collectively, these projects may yield insight into a variety of scalable services interventions to improve risk identification, coordinated referral, and improve engagement and retention in evidence-based suicide prevention interventions among at-risk youth.
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:
- Engineering Next-generation Human Nervous System Microphysiological Systems (PAR-23-046, PAR-23-047)
- Clinical Studies of Mental Illness (PAR-23-050)
- Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Equity in Outcomes (PAR-23-103)
- Pilot Studies to Test the Initiation of a Mental Health Family Navigator Model to Promote Early Access, Engagement and Coordination of Needed Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents (PAR-23-104)
- Laboratories to Optimize Digital Health (PAR-22-154)
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.
- Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Mentorship (NOT-OD-23-002)
- Administrative Supplements to NIH Centers for AIDS Research and NIMH AIDS Research Centers for Ending the HIV Epidemic (NOT-AI-23-016)
- 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)
- BRAIN Initiative: Developing Data Archive, Informatics Tools and Data Standards for Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization (NOT-MH-23-115)
- Priority Research Opportunities in Crisis Response Services (NOT-MH-23-140)
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.
- The Intersection of Sex and Gender Influences on Health and Disease (RFA-OD-22-028)
- BRAIN Initiative: Brain-Behavior Quantification and Synchronization Transformative and Integrative Models of Behavior at the Organismal Level (RFA-DA-23-030)
- Bidirectional Influences Between Adolescent Social Media Use and Mental Health (RFA-MH-23-115, RFA-MH-23-116)
- Using Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions to Optimize Established Adolescent Mental Health Treatments (RFA-MH-22-150)
- Schizophrenia and Related Disorders During Mid- to Late-life (RFA-MH-22-270, RFA-MH-22-271)
- BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (RFA-MH-22-292)
- Social Drivers of Mental Illnesses in Low- & Middle-Income Countries: Mechanisms and Pathways of Interventions for Youth (RFA-MH-23-310)
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 Future Research Opportunity Announcement for All of Us Research Participant and Partner Services Center (NOT-PM-23-001)
- Request for Information: Innovative Approaches to Prevent Mental Health Problems and Promote Mental Wellness in Populations That Experience Health Disparities (NOT-OD-23-030)
- Notice of Data Sharing Policy for the National Institute of Mental Health (NOT-MH-23-100)
- Notice Announcing the Expectations for the Collection of Common Data Elements for HIV-Funded Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NOT-MH-23-105)
- Notice of Information on NIMH’s Considerations for Research Involving Psychedelics and Related Compounds (NOT-MH-23-125)
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Suicide Prevention Across the Life Span in Low- and Middle-income Countries (NOT-MH-23-150)
- Notice of Information on NIMH Policy Updated for Career Development Programs (K Awards) (NOT-MH-22-310)
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 FOAs may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects.
- Developing Tools to Inform Treatment Selection in Depression
- Individually Measured Phenotypes to Advance Computational Translation (IMPACT)
- Integrating Data and Implementation Science to Accelerate HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care
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.
- Health Economics at NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Domestic and International: On January 25, 2023, NIMH and NIDA co-hosted a virtual meeting on health economics research supported by the two Institutes. NIMH and NIDA staff, as well as researchers and economists from various institutions, participated in panel discussions and plenary presentations. This meeting showcased research in payment and financing, behavioral economics, and social determinants of health and included examples of research conducted in the United States and international settings.
- Ecological Grief and Anxiety: A Healthy Response to Climate Change: On January 19, 2023, the NIMH Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) hosted Ashlee Cunsolo, Ph.D., founding Dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies at the Labrador Campus of Memorial University as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual seminar, Dr. Cunsolo discussed the profound, cumulative, and complex mental health consequences of the climate crisis. Dr. Cunsolo also highlighted diverse expressions of ecological grief and loss and how the ‘gift of grief’ and ‘gritty hope’ can furnish new ethical and political communities.
- NIH Quantum Sensing Workshop: On January 5, 2023, NIMH and NIH-wide members of the Quantum Information Science Working Group, together with experts from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology hosted a virtual workshop, “Near-term Applications of Quantum Sensing Technologies in Biomedical Sciences.” The workshop aimed to identify opportunities in developing quantum sensing and quantum enabled sensing technology applications in biological and biomedical domains. Panelists discussed both real-world science applications of mature stage technologies, as well as near-term and longer-term potential applications for emerging technologies.
- NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) Training Opportunities: On December 15, 2022, the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training (OFT) hosted a virtual information session on training opportunities in the 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.
- High Throughput Imaging Characterization of Brain Cell Types & Connectivity: On December 14–15, 2022, the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science hosted a virtual workshop as part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative to discuss advanced imaging approaches for characterizing brain cell types and their connectivity in human and other species. Workshop panelists discussed tissue harvesting, processing, labeling, and clearing; imaging technologies; and data analysis pipelines and data handling.
- Transformative Research Requires Insider Researchers: On December 8, 2022, the NIMH DEA hosted Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Ph.D., Director of the Health Equity Research Laboratory and Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual seminar, Dr. Márquez-Magaña discussed the importance of “insider researchers,” or those who are members of populations being studied, in biomedical and behavioral research. Dr. Márquez-Magaña’s presentation covered health disparities in socially disadvantaged groups and how insider researchers can leverage their community’s cultural wealth to improve the inclusion of study participants, strengthen research methodology, and ultimately enhance the rigor and impact of studies.
- Center for Global Mental Health Research (CGMHR) Webinar Series: Throughout 2022, CGMHR offered a series of webinars to increase researchers’ knowledge about NIH structure and grant processes and enhance global mental health research capacity. On November 16, 2022, CGMHR hosted a webinar, “Grants Management: Post-Award,” which provided an overview of managing grants once awards have been made. On October 22, 2022, CGMHR hosted “Writing a Successful Individual Training Grant Application Focused on Global Mental Health,” a webinar that included NIMH staff-led discussions on important considerations when writing research aims, training goals, training plans, candidate statements, and mentorship plans. In addition, on September 28, 2022, CGMHR hosted a webinar “Establishing an Independent Career in Global Mental Health Research,” where staff provided an overview of the Center’s funding priorities and opportunities, along with advice from a panel of NIH-funded researchers on establishing research independence, including the importance of identifying mentors, developing grant writing skills, and engaging with community-based stakeholders.
- HIV-1 and SARS CoV-2 Effects on Brain and Mind Health: On November 9, 2022, as part of the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series, the NIMH DEA hosted a virtual fireside chat between Dr. Gordon and Serena Spudich, M.D., M.A., Professor of Neurology, Chief of the Division of Neurological Infections and Global Neurology, and Director of the Center for Brain and Mind Health at Yale University. Drs. Gordon and Spudich discussed the impact of HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 viruses on the nervous system. During the conversation, they highlighted lessons learned from studying the effects of HIV on the central nervous system, similarities and differences between the two viruses’ pathologies and clinical effects, and how this knowledge could inform research and interventions for SARS-CoV-2 infections.
- Criticality in Neural Systems Conference: On November 7–9, 2022, the NIMH IRP sponsored Criticality in Neural Systems 2022: Collective Behavior, Synchronization, and Complexity, part of a biennial conference series on brain criticality. At this hybrid conference, researchers presented the latest experimental and theoretical advancements in the study of critical phenomena in brain activity and their functional relevance. The three-day meeting included spotlight lectures, poster presentations and discussions, and networking opportunities.
- Improving Health Through Innovative Technology, Large and Diverse Cohorts, and Precision Medicine: On October 27, 2022, the NIMH DEA hosted Joshua Denny, M.D., M.S., Chief Executive Officer of the NIH’s All of Us Research Program, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the virtual talk, Dr. Denny discussed the five-year goals for the program, the upcoming Mental Health and Wellbeing survey to be launched in collaboration with NIMH, and the Exploring the Mind ancillary study. In addition, Dr. Denny answered questions from participants, including how All of Us maintains and protects data confidentiality, how investigators can access data using the Researcher Workbench platform, and how All of Us data can be combined with additional data sources.
- NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Roundtable: Data-Driven Refinement of Psychopathology: On September 28, 2022, the NIMH RDoC Unit hosted a virtual roundtable on precision diagnostics, or the ability to conduct personalized, data-driven assessment to inform more effective clinical decisions. The meeting addressed two fundamental needs that could serve as a foundation for identifying meaningful clinical signatures: 1) cultivating and validating behavioral tasks for individual level clinical prediction and decision-making; and, 2) establishing a data infrastructure that allows for computational exploration of multimodal data.
- Promoting Inclusive Excellence in the Extramural Research Ecosystem: On September 22, 2022, the NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity hosted a webinar on NIH scientific workforce diversity initiatives. Leaders in scientific workforce diversity across NIH presented on innovative initiatives designed to promote inclusive excellence within the extramural community, including the NIH UNITE Initiative, 21st Century Scholars Program, Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in DEIA Mentoring, and the NIH Common Fund’s Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) program. This event was part of a series of webinars designed for investigators conducting or interested in conducting research on mental health disparities, women’s mental health, minority mental health, and/or rural mental health.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- Reminder: Required Use of “FORMS-H” Grant Application Forms: Applicants are required to submit grant applications using FORMS-H for due dates on or after January 25, 2023 (NOT-OD-23-012). As part of the implementation of the 2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy, a new “Other Plan(s)” attachment field has been added to the PHS 398 Research Plan Form and the PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form. Applicants must attach the required DMS Plan in this new field in FORMS-H applications. Instructions are posted on the How to Apply - Application Guide page.
NIH-wide Grant News
- Simplifying Peer Review Criteria: A Request for Information: NIH is seeking public input on revising and simplifying the peer review framework for research project grant applications before moving forward with implementation (NOT-OD-23-034). The proposed changes to the framework aim to allow peer reviewers to focus on scientific merit by evaluating 1) the scientific impact, research rigor, and feasibility of the proposed research without the distraction of administrative questions; and, 2) whether or not appropriate expertise and resources are available to conduct the research, thus mitigating the undue influence of the reputation of the institution or investigator. Feedback is due to NIH by March 10, 2023.
- Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy: To advance efforts under its new DMS Policy (NOT-OD-23-053), NIH is providing supplemental information to assist researchers in addressing privacy considerations when sharing human research participant data (NOT-OD-22-213). This information is not intended to provide a guide for compliance with regulatory requirements nor is it establishing binding rules for NIH awardees, but instead provides a set of principles, best practices, and points to consider for creating a robust framework for protecting the privacy of research participants when sharing data. Please review the Data Management & Sharing Policy Overview page for additional information on what is expected of investigators and institutions.
- NIH Offers Option to Bypass 2-Business Day Application Viewing Window for Administrative Supplements: To expedite processing of eligible electronic administrative supplement requests, NIH now offers an option to bypass the full standard 2-business day application viewing window that occurs after an error-free application is submitted to NIH (NOT-OD-23-011). A signing official (SO) can access the bypass option through a new ‘Verify’ action in eRA Commons Status. Note that once this bypass option is used, the SO forfeits the organization’s ability to reject or make further changes to the application.
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.
Research Training and Career Development
Here is the latest news about research training and career development at NIMH and NIH:
- Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Award Program (OSNAP) Symposium: OSNAP is an NIH-wide initiative designed to acknowledge and support individuals who are conducting exceptional research in neuroscience and have shown great potential in their scientific training. The program is sponsored by NIMH and seven other NIH Institutes and Centers. On November 28–29, 2022, NIH honored the recipients of the 2022 OSNAP Program. Twenty-four awardees, including senior graduate students and junior postdoctoral fellows from across the country, shared their science in brief talks and posters.
- NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Career Development Workshop: On October 26, 2022, the BRAIN Initiative held a virtual workshop for grantees funded through the BRAIN Initiative who are approaching or at the early stages of career independence to learn about making a successful faculty transition. Panelists included junior faculty who have experience with recent transitions and senior faculty with current understanding of institutional hiring practices. The workshop offered a networking opportunity and provided participants with a variety of perspectives on topics including application and interview preparation and building an independent research program.
NIMH’s Director’s Messages provide insights into the latest topics in mental health research:
- Looking Back, Moving Forward (January 30, 2023): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon reflects on some exciting NIMH-supported developments from the past year.
- Exploring the Role of Somatic Mosaicism in Human Biology (November 22, 2022): In this Director’s Message, Dr. Gordon introduces the Somatic Mosaicism across Human Tissues (SMaHT) Network—an NIH-wide initiative that aims to transform our understanding of how somatic mosaicism in human cells influences biology and disease.
Here is the latest news about NIMH-supported research:
- Dr. Elisabeth Murray Honored with Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award (November 23, 2022)
- NIH’s Climate and Health Initiative Tackles Global Health Effects Associated with a Climate Change (November 7, 2022)
- Researchers Develop Method to Study Brain Connectivity, Functionality (October 13, 2022)
- NIH Announces Winners of High School Mental Health Essay Contest (September 26, 2022)
- NIH BRAIN Initiative Launches Projects to Develop Cell Atlases and Molecular Tools for Cell Access (September 22, 2022)
- Dr. Christina P.C. Borba Named Director of Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (September 20, 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:
- COVID-19 Pandemic Associated With Worse Mental Health and Accelerated Brain Development in Adolescents (January 26, 2023)
- Brief Cognitive Training May Extend the Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine (January 9, 2023)
- NIMH Creates Publicly Accessible Resource With Data From Healthy Volunteers (January 3, 2023)
- Barriers and Supports to HIV Treatment Among Young Women in Kenya (December 8, 2022)
- T-Cells Help HIV Enter and Persist in the Brain (December 1, 2022)
- Researchers Map the Genetic Landscape of Schizophrenia in the Brain (November 29, 2022)
- Rare Genetic Variation in 10 Genes Substantially Raise the Risk for Schizophrenia (November 17, 2022)
- NIMH Turns Challenges into Opportunities (October 21, 2022)
- Family-Based Intervention Lowers Long-Term Suicide Risk in Youth (September 29, 2022)
These Research Highlights recognize progress the Institute has made across the four Goals of the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research.
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