2024 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 X (@NIMH Director ).
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health
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This winter, NIMH introduced a new Division and continued its 75th Anniversary celebrations. In this edition of Inside NIMH, we welcome a new Director of NIH, share NIMH-supported funding opportunities, and announce upcoming changes to the NIH peer review framework.
News to Know
- NIMH Establishes the Division of Data Science and Technology (DST): NIMH is excited to announce the creation of DST. On October 23, 2023, the new Division replaced the former Office of Technology Development and Coordination (OTDC). DST provides valuable support to NIMH investigators, including large-scale sequencing, brain and tissue banks, data archives, nonhuman primate resources, and shared instrumentation. DST will support the development of new tools, technologies, and approaches for brain and behavioral research and provide infrastructure related to data management. NIMH announced Greg Farber, Ph.D., as Director of DST. Since 2014, Dr. Farber served as the Director of OTDC. Ruben Alvarez, Ed.D., will serve as Deputy Director of DST.
- NIMH Continues its 75th Anniversary Celebrations:
- From September 2023 to September 2024, NIMH is celebrating 75 years of transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses. On September 13, 2023, NIMH hosted the inaugural symposium for its 75th anniversary, “The Evolution of Mental Health Research,” which brought together leading experts to explore cutting-edge discoveries, novel approaches, and the transformative impacts of NIMH initiatives. NIMH will host additional activities throughout the year to commemorate its 75th Anniversary, including two more symposia. The second symposium, “Amplifying Voices and Building Bridges: Toward a More Inclusive Future,” will take place on March 18, 2024 in Washington, D.C. The third symposium is planned for September 2024 and will celebrate the inspiration behind NIMH research.
- In addition to these events, NIMH is sharing stories of scientific discoveries on the NIMH website. For example, NIMH launched a new podcast series for the anniversary, “Mental Health Matters,” hosted by NIMH Director Dr. Gordon. The first episode, released in September, focused on understanding and preventing youth suicide. NIMH also launched the “I am NIMH” social media campaign to showcase some members of the diverse and highly skilled group of individuals at NIMH who are passionate about advancing the understanding and treatment of mental disorders. Subscribe to email updates and follow NIMH on social media to stay up to date about NIMH’s 75th Anniversary.
- Outreach Spotlight: Over the last few months, NIMH shared resources and hosted events supporting several mental health observances. During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on youth suicide prevention. As a part of the back to school campaign, NIMH promoted its new coloring and activity book for children: Get Excited About Mental Health Research! In October, NIMH released its updated brochure on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for OCD Awareness Week. Ahead of the end of daylight saving time in November, NIMH promoted its updated fact sheet on seasonal affective disorder. Also in November, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on childhood irritability.
Updates and Announcements from HHS and NIH
- Addressing Maternal Mental Health Needs: On September 27, 2023, HHS announced several new actions to respond to the national maternal health crisis. These include awarding more than $103 million to support and expand access to maternal health services, forming a task force to address maternal mental health conditions and co-occurring substance use disorders, and launching a national public education campaign, Talking Postpartum Depression , to provide information about and combat stigmatization associated with this significant public health issue. These actions are HHS’ latest steps to fulfill the President’s Unity Agenda and continue the implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis , a whole-of-government strategy to improve maternal and infant health, particularly in underserved communities.
- Suicide Prevention and Behavioral Health Care Grants: On September 27, 2023, HHS, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, announced it recently awarded more than $230 million in grants for suicide prevention and behavioral health care for marginalized communities. These grants include new funding for states, territories, and Tribal nations and organizations to build local capacity for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelife and related crisis services. Aligned with this initiative, NIMH encourages research on suicide prevention crisis services, including the 988 Lifeline (NOT-MH-23-140 ).
- Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC): The IACC is an advisory committee that coordinates federal efforts and advises the Secretary of HHS on issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- On behalf of the IACC, the NIMH Office of National Autism Coordination issued a Request for Information to help identify priorities related to co-occurring conditions in autism. The IACC is requesting public comments on the impact of these co-occurring conditions, as well as research, services, and policy needs that may be helpful to consider in addressing issues related to these conditions. The comment period closes February 14, 2024.
- The IACC recently held two Full Committee Meetings. On January 24, 2024 , the Committee discussed law enforcement and justice issues for the autism community and recent federal autism activities. On October 11, 2023 , the Committee recognized National Disability Employment Awareness Month and discussed mental health needs for individuals on the autism spectrum.
- On December 12, 2023, the IACC published the 2022 IACC Summary of Advances in Autism Research , which provides plain language summaries of notable advances in ASD biomedical and services research as selected by members of the IACC. An accompanying easy-read version that describes the full Summary of Advances in a brief, more accessible format is also available.
- On September 28, 2023, the IACC released the 2021–2023 Strategic Plan for Autism Research, Services, and Policy . This updated Strategic Plan was developed by federal and public members of the IACC, with extensive feedback from the community. It includes 24 recommendations to improve autism research, services, and support activities for autistic people. The 2021–2023 IACC Strategic Plan includes topics such as reducing disparities and enhancing equity, addressing co-occurring mental and physical health conditions, understanding autism across the lifespan including older adulthood, and addressing sensory and motor aspects of autism, as well as intellectual and communication disabilities.
- NIH Leadership News
- On November 9, 2023, Monica Bertagnolli, M.D. , began her appointment as the 17th Director of the NIH. Dr. Bertagnolli succeeds Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., who served as Acting Director of NIH since December 2021. Dr. Tabak has resumed his previous role as the NIH Principal Deputy Director. Dr. Bertagnolli has been at NIH since October 2022 and previously served as the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). As NIH Director, her key priorities include ensuring clinical trials yield the best results by increasing the diversity of participants, embracing the rapid expansion of new learning-based analytical tools and ensuring their use improves care for all people, and restoring trust in science by making it accessible to all communities and inspiring the next generation of doctors and scientists. In addition, Dr. Bertagnolli is committed to leveraging commonalities across all diseases—from biology to accessing care—to strengthen collaboration across the 27 NIH Institutes and Centers.
- On December 18, 2023, W. Kimryn Rathmell, M.D., Ph.D. , began her appointment as the 17th Director of NCI. Dr. Rathmell previously served as Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her translational research laboratory focused on the biology of kidney cancer and has yielded better ways to detect and treat cancer using molecular biomarkers. She succeeds Douglas Lowy, M.D., who served as Acting NCI Director between November 2023 and December 2023.
- On December 14, 2023, Lyric Jorgenson, Ph.D. , was appointed as the NIH Associate Director for Science Policy and the Director of the NIH Office of Science Policy. Dr. Jorgenson had served in this role in an acting capacity since April 2021. In this role, she will provide executive leadership to ensure that NIH policies evolve in tandem with rapidly advancing science and technology. During Dr. Jorgenson’s tenure as Acting Director, she led key NIH policy initiatives to transform clinical research to meet health challenges, promote and protect the security of the biomedical research enterprise, and maximize responsible data sharing to translate research into products that improve the health of all Americans.
- On October 26, 2023, Tara Schwetz, Ph.D. , was named as the NIH Deputy Director for Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, leading the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) in the NIH Office of the Director. Dr. Schwetz will lead DPCPSI in meeting its mission to identify emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, and scientific knowledge gaps that merit further research. She succeeds Robert Eisinger, Ph.D., who served as the Acting Director of DPCPSI since July 2022.
- On October 22, 2023, Katherine Klimczak, M.P.P. , began her appointment as the NIH Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis and Director of the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA). Ms. Klimczak will lead OLPA’s engagement efforts with Congress and coordinate legislative activities with HHS. She succeeds Lauren Higgins, who served as Acting Associate Director between February 2023 and October 2023.
- NIH-Wide Initiatives
- NIH Designates People with Disabilities as a Health Disparities Population: On September 26, 2023, Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, designated people with disabilities as a population with health disparities. The designation is one of several steps NIH is taking to address health disparities faced by people with disabilities and ensure their representation in NIH research. Simultaneously, NIH issued a funding opportunity to support research focused on novel and innovative approaches and interventions that address the intersecting impact of disability, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on health care access and health outcomes (PAR-23-209 ).
- Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) Program: The NIH Common Fund’s ComPASS Program is a first-of-its-kind community-led research program to study ways to address the underlying structural factors within communities that affect health. Dr. Gordon co-chairs the NIH Working Group responsible for this Program along with three other Institute and Office Directors. Through ComPASS, NIH recently funded 26 awards to community organizations and a coordinating center. Through these awards, ComPASS will enable research into sustainable solutions that promote health equity to create lasting change in communities across the country. Several examples of funded research include optimizing equity in maternal and infant health , supporting resilience among Indigenous populations , and improving access to mental and behavioral health services for Hispanic, low income, and rural populations.
- 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.
- All of Us awarded $30 million to researchers to establish the Center for Linkage and Acquisition of Data (CLAD) that will link new types of information (for example, health care claims, mortality data) to All of Us participant data to help researchers better understand the drivers of health and disease.
- On September 26, 2023, All of Us announced three awards totaling $1.5 million to institutions partnering with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Indigenous communities to advance health equity and precision medicine. The awards will support outreach and engagement with Tribal and Indigenous communities, strengthen the research infrastructure supporting AI/AN researchers, and broaden the base of researchers conducting cultural and ethical research with Tribal and Indigenous communities.
- On September 29, 2023, All of Us and the National Institute on Drug Abuse hosted a webinar , “Utilizing the All of Us Research Program for Substance Use and Mental Health Research,” which described how the All of Us Researcher Workbench can continue to support addiction and mental health research.
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative: The BRAIN Initiative® seeks to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain.
- On September 26, 2023, the BRAIN Initiative announced the launch of its third transformative project, BRAIN Initiative Connectivity Across Scales (BRAIN CONNECTS) . The initial round of BRAIN CONNECTS awards supports 11 grants projected to total $150 million over 5 years. This effort aims to develop the research capacity and technical capabilities to generate wiring diagrams that can span entire brains across multiple scales. BRAIN CONNECTS complements two ongoing transformative projects outlined in the BRAIN 2.0 report . Together, these projects aim to advance neuroscience research by illuminating the neural circuit basis of behavior and informing new approaches to the treatment of brain disorders.
- Researchers from the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) recently unveiled two major accomplishments. Investigators published detailed cell maps of the human brain and the nonhuman primate brain in a series of 24 papers, detailing the exceptionally complex diversity of cells in the brain and paving the way for a new generation of treatments. In another round of research outcomes from BICCN, researchers created a complete cell map of the mouse brain that appears in a series of 10 publications, describing the type, location, and molecular information of more than 32 million cells and providing data on connectivity between these cells.
- Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget: NIMH awarded 579 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY23 and achieved an overall success rate of approximately 22 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 99 unique early stage investigators and 180 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 FY23. NIMH awarded more than 85% of applications scoring in the 20th percentile or better.
- The figure below shows the NIMH budget in appropriated (current) versus constant (FY10) 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 FY10. From FY10 to FY23, NIMH has received an inflation-adjusted budget increase of 18%.
- Outlook for FY24: NIMH remains operating under a continuing resolution (CR) through March 8, 2024. While operating under a CR, non-competing grants will be awarded at levels below the committed amounts, typically at 90 percent. On January 7, 2024, lawmakers announced an agreement on FY24 topline funding levels: $886.3 billion for defense and $772.7 billion for nondefense programs. This agreement represents a flat budget for many nondefense programs. Lawmakers continue to negotiate funding levels for the 12 annual appropriation bills.
NIMH Staff News
- Staff Retirements
- On February 2, 2024, Ann Huston, M.P.A., NIMH Deputy Director of Management/Executive Officer, will retire from federal service. Ms. Huston contributed more than a decade of service to the NIMH community and more than 30 years of federal service overall. She provided strategic direction and management of the institute’s administrative functions, including oversight of the NIMH budget and over 1,600 staff, contractors, and students. Ms. Huston was an essential member of the NIH Executive and NIMH leadership teams and impacted program development, strategic planning, and operational excellence across all NIMH Divisions and Offices.
- Staff Transitions
- On October 4, 2023, NIMH announced the appointment of Gregory Greenwood, Ph.D., M.P.H., as Deputy Director of the NIMH Division of AIDS Research (DAR). As Deputy Director, he will oversee the development, direction, coordination, and evaluation of DAR programs and activities. Dr. Greenwood will also continue to serve as the Branch Chief of the Developmental and Clinical Neuroscience of HIV Prevention and Treatment Branch. Dr. Greenwood succeeds Pim Brouwers, Ph.D., who retired from federal service in August 2023.
Director’s Highlights: NIMH Scientists and Science
We are proud to recognize significant achievements and awards received by some of our current grantees.
- The White House awarded the following NIMH grantees with the National Medal of Science, the highest recognition the nation bestows on scientists and engineers:
- Huda Akil, Ph.D. (University of Michigan)
- Eve Marder, Ph.D. (Brandeis University)
- Several NIMH-supported researchers were honored at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in December 2023:
- Daniel Efron Research Award: Keri Martinowich, Ph.D. (Lieber Institute); Vikaas Sohal, M.D., Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco)
- Barbara Fish Memorial Award: Helen Mayberg, M.D. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai); Suzanne Haber, Ph.D. (Rochester University)
- Eva King Killam Research Award: Conor Liston, M.D., Ph.D. (Weill Medical College of Cornell University)
- Neuropsychopharmacology Editors’ Award for a Review (NEAR) Award: Diego Pizzagalli, Ph.D. (McLean Hospital); Angela Roberts, Ph.D. (Northwestern University)
- Two NIMH-supported researchers were honored by the Society for Neuroscience at its annual meeting in November 2023:
- 2023 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience: Michael Stryker, Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco)
- 2023 Peter Seeburg Integrative Neuroscience Prize: Eric Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)
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.
- Neurons are characterized by precise connections to other neurons and the genes they express. However, the relationship between these two factors may change across development and requires single-cell resolution and high throughput analysis across large areas of the brain to decipher. With support from the NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, Xiaoyin Chen, Ph.D. (Allen Institute), plans to use Barcoded Anatomy Resolved by Sequencing (BARseq) and retro-BARseq, two novel neuroanatomical approaches based on “ribonucleic acid (RNA) barcoding” that uniquely label individual neurons with random RNA signatures. These “RNA barcodes” allow researchers to track the location of an individual cell as it moves across brain regions. Investigators aim to use these methods in mice to characterize individual neurons that send projections from the cortex to the thalamus, a pathway that plays a role in cognition and learning. They intend to compare this anatomical information with the subsets of genes expressed naturally in these individual cells to identify which groups of neurons are stable–and which change–across development. Findings may suggest which genes determine neuronal connectivity in the thalamus, helping clarify how brain cells wire up during typical development and allowing investigators to later explore how this may impact risk for mental disorders.
- Eating disorders are serious, sometimes fatal, illnesses that affect nearly 30 million individuals in the United States—with onset most commonly in adolescence. The most common eating disorder, binge-eating disorder, is a condition where individuals lose control over their eating and have reoccurring episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food. With support from the NIMH Division of Translational Research, Jason Nagata, M.D., M.Sc. (University of California, San Francisco), seeks to explain the potential association between problematic social media use (for example, extensive use that disrupts sleep) and binge-eating disorder among adolescents. Dr. Nagata plans to leverage data from a diverse cohort of adolescents participating in the NIH-wide Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development® Study (ABCD Study®) to identify longitudinal associations, bidirectional relationships, and sensitive periods that link the two behaviors. Through this research, Dr. Nagata aims to identify windows for opportunity to prevent binge-eating disorder and inform guidance for social media use for adolescents, parents, and clinicians to mitigate adverse mental health risks and optimize wellbeing.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, many mental health care services were delivered via telehealth. The NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research is supporting several studies that seek to understand how and when telehealth is utilized and its impact on mental health outcomes. For example, Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., M.P.H. , and Haiden Huskamp, Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School), plan to examine Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance claims data to understand how different state laws and regulations influence the use of telehealth for mental health care and whether telehealth increased access to and quality of mental health care for minoritized populations. Jonathan Cantor, Ph.D. , and Ryan McBain, D.Sc. (RAND Corporation), plan to assess the availability of telehealth services across roughly 1,500 mental health treatment facilities across the country, and then later interview care providers to identify barriers and facilitators to telehealth use. Additionally, Lucinda Leung, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. (University of California Los Angeles), aims to examine population-level data to understand the influence of state telehealth policy on telehealth utilization and determine its impact on mental health outcomes. Collectively, these projects may generate insights needed to expand the reach of mental health interventions and services through extended telehealth availability.
- Current antiretroviral therapy does not completely eliminate HIV 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 and contribute to HIV-associated neurological disorders (HAND). With support from the NIMH Division of AIDS Research, Fatah Kashanchi, Ph.D. (George Mason University), seeks to test a highly innovative modular approach to produce long-term, stable silencing of HIV transcription by delivering antiviral modalities through extracellular vesicles to HIV-infected cells. These brain-derived extracellular vesicles are novel in that they can carry large cargos that target HIV in infected cells. Dr. Kashanchi will test if this method suppresses HIV expression long-term in the brain and ultimately inhibits HAND. This approach could offer a new platform for the delivery of therapeutically relevant RNAs to target cells and may help eliminate HIV from infected individuals.
For more information on these and other grants selected for funding, visit the NIH RePORTER website .
Featured Funding Opportunities and Initiatives
NIH electronically posts in the NIH Guide a listing of all NIH Notices of Funding Opportunities (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:
- Cellular and Molecular Biology of Complex Brain Disorders (PAR-24-024 , PAR-24-025 )
- Discovery of in vivo Chemical Probes for the Nervous System (PAR-24-088 )
- Social Disconnection and Suicide Risk in Late Life (PAR-23-238 , PAR-23-239 )
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.
- Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Mentorship (NOT-OD-24-001 )
- Neuromodulatory Control of Circuits Underlying Mental Health Relevant Behaviors (NOT-MH-24-100 )
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Priorities to Bridge Gaps in Advancing the NIMH Mission (NOT-MH-24-110 )
- Adopting Techniques and Tools Developed from the BRAIN Initiative Toward NIMH Strategic Research Priorities (NOT-MH-24-290 )
- Advancing Data Science Research in HIV: Responding to a Dynamic, Complex, and Evolving HIV Epidemic with Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (NOT-MH-23-350 )
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.
- Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET): Learning Health Care Research to Improve Mental Health Services and Outcomes; Data Coordinating Center (RFA-MH-24-105 , RFA-MH-24-106 )
- BRAIN Initiative: Marmoset Colonies for Neuroscience Research; Marmoset Coordination Center (RFA-MH-25-115 , RFA-MH-25-116 )
- Systems-Level Risk Detection and Interventions to Reduce Suicide, Ideation, and Behaviors in Youth from Underserved Populations (RFA-MH-25-125 , RFA-MH-25-126 )
- Streamlining Mental Health Interventions for Youth Living with HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (RFA-MH-25-140 )
- Bidirectional Influences Between Adolescent Social Media Use and Mental Health (RFA-MH-24-180 , RFA-MH-24-181 )
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 .
- Request for Information (RFI): BRAIN Initiative: Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization: Guidance for Opportunities in Development of Sensor Technology Hubs (NOT-MH-24-125 )
- Notice of Information: NIMH List of Human Genes Having Rare Variants with Strong Statistical Support for Association to Mental Health Traits (NOT-MH-24-370 )
- Consolidated Notice on NIMH Clinical Trials Policies (NOT-MH-23-375 )
- Notice of Clarification of NIMH Research Priorities for RFA-ES-23-007 "Exploratory Grants for Climate Change and Health Research Center Development (P20 Clinical Trial Optional)" (NOT-MH-23-385 )
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 Notices of Funding Opportunities may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects.
- NIH NeuroBioBank
- NIMH Repository and Genomics Resource for Advancing Psychiatric Genetics
- Optimizing Behavioral Sleep Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults
- Priority Research Opportunities in Crisis Response Services
- NIMH Reddit “Ask Me Anything” – Discussion with NIMH Leadership: On January 10, 2024, NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., and Deputy Director Shelli Avenevoli, Ph.D., participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussion on NIMH research priorities, progress made, and challenges ahead in the coming years.
- Workshop on Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) Policy: On January 4, 2024, NIMH and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research co-hosted a virtual workshop on the SABV policy for studies using nonhuman primates in neuroscience research. The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health developed the SABV policy based on the extramural community’s findings on the importance of sex in biology, health, and disease, with the primary motivation to advance and strengthen NIH-supported research. The workshop provided the neuroscience community an opportunity to discuss challenges and potential solutions for applying the SABV policy fairly and consistently to nonhuman primate studies. The discussions in the workshop will be used to help inform a guidance document that the scientific community may use to understand and apply the SABV policy to nonhuman primate studies.
- NIMH Intramural Research Program (IRP) Training Opportunities: The NIMH Office of Fellowship Training hosts virtual information sessions on training opportunities in the IRP on a recurring basis. On December 5, 2023, the most recent session highlighted training programs for undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. Participants learned about research conducted in IRP laboratories and had the opportunity to network with current NIMH trainees.
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG) North America Workshop 2023: On November 8–9, 2023, the NIMH IRP hosted the MEG North America Workshop to increase collaboration and communication between researchers and clinicians. Over 80 participants from the United States and Canada competed in a MEG data analysis-focused hackathon and took part in a Human Neocortical Neurosolver course, working groups, and various scientific talks.
- Childhood Irritability: On November 7, 2023, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on childhood irritability featuring Melissa Brotman, Ph.D., Chief of the Neuroscience and Novel Therapeutics Unit in the NIMH IRP. Dr. Brotman discussed symptoms of irritability, the importance of studying irritability, NIMH-supported research in this area, and new treatments for severe irritability in youth. Dr. Brotman answered questions from the public, including how the COVID-19 pandemic affected rates of childhood irritability, how irritability can contribute to behavioral problems at home and school, and how teachers and school staff can provide support for students with irritability.
- NIMH 2023 Global Mental Health Conference: On October 30–November 1, 2023, NIMH hosted its 12th Global Mental Health Conference, “Research Without Borders ,” on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, along with co-sponsors Grand Challenges Canada, Wellcome Trust, and the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders. The event brought together researchers, innovators, and scholars from around the globe to highlight cutting-edge science and explore new opportunities for groundbreaking research. Participants attended workshops across various research tracks, took part in poster sessions, and enjoyed networking opportunities. In addition, NIMH and its co-sponsors celebrated inaugural recipients of the Visionary Innovators Shaping Tomorrow’s Advancements (VISTA) awards, which recognize early career global mental health leaders who continue to push the boundaries of knowledge through groundbreaking ideas, discoveries, and perspectives.
- Social Connection: An Eye to the Past, Present, and Future: On October 26, 2023, the NIMH Division of Extramural Activities hosted Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., psychology and neuroscience professor and director of the Social Connection and Health Lab at Brigham Young University, as a guest speaker in the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. In the hybrid seminar, Dr. Holt-Lunstad discussed the health impacts of having or lacking social connection. During the session, she highlighted the scope of the issue, evidence of health implications, and challenges and opportunities for translating this evidence into practical solutions and policy.
- 2023 NIMH James S. Jackson Memorial Award Lecture: In 2021, NIMH launched the James Jackson Memorial Award, named in honor of the late Dr. James Jackson, a member of the NAMHC and renowned social psychologist whose research had far-reaching impacts on the fields of disparities research and minority mental health. On October 25, 2023, Lisa Bowleg, Ph.D., M.A., the 2023 James Jackson Memorial Award recipient, presented her research in a hybrid lecture. Dr. Bowleg’s work focuses on social-structural and behavioral factors that impact the mental and physical health of Black men in the United States at diverse intersections of socioeconomic status and sexuality.
- NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research (CGMHR) Webinar Series: Throughout 2022 and 2023, CGMHR offered a series of webinars to inform researchers about NIH structure and grant processes and enhance global mental health research capacity. On September 20, 2023, CGMHR hosted a webinar on “Real-World Opportunities and Challenges: Using NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Framework in Global Mental Health Research.” NIMH staff introduced NIMH's RDoC framework and two research groups presented their work which incorporates RDoC approaches globally.
- Youth Suicide Prevention: On September 19, 2023, in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, NIMH hosted a Facebook Live event on youth suicide prevention. During the event, NIMH experts Lisa M. Horowitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., pediatric psychologist and senior associate scientist in the NIMH IRP, and Stephen O’Connor, Ph.D., Chief of the Suicide Prevention Research Program, led a discussion on how to talk to youth about suicide risk, how to identify the warning signs of suicide, risk factors for suicide, and NIMH-supported research on interventions for youth suicide prevention.
- Ultrasound Neuromodulation for Mental Health Applications: On September 14–15, 2023, NIMH hosted a virtual workshop on the use of focused ultrasound neuromodulation techniques in mental health research. During the event, experts in psychiatry, neurostimulation, physics, device regulation, and engineering presented individual talks and participated in panel discussions. The workshop aimed to share the latest findings and best practices of focused ultrasound neuromodulation, including biophysical, physiological, and clinical considerations, the regulatory pathway for using ultrasound neuromodulation as a treatment, experimental planning and design, and techniques to optimize target engagement.
- NIMH 75th Anniversary Kickoff Event: On September 13, 2023, NIMH kicked off its 75th Anniversary celebration with a full-day symposium , “The Evolution of Mental Health Research,” that drew over 400 in-person attendees and more than 1,300 live views. The event celebrated NIMH’s commitment to advancing brain and mental health research over the past 75 years and looked ahead to continued progress and innovation. Event highlights included remarks from NIH and NIMH leadership, presentations from scientific experts spotlighting exciting breakthroughs in mental health research, panel discussions featuring thought leaders in genetics, imaging, systems neuroscience, services, and interventions, and posters highlighting work from the NIMH IRP.
- NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) Webinar Series: The ODWD webinar series provides a forum for program officials, trainees, researchers, policymakers, and clinicians interested in or conducting research on mental health disparities, particularly among women, minoritized populations, and individuals in rural settings.
- On September 21, 2023, ODWD hosted a webinar on “Engaging Community Stakeholders to Reduce Mental Health Inequities in the Hispanic Community.” This webinar explored the impact and significance of engaging community stakeholders in developing culturally responsive interventions, the need for implementation science to improve mental health care uptake in Hispanic communities, and the importance of bridging the gap between implementation science and health disparities research to address health care inequities in communities that have historically been marginalized.
- On September 12, 2023, ODWD hosted a webinar on “Coming Face to Face With Suicide in American Farming.” Researchers presented a brief fact book about suicide and American farming that emphasizes the diversity present in farming and ranching. Discussion topics included critical protective and risk factors in addition to the clinical opportunities and challenges in suicide prevention research in the agriculture community.
Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Activities
Electronic Grant Application Submission News
- Clarification of Implementation of the NIH Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Pre- and Post-Award Requirements: NIH has revised previously published guidance (NOT-OD-23-139 ) for competing applications submitted for funding under the NIH, CDC, and FDA SBIR and STTR programs. The revised guidance (NOT-OD-24-029 ) states that NIH, CDC, and FDA will not mitigate security risks identified as part of the due diligence program. All other portions of NOT-OD-23-139 remain applicable.
- Updated Instructions on Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Costs: Effective for applications submitted for due dates on or after October 5, 2023, NIH will no longer require the use of the single DMS cost line item (NOT-OD-23-161 ). NIH recognizes that DMS costs may be requested in many cost categories. Therefore, in line with the standard budget instructions, DMS costs must be requested in the appropriate cost category, including personnel, equipment, supplies, and other expenses.
NIH-Wide Grant News
- Review Integrity and Bias Awareness Training: Effective with the May 2024 Council round and beyond, all NIH reviewers will be required to complete “Review Integrity” and “Bias Awareness and Mitigation” training modules prior to participating in NIH review meetings governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which represents >90% of NIH’s yearly review meetings (NOT-OD-23-156 ). The “Review Integrity” training module raises awareness of actions that breach review integrity and provides tools to prevent and report them, and the “Bias Awareness and Mitigation” training module raises awareness of potential biases in the peer review process and provides strategies to mitigate them. The trainings, which were developed by the NIH Center for Scientific Review, will need to be completed once every three years.
- Simplifying Review of Research Project Grant (RPG) Applications: On October 19, 2023, NIH announced a new framework for the peer review of most RPG applications beginning with submissions for due dates on or after January 25, 2025 (NOT-OD-24-010 ). The simplified framework is designed to enable peer reviewers to better focus on answering the key questions necessary to assess the scientific and technical merit of proposed research projects, mitigate the effect of reputational bias, and reduce reviewer burden by shifting policy compliance activities to NIH staff. Please visit the NIH webpage on Simplifying Framework for Peer Review Criteria for Research Grants for additional background information, frequently asked questions, and resources.
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 1–2, 2023, NIH honored the recipients of the 2023 OSNAP Program. Twenty-two awardees, including senior graduate students and junior postdoctoral trainees from North America, shared their science in brief presentations and poster sessions.
NIMH’s Director’s Messages provide insights into the latest topics in mental health research. As a part of NIMH’s 75th anniversary throughout the coming year, NIMH Director Dr. Gordon is inviting a range of guest contributions from NIMH divisions, offices, and teams for the Director’s Messages, each focusing on a different aspect of NIMH’s broad mission:
- Inspiring, Training, and Supporting the Next Generation of Researchers (January 25, 2024): In this guest-written Director’s Message, staff from the NIMH Training Team detailed how it plays a pivotal role in training the next generation of researchers.
- Supporting HIV Research From Cell to Society (December 1, 2023): In this guest-written Director’s Message, staff from the NIMH Division of AIDS Research detailed NIMH's investments in HIV research over the past four decades.
- Going Global: Advancing Mental Health Research Around the World (November 15, 2023): In this guest-written Director’s Message, the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research and Global Mental Health Team highlighted NIMH-supported advances that span continents, transcend boundaries, and transform lives.
- NIMH’s Infrastructure Investments: Paving the Road to Discovery (October 18, 2023): In this guest-written Director’s Message, the Director of the NIMH Division of Data Science and Technology described the three core components of infrastructure they oversee that move forward the mental health research funded by NIMH.
- From Lab to Clinic: The Power of Translational Research for Mental Health (September 18, 2023): In this guest-written Director’s Message, staff from the NIMH Division of Translational Research discussed past successes, current projects, and future directions of this critical area of work.
Here is the latest NIMH science-related news, including press releases, research highlights, feature stories, and institute announcements:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Alters Brain Activity in Children With Anxiety (January 24, 2024)
- Researchers Expand Understanding of Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Fragile X Syndrome (January 18, 2024)
- NIMH Hosts 75th Anniversary Symposium (January 11, 2024)
- Using Games to Explore the Mind (January 9, 2024)
- Disparities in Psychotic Disorder Diagnoses and Other Negative Health Outcomes (January 3, 2024)
- Magnetic Seizure Therapy as Effective as Electroconvulsive Therapy for Treating Depression (December 18, 2023)
- Scientists Unveil Complete Cell Map of a Whole Mammalian Brain (December 13, 2023)
- The Ups and Downs of Bipolar Disorder (December 12, 2023)
- Life Beyond Anorexia Nervosa (December 5, 2023)
- High School Students Invited to Reflect on Mental Health Stigma in National Essay Contest (December 4, 2023)
- NIMH Creates Division of Data Science and Technology (November 29, 2023)
- Saving Lives Through the Science of Suicide Prevention (November 13, 2023)
- Emergency Department Intervention Reduces Adult Suicide Risk (November 3, 2023)
- Cracking the Ketamine Code (October 27, 2023)
- Helping People with Serious Mental Illness Quit Smoking (October 24, 2023)
- Scientists Unveil Detailed Cell Maps of the Human Brain and the Nonhuman Primate Brain (October 12, 2023)
- NIH Launches Community-Led Research Program to Advance Health Equity (September 28, 2023)
- Combined, High Maternal Stress and Prenatal COVID-19 Infection May Affect Attention Span in Infants (September 27, 2023)
- RAISE-ing the Standard of Care for Schizophrenia: The Rapid Adoption of Coordinated Specialty Care in the United States (September 25, 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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