NIH has re-issued Requests for Applications (RFAs) for the NIH BRAIN Initiative that focus on the development of new tools for understanding brain cell types and circuits, technology to monitor neural activity, precision interventional tools, and tools for the advancement of human neuroscience.
NIH recently released four funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for fiscal year 2017 to support work in the BRAIN Initiative®. One FOA is the third re-issue of a series of RFAs aimed at developing new tools and technologies that will inform and/or exploit cell-type and/or circuit-level specificity. Two additional FOAs are re-issues that support research in non-invasive neuromodulation – either through development of new tools or improving understanding of current devices. A fourth FOA, which is a re-issue from the 2016 fiscal year, provides researchers another opportunity to submit projects that support transformative discoveries that will lead to breakthroughs in understanding human brain function.
The first announcement, RFA-MH-17-220, is a re-issue of RFA-MH-16-775 for the development and validation of novel tools to facilitate the detailed analysis of complex circuits and provide insights into cellular interactions that underlie brain function. The development of new genetic and non-genetic tools for delivering genes, proteins, and chemicals to cells of interest or approaches that are expected to target specific cell types and/or circuits in the nervous system with greater precision and sensitivity than currently established methods are encouraged. This FOA supports tools that can be used in a number of species/model organisms and encourages approaches that break through existing technical barriers to substantially improve current capabilities. The receipt date for this RFA is November 2, 2016.
The next two announcements, RFA-MH-17-245, and companion announcement, RFA-MH-17-240, which are re-issues of RFA-MH-16-815 and RFA-MH-16-810, address non-invasive neuromodulation. MH-17-245 seeks projects to better understand how existing non-invasive neuromodulation devices affect brain circuity. This information should shed light on dose/response relationships that could be used for neuroscience applications and clinical interventions. MH-17-240 supports the development and testing of novel tools and methods of neuromodulation that go beyond the existing variations on magnetic or electrical stimulation, and that represent more than an incremental advance over existing approaches. The receipt date for both RFAs is November 23, 2016.
The fourth announcement, RFA-MH-17-235, is a re-issue of RFA-MH-16-750 and specifically seeks to support efforts that will revolutionize our understanding of the biological activity underlying, and bioinformatic content of, data collected using contemporary non-invasive functional brain imaging techniques. The hope is that these transformative discoveries will lead to breakthroughs in understanding the dynamic activity of the human brain. The receipt date for this RFA is November 23, 2016.