New and Reissued Funding Opportunity Announcements for Fiscal Year 2020: Data Science, Training, Neuroethics, and Small Business

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This week, a series of daily blog posts will highlight 28 new and reissued BRAIN Initiative funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for 2020. For the past five years BRAIN-funded scientists have developed astounding new technologies to study neural circuits, enabling a better understanding of the brain and complex disorders. Next year’s awards will accelerate the pace of neuroscience discovery by building upon this work and expanding the scope of the BRAIN Initiative. Today’s post focuses on data science, training, neuroethics, and small business opportunities.


The NIH recently announced 29 BRAIN Initiative funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for 2020. Four new FOAs have been issued, and 24 have been reissued. These awards span across all seven BRAIN priority areas: from developing and validating innovative tools for studying cells and circuits to mapping the brain across species and advancing human neuroscience.

Data Science

RFA-MH-20-120 Secondary Analysis and Archiving of BRAIN Initiative Data (R01)

This new FOA aims to support secondary analysis or data mining of large quantities of data associated with the BRAIN Initiative. Specifically, investigators can enhance the value of existing data by harnessing novel data analytic methods, data science techniques, and machine learning approaches. These data do not have to be held in a BRAIN Initiative archive but must be in an archive that is easily accessible to the scientific community. Applications are due on June 11, 2020.

RFA-MH-19-147 Integration and Analysis of BRAIN Initiative Data (Reissue of RFA-MH-17-257; R01)

This FOA solicits applications to develop software to analyze, visualize, and integrate data as part of the BRAIN Initiative’s effort to build an informatics infrastructure. As part of a larger infrastructure (supported by RFA-MH-19-146 and RFA-MH-19-145) awardees under this award are expected to work together to integrate data visualization and analysis tools into data repositories. Collaborations with scientists from other disciplines are encouraged. The application receipt dates are March 6, 2020 and September 9, 2020.


RFA-MH-18-510 BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Reissue of RFA-MH-17-250; F32)

This FOA seeks to enhance the research training of promising postdoctoral scientists who are conducting work in BRAIN Initiative research areas. Applications that align with any of the BRAIN Initiative research priority areas are encouraged, including neuroethics. This program encourages individuals who have not yet completed their terminal doctoral degree and who expect to do so within 12 months of the application receipt date to apply. The application due date is August 7, 2020.

RFA-NS-19-044 BRAIN Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Required); RFA-NS-19-043 (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

This FOA aims to enhance workforce diversity in neuroscience and foster a strong cohort of highly skilled, well-trained independent investigators working on BRAIN Initiative research. This program is intended for members of underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. Please see the new NIH Notice of Interest in Diversity for details. Also, please note that the BRAIN K99/R00 receipt dates differ from the Parent K99/R00 standard receipt dates. Applications for the BRAIN K99/R00 are due on February 10, 2020; June 10, 2020; and October 9, 2020. Resubmissions are due March 10, 2020July 10, 2020; and November 10, 2020.  

RFA-NS-19-006 Research Resource Grants for Technology Integration and Dissemination (Reissue of NS-18-005; U24)

This FOA aims to accelerate the impact of the BRAIN Initiative by rapidly disseminating already developed and validated technologies and resources to the broader neuroscience research community. Proposed techniques and resources should be at a well-validated stage; proposals focused solely on technology development are not applicable to this FOA. The application receipt dates are February 27, 2020 and November 27, 2020.


RFA-MH-19-400 Research on Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology & Brain Science (Reissue of RFA-MH-18-500; R01)


The purpose of this FOA is to support research addressing core ethical issues associated with research focused on the human brain and resulting from emerging technologies and advancements supported by the BRAIN Initiative. Applications are due on October 9, 2020.

Small Business

PA-18-871 (SBIRDevelopment Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research (Reissue of PAR-18-501; R43/R44); PA-18-870 (STTR) (Reissue of PAR-18-515; R41/R42)

This pair of small business FOAs support the development of novel tools and technologies through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. In addition to tool development, these FOAs encourage the commercialization of neurotechnologies. Funding can support the refinement of tools and technologies with the end-goal of escalating manufacturing and integrating them into regular neuroscience practice. Applications for either award are due January 5, 2020; April 5, 2020; and September 5, 2020.

RFA-NS-18-022 Next-Gen Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human CNS (Reissue of RFA-NS-17-007; SBIR U44)

This FOA encourages investigators involved in small business to pursue translational and clinical projects focused on using recording and/or stimulating neural devices in humans via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Funding can support non-clinical testing and one small clinical trial designed to assess the function and final design of a device prior to more advanced clinical trials and market approval. Projects must focus on a single disorder that falls within the mission of the BRAIN Initiative. The application receipt dates are February 21, 2020; June 22, 2020; and October 21, 2020.

Please visit the BRAIN Initiative’s Funding Opportunities webpage for more details on these and other FOAs.