The NIH BRAIN Initiative funds research on investigative human neuroscience through the Research Opportunities in Humans (ROH) program. This program provides support for research projects focused on investigative neuroscience with intracranial access to recording and manipulating the brain directly.
Investigations within the human brain offer revolutionary, but challenging, opportunities for experimental investigation in how the human brain senses, thinks, perceives, remembers, plans, registers emotions, activates movements, engages language, and makes decisions. By leveraging surgical procedures with direct access to the brain, there is the opportunity to design experiments specifically about human neuroscience in ways that are both uniquely human and otherwise impossible. While fundamental basic research often provides insights relevant to disorders of the nervous system, this program is not intended to generate research that is explicitly disease therapeutic.
The ROH program also considers the neuroethical considerations that go with recruiting patients to participate in experimental procedures that go beyond the therapeutic standards of care to benefit advances in human neuroscience, but not their personal medical needs. Medical risks must be minimized and managed along with proper informed consent for recruitment.
The NIH BRAIN Initiative funding opportunities for investigative human neuroscience studies range from projects with exploratory aims (R61, 3-year, RFA-DC-24-001) to team-research projects with extensive and elaborated goals (U01, 5-year, RFA-NS-22-041). The R61 will support exploratory research and planning activities to establish feasibility, proof-of-principle, and early-stage development that, if successful, would lay the groundwork for a potential, subsequent U01.
Team-research projects with established feasibility can be submitted directly to the U01. These funding opportunities are part of a larger NIH BRAIN Initiative Understanding Circuits program that encompasses a family of “Integrated and Quantitative Approaches to Understanding Circuits” grant mechanisms.
Awardees from the Investigative Human Neuroscience funding opportunities collaborate in a Research Opportunities in Humans Consortium work group, coordinated by the NIH, to identify consensus standards of practice as well as supplemental opportunities to collect and provide data for ancillary studies, and to aggregate and standardize data for dissemination among the wider scientific community.
For questions or to share a draft of your aims:
Exploratory Research on Humans (R61)
Research on Humans (U01)