Understanding Circuits


The BRAIN Understanding Circuits program encompasses a family of "Integrated and Quantitative Approaches to Understanding Circuits" funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). These FOAs range from small or exploratory, targeted brain circuits projects with specific research deliverables (R34, R01) to large, team-research projects with exploratory aims (U01) or with extensive and elaborated goals and a 5-10 year horizon of discovery (U19). 

Understanding Circuits


Exploratory Projects
to establish feasibility/validity

Research Projects
toward extensive, elaborated goals

Individual Lab or Small Multi-PI team

Multi-Component, Team-Research Science


Theories, Models and Methods of Analysis of Complex Data-TMM (R01, 3-yr)


All FOAs in this family of initiatives emphasize the use of cutting-edge methods of activation and recording to understand the behavior of circuits at cellular and sub-second levels of spatial and temporal resolution. All FOAs welcome basic research using human or non-human animal subjects. This family of initiatives also seek advances in theory and/or analytics and have a requirement of a data standards and management plan, as well as a data dissemination plan to facilitate use of the results by the research community.

Data Consortium 

Data science experts from the BRAIN Understanding Circuits projects will participate in a data science consortium with the goals of:

  1. Identifying common data science tools and resources
  2. Collaborating on best practices for multi-modal data integration
  3. Sharing exploratory efforts to pilot optimal workflows for model-driven investigative research

Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS)

The Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS), a joint program of NSF and NIH since 2002, has supported integration of theoretical and experimental neuroscience through collaborative research projects typically involving two to five senior investigators.

Related NIH Notice:

One of the scientific priority areas of BRAIN, identified in the BRAIN 2025 report, is to produce conceptual foundations for understanding the biological basis of mental processes through development of new theoretical and data analysis tools. Given the shared goals between CRCNS and BRAIN, the NIH has brought some CRCNS awards into BRAIN, to further the mission of both endeavors.



For questions and/or to share a draft of your aims:
Email: BRAINCircuits@nih.gov

For questions about “Theories, Models and Methods for Analysis of Complex Data from the Brain”
Email: BRAINTheoriesFOA@ninds.nih.gov