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NIMH Moves Forward to Allocate Additional Research Funding

April 29, 2009

Overall, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes $10.4 billion in additional funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will be receiving a proportionate share of these funds to allocate over the next two years.  In order to meet this strict deadline, NIMH (as well as all other NIH institutes and centers) will be allocating funds into three major groups:  supplemental grants, "Grand Opportunity" grants and "Challenge Grants."

An overview of NIMH's role in ARRA funding is available on the NIMH website  and read more from the NIMH Director.

  1. Supplemental Grants – NIMH will be able to use stimulus funds to supplement existing research grants for basic scientific and clinical research.  These funds will be allocated on a competitive basis.  Applications for these supplemental grants were due on April 21.  More information about supplemental grants is available on the NIMH website.  
  2. NIMH will also be funding new "Grand Opportunity" grants for "high impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term, non-renewable funding, and may lay the foundation for new fields of investigation." These are expected to focus on grants proposals that have already been submitted to NIMH, gone through peer review, but not funded.  In other words, these grants expected to be meritorious science that NIMH was not able to fund in recent years because of budget constraints.  This is perhaps the most exciting area of ARRA funding and NIMH expects to prioritize research on genomic profiling of serious mental illness, neurodevelopment genomics, and sequencing and profiling for gene expressions of brain development. More information on the Grand Opportunity grants is available on the NIMH website.
  3. Challenge Grants – NIMH will be directing ARRA funds to certain Challenge Grants as part of priorities established across the entire NIH based "specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways.'  Overall, the NIH is allocating $200 million over the next two years for these Challenge Grants.  NIMH has selected a broad range of priorities including:  behavioral research, bioethics, biomarker discovery, comparative effectiveness research, enabling technologies, genomics, health disparities, stem cell research and translational research.  Letters of intent from researchers were submitted on April 27.  More information on the NIMH Challenge Grant initiative can be found on the NIMH website.