New and Reissued Funding Opportunity Announcements for Fiscal Year 2020: Neural Recording, Modulation, and Stimulation

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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. Today’s post highlights four awards that support neural recording, modulation, and stimulation in animals and humans. These FOAs promote the development, improvement, and understanding of novel methods for large-scale monitoring and manipulation of neural activity.

The first three FOAs below aim to enhance our knowledge of the brain by funding research to develop and apply tools for neural recording, modulation, and stimulation. The awards build upon one another but intend to fund separate projects. Proposed projects should involve invasive and/or non-invasive in vivo technologies useable in behaving animals (vertebrates and invertebrates), and eventually humans. Applications should include plans to develop new large-scale recording methods, develop tools for circuit manipulation, and/or link brain activity to behavior.

RFA-EY-18-001 New Concepts and Early-Stage Research for Large-Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (Reissue of RFA-EY-17-002; R21)

This FOA encourages the generation of entirely new, unique, and untested ideas for innovative technologies in a very early stage of conceptualization. This award can also support calculations, simulations, and computational models for showing that technologies are theoretically capable of large-scale recording in behaving animals and/or humans. Funding can be used to test prototypes and prepare tools for proof-of-concept testing. This FOA seeks scientists and engineers outside of the neuroscience field to apply. Applications are due on May 1, 2020, and October 29, 2020.

RFA-NS-18-020 New Technologies and Novel Approaches for Large-Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (Reissue of RFA-NS-17-003; R01)

This FOA supports proof-of-concept testing and the development of new technologies and approaches for large-scale neural recording and modulation. Specifically, this award encourages applicants to creatively address major challenges in this area of research. Proposed projects are expected to be high-risk and can incorporate a wide range of modalities, including optical, magnetic, and genetic recording/manipulation. Applications are due on May 1, 2020, and October 29, 2020.

RFA-NS-18-019 Optimization of Transformative Technologies for Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (Reissue of RFA-NS-17-004; U01)

This FOA aims to optimize existing and emerging technologies related to recording and manipulating neural activity at or near cellular resolution, at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and in any brain region. This award is intended for the refinement of tools that have already gone through proof-of-concept testing. Funding can support hardware/software development and the broad dissemination of tools into regular neuroscience practice. The application receipt dates are May 1, 2020, and October 29, 2020.

Rather than funding tool development and optimization, this last award aims to fund research on the biological effects and underpinnings of novel invasive and non-invasive technologies that stimulate, inhibit, modulate, or record neural activity.

RFA-NS-20-006 Biology and Biophysics of Neural Stimulation and Recording Technologies (Reissue of RFA-NS-18-018; R01)

This FOA seeks applications in two related but distinct areas: (1) To systematically characterize, model, and validate the membrane, cellular, circuit, and adaptive biological responses of neuronal and non-neuronal cells to various types of stimulation technologies, and (2) To understand the biological and bioinformatic content of signals recorded from neuronal and non-neuronal cells and circuits. Funding can support experiments designed to characterize responses in several model systems, including in vitro, animals, and humans. Applications are due on March 24, 2020, June 2, 2020, and October 1, 2020.


BRAIN Update FOA 2020 human neuro
BRAIN Initiative vision for tool development, optimization, and dissemination.


Interested in applying? If so, please consult the scientific/research contact listed at the end of each FOA to ensure that proposals align with funding objectives.

Please visit the BRAIN Initiative’s Funding Opportunities webpage for more details on these and other awards. Did you miss earlier posts this week on the 2020 FOAs? If so, please visit the main BRAIN Update blog webpage here.