This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports Specialized Projects to develop current or emerging technologies to generate comprehensive atlases of brain connectivity, with an emphasis on human, non-human primate (NHP), and mouse. Projects validating approaches using other species are also permitted if well justified. Applications may address any aspects of the data collection, analysis, and dissemination pipelines, to enable faster and more cost-effective generation and interpretation of brain-wide wiring diagrams. Projects will offer distinct capabilities and competencies aimed at developing and optimizing current technologies or entirely new and potentially risky approaches. They will be integrated into the BRAIN CONNECTS Network, consisting of other Specialized Projects from this FOA, and Comprehensive Centers from its companion announcements, as a coordinated effort aimed at developing wiring diagrams that can span entire brains across multiple scales.
Notices of Funding Opportunities
National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs), requests for applications (RFAs), program announcements (PAs), and other NIH Guide announcements are listed below. Search this page to find all notices of special interest (NOSI). Search the Closed Opportunities page to find expired opportunities.
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(Reissue of RFA-NS-18-030) This FOA solicits applications for research projects that use innovative, methodologically-integrated approaches to understand how circuit activity gives rise to mental experience and behavior. The goal is to support projects that can realize a meaningful outcome within 5 years. Applications should address circuit function in the context of specific neural systems such as sensation, perception, attention, reasoning, intention, decision-making, emotion, navigation, communication or homeostasis. Projects should link theory and data analysis to experimental design and should produce predictive models as deliverables. Projects should aim to improve the understanding of circuits of the central nervous system by systematically controlling stimuli and/or behavior while actively recording and/or manipulating dynamic patterns of neural activity. Projects can use non-human and human species, and applications should explain how the selected species offers ideal conditions for revealing general principles about the circuit basis of a specific behavior.
(Reissue of RFA-NS-18-014 and RFA-NS-21-014) This R34 FOA solicits applications that offer a limited scope of aims and an approach that will establish feasibility, validity, or other technically qualifying results that, if successful, would support, enable, and/or lay the groundwork for a potential, subsequent Targeted Brain Circuits Projects - TargetedBCP R01, as described in the companion FOA (RFA-NS-22-026). Applications should be exploratory research projects that use innovative, methodologically-integrated approaches to understand how circuit activity gives rise to mental experience and behavior.
Reissue of RFA-MH-19-135 The purpose of this Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is to encourage applications that will develop and validate novel tools to facilitate the detailed analysis and manipulation of complex circuits and provide insights into cellular interactions that underlie brain function. Critical advances in the treatment of brain disorders in human populations are hindered by our lack of ability to monitor and manipulate circuitry in safe, minimally-invasive ways. Clinical intervention with novel cell and circuit specific tools will require extensive focused research designed to remove barriers to delivery of gene therapies. In addition to identification and removal of barriers, the need to specifically target dysfunctional circuitry poses additional challenges. Neuroscience has experienced an impressive influx of exciting new research tools in the past decade, especially since the launch of the BRAIN Initiative. However, the majority of these cutting edge tools have been developed for use in model organisms, primarily rodents, fish and flies. These cutting edge tools, such as viral delivery of genetic constructs, are increasingly adaptable to large brains and more importantly are emerging as potential human therapeutic strategies for brain disorders. A pressing need to develop tools for use in large brains, more directly relevant to the human brain is the focus of this initiative. The new tools and technologies should inform and/or exploit cell-type and/or circuit-level specificity. Plans for validating the utility of the tool/technology will be an essential feature of a successful application. The development of new genetic and non-genetic tools for delivering genes, proteins and chemicals to cells of interest or approaches that are expected to target specific cell types and/or circuits in the nervous system with greater precision and sensitivity than currently established methods are encouraged.
Reissue of RFA-MH-20-128 This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits applications to develop standards that describe experimental protocols that are being conducted as part of the BRAIN Initiative. It is expected that applications will solicit community input at all stages of the process. It is recommended that the first step of standard development will involve sharing data between different key groups in the experimental community in order to ensure that the developing standard will cover the way that all of those groups are collecting data. The developed standard is expected to be made widely available.
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The overarching goal of this Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nations biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs in research areas relevant to the BRAIN Initiative. To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Courses for Skills Development and Research Experiences. The purpose of this FOA is to encourage applications for the continuation and/or expansion of ongoing and new research education programs that will significantly advance the educational goals of the BRAIN Initiative as described in BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision including neuroethics and opportunities to increase the workforce diversity in BRAIN Initiative research areas. Proposed programs are expected to offer hands-on research experiences, an in-depth conceptual understanding of the techniques and tools employed, and the knowledge to apply appropriate analytic approaches to the resulting data. Participants are limited to undergraduate, graduate/medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral scholars, and/or early-career faculty with an emphasis on diversity as defined by NIH (NOT-OD-20-031). Proposed programs will facilitate the development of a sophisticated cadre of future investigators with the knowledge and skills to apply BRAIN Initiative techniques and approaches and data resources (BRAIN cell census data https://bicon.org/data) to research questions about brain function and behavior. Programs appropriate for this FOA must include participants from a regionally/nationally recruited cohort.
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage investigators to pursue a small clinical trial to obtain critical information necessary to advance recording and/or stimulating devices to treat central nervous system disorders and better understand the human brain (e.g., Early Feasibility Study). Clinical studies supported may consist of acute or short-term procedures that are deemed Non-Significant Risk (NSR) by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), or Significant Risk (SR) studies that require an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the FDA, such as chronic implants. The clinical trial should provide data to answer key questions about the function or final design of a device. This final device design may require most, if not all, of the non-clinical testing on the path to more advanced clinical trials and market approval. The clinical trial is expected to provide information that cannot be practically obtained through additional non-clinical assessments (e.g., bench top or animal studies) due to the novelty of the device or its intended use. Activities supported by this Funding Opportunity include a small clinical trial to answer key questions about the function or final design of a device. As part of the BRAIN Initiative, NIH has initiated a Public-Private Partnership Program (BRAIN PPP) that includes agreements (Memoranda of Understanding, MOU) with a number of device manufacturers willing to make such devices available, including devices and capabilities not yet market approved but appropriate for clinical research. In general it is expected that the devices' existing safety and utility data will be sufficient to enable new IRB NSR or FDA IDE approval without need for significant additional non-clinical data. For more information on the BRAIN PPP, see http://braininitiative.nih.gov/BRAIN_PPP/index.htm
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage investigators to pursue translational activities and small clinical studies to advance the development of therapeutic, and diagnostic devices for disorders that affect the nervous or neuromuscular systems. Activities supported in this program include implementation of clinical prototype devices, non-clinical safety and efficacy testing, design verification and validation activities, obtaining an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) for a Significant Risk (SR) study, as well as a subsequent small clinical study. The clinical study is expected to provide information about the device function or final design that cannot be practically obtained through additional non-clinical assessments (e.g., bench top or animal studies) due to the novelty of the device or its intended use. This FOA is a milestone-driven cooperative agreement program and will involve participation of NIH program staff in negotiating the final project plan before award and monitoring of research progress.
Reissue of RFA-NS-19-011: The purpose of the NIH Blueprint and BRAIN Initiative Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from backgrounds that are nationally underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers.