Request for Information (RFI) on the Proposed Funding Priorities for Neuroscience Research, Input on High Impact and Cross-Cutting Opportunities (NIH Neuroscience Blueprint)

Notice Number: NOT-NS-15-020

Key Dates
Release Date:  April 1, 2015
Response Date: May 25, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

Purpose

The National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (Blueprint) is a collaboration among 15 participating NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices that support research on the nervous system.  The Blueprint’s goal is to accelerate discovery in neuroscience research, and this Request for Information (RFI) seeks input from the scientific community on how the Blueprint might best do so in the future. Responses to this RFI should suggest how future Blueprint investments can have broad impact in neuroscience and serve the interests of more than one of the Blueprint Institutes listed above. The Blueprint invites input from stakeholders including but not limited to researchers in academia and industry, healthcare professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific and professional organizations, Federal agencies and other interested members of the public. Organizations are encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of the organization as a whole. NIH Blueprint would like respondents to use the website NIH-Blueprint-Responses.

Background

Neuroscience research is a unifying theme across many NIH Institutes and Centers. Sixteen participating Institutes and Centers launched the Blueprint in 2004 to provide a framework for coordinating research, and developing tools and resources that broadly advance neuroscience research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/). By pooling resources and expertise, the NIH Blueprint is taking advantage of economies of scale and confronting challenges too large for any single NIH Institute or Center.

Previous NIH Blueprint Resources, Tools, Training, and Grand Challenges

The Blueprint has supported the development of new research resources, tools, and training. Some examples include the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC), the NIH Toolbox, and the NIH Blueprint Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Experiences (ENDURE). In 2009, the Blueprint launched Grand Challenges to catalyze research with the potential to transform our basic understanding of the brain and our approaches to treating brain disorders. These Grand Challenges included the Human Connectome Project to map the connections of the healthy brain, the Grand Challenge on Chronic Neuropathic Pain to understand the changes in the nervous system that cause acute, temporary pain to become chronic, and the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network to help investigators develop new drugs for nervous system disorders.

The NIH Blueprint was one of the inaugural sponsors of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative NeurotechnologiesSM (BRAIN) Initiative, and has focused a large portion of its funding and efforts in 2014 and 2015 on the initial high priority research areas established by the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director BRAIN Working Group.

The following website provides an overview of previous and current NIH Blueprint activities: http://www.neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/

Information Requested

The Blueprint is considering how best to invest its funds in future fiscal years. Please note that while the NIH BRAIN Initiative is concerned with the development and application of innovative technologies for interrogating circuit activity in the nervous system, the NIH Blueprint focuses more broadly on all aspects of research on the nervous system that have the potential to transform our basic understanding of the brain and our approaches to treating brain disorders.

Keeping in mind that the Blueprint is interested in ideas that are broadly relevant across multiple diseases and disorders across the missions of the 15 participating NIH Institutes and Centers, responses to this RFI may take the following areas into consideration. Comments can include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • The major impediments to advancing neuroscience research that are not addressed by current research programs.  
  • The major opportunities for advancing neuroscience research that are not well served by current research programs. Research opportunities where   Blueprint investment would have the highest impact for neuroscience.
    • Your comments can include how these opportunities lead to a quantum leap in basic, translational, and/or clinical neuroscience.
  • Identify ideas for research programs that would address these opportunities or impediments. Programs should be cross-cutting and benefit the broad neuroscience community, or address multiple diseases and disorders of the nervous system, including disorders of hearing, vision, aging, neurology, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as brain development and degeneration and gender differences. These might relate to:
    • Specific high impact scientific questions that could best be answered by a Blueprint Grand Challenge;
    • Research resources that would be of high value to a broad neuroscience community;
    • Programs to address cross-cutting issues such as:
      • training the next generation of neuroscientists,
      • computational neuroscience research,
      • increasing diversity of the neuroscience workforce,
      • dissemination of neuroscience tools to improve health outcomes,  
      • behavioral approaches to symptom and self-management of neuro/mental/substance abuse disorders,
      • biomarkers that  a) correlate with the symptoms, and b) mirror the biologic processes underlying neuro/mental/substance abuse disorders,
      • neuroethics research,
      • neuroscience policy research.
    •  Development of neurotechnologies to advance a broad spectrum of neuroscience.

How to Submit a Response

All comments must be submitted electronically to: NIH-Blueprint-Responses. Responses to this RFI will be accepted through May 25, 2015. You will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individualized feedback on any suggestions.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future planning activities and funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may appear in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Meghan Mott, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone:  301-596-4470
Email: nihblueprint@nih.gov

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