BRAIN issues new funding opportunity for the development of cutting-edge tools to understand the neural basis of behavior in humans

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Circular logo with a wiring diagram shaped like a brain surrounded by various animal species used in research

This funding opportunity, with the next due date of February 17, 2023, supports the development of next-generation tools to quantify complex behaviors and integrate them with simultaneous recordings of brain activity in humans. 

Since 2014, The BRAIN Initiative® has aimed to accelerate the development and application of innovative neurotechnologies that enable researchers to understand the human brain. A major gap in our understanding of the human brain is a paucity of tools to better link patterns of neural activity to patterns of behavior. Establishing a clearer causal link between neural activity and behavior will ultimately lead to new ways to treat and prevent brain disorders.  

The National Institutes of Health recently issued the BRAIN Initiative: Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization (BBQS) (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Optional) [RFA-MH-22-240] to support the development of cutting-edge tools for simultaneous, multimodal measurement of behavior within complex environments and integration of these tools with simultaneously recorded brain activity in humans. 

Interested in learning more about this funding opportunity announcement (FOA)? Register today for the BBQS pre-application and technical assistance webinar on September 22, 2022. The registration deadline for this virtual event is September 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Zoom links will be sent to all registrants on September 21, 2022. If you want to learn more about BBQS, please visit the BBQS website for previous workshop recordings. 

Research that is appropriate for this funding opportunity include but is not limited to: 

  • Development of hardware and/or software tools that advance novel methods to capture and quantify multiple dimensions of behavior in real time 

  • Development of hardware and/or software tools to advance environmental sensing (e.g., Internet of Things [IoT]) and/or to improve integration of contextual measures with measures of behavior 

  • Novel application and/or utilization of existing smart hardware technologies (e.g., phones, wearable technology) to capture dynamic behavior and/or to integrate behavioral and physiological measures at the same time scale 

  • Development of less obtrusive, ambulatory devices that are wireless (e.g., no backpack), that have longer term and high storage capacity (e.g., memory or power consumption that allows for sampling across days as opposed to intermittently) to achieve a higher temporal resolution and/or usage across temporal scales (e.g., from milliseconds to days) 

  • Development and validation of reliable tools that can passively obtain objective measures that accurately reflect or predict subjective or internal mental states 

  • Development of novel approaches that integrate passive measures of behavior with subjective reports of individuals’ internal states (e.g., subjective mood or cognitive state using ecological momentary assessments [EMAs]) 

  • Development of novel approaches to integrate multiple data modalities and/or data streams (e.g., integration of peripheral biophysiological measures with complex behaviors) 

  • Development of novel analytic tools and approaches (e.g., ML/AI methods) focused on behavioral quantification and/or novel conceptual or computational frameworks that incorporate integration/synchronization of multi-modal data streams 

This FOA requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) as part of the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the FOA instructions carefully and view the PEDP guidance material. Participants can submit their applications starting on January 15, 2023. The next application due date is February 17, 2023. For more information, please view the full FOA RFA-MH-22-240