BRAIN re-issues neuroethics funding opportunity

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Colorful pathways in a human brain.

The funding opportunity will support efforts addressing core ethical issues associated with research focused on the human brain and resulting from emerging technologies and advancements supported by the BRAIN Initiative.

The NIH BRAIN Initiative Neuroethics program helps to identify and navigate ethical challenges and implications of neuroscience research programs and discoveries, and to facilitate neuroscience progress. Beginning in FY2017, the NIH began funding neuroethics research, and has recently re-issued a funding opportunity:

RFA-MH-21-205 Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science (Reissue of RFA-MH-19-400; R01; Clinical Trial Optional)

This FOA is intended to support efforts addressing core ethical issues associated with research focused on the human brain and resulting from emerging technologies and advancements supported by the BRAIN Initiative. It encourages research project grant applications from multi-disciplinary teams focused on key ethical issues associated with BRAIN Initiative supported research areas. Efforts supported under this FOA are intended to compliment and integrate into the transformative, breakthrough neuroscience discoveries made possible by the BRAIN Initiative.

The Advisory Council to the Director Working Group on BRAIN 2.0 Neuroethics Subgroup identified several broad areas for the BRAIN Initiative to consider as suggested next steps:

  • Enhance integration of neuroscience and neuroethics
  • Provide additional tools and resources for neuroscientists to recognize neuroethics issues and opportunities for neuroethics research
  • Assess the development and use of innovative animal and neural-circuit model systems
  • Establish guidelines for the neuroscience data ecosystem that address data capture, storage, sharing, and translation to humans and society
  • Initiate conversations and collaborations to address neuroscience applications beyond biomedical and clinical contexts

In addition to these broad areas, several specific neuroethics topics remain central to the cutting-edge research supported through the BRAIN Initiative. Topics relevant to this FOA include, but are not limited to:

  • Research participant engagement, special populations, and social implications
  • Data collection/storage/sharing and model systems

In an effort to foster diversity and inclusivity in neuroscience research, this FOA (among most upcoming BRAIN FOAs) will require a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) as part of the application.

For more information, please see the full FOA. The next application receipt dates are October 13, 2021, October 11, 2022, and October 11, 2023.