Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

August 12, 2021

First Available Due Date:
October 05, 2021
Expiration Date:
September 08, 2024

Related Announcements

PA-20-183 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)

PA-20-185 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-200 - NIH Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-195 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-272 - Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional)

Issued by

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The purpose of this notice is to encourage collaborative research applications that take advantage of opportunities outside of the United States. Applications examining all areas of NIDA-supported research addressing the causes, consequences, treatment, recovery, and prevention of drug use, misuse, and addiction are encouraged. Projects may be conducted through newly formed or well-established partnerships between investigators in a U.S.-based institution and scientists working in another country. All NIH grant applications for research to be conducted outside the United States must establish that the proposal takes advantage of unique research opportunities in other countries, speeds scientific discovery, and advances U.S. health science.


The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies have documented how significant increases in drug use and substance use disorders (SUD) contribute to morbidity and mortality. For example, between 1990 and 2017, drug-related age-standardized Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) rates nearly tripled in the United States. By 2040, The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) data predicts that drug-related mortality will be among the top 10 causes of death in Australasia, Eastern Europe, and high-income North America. The World Drug Report identified 269 million people who used drugs in 2018, with 35.6 million people diagnosed with a SUD; however, only 1 in 8 people who needed treatment for SUD had access to treatment services. The 2020 report called for international cooperation to improve research, data collection, training programs, and implementation of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions.

SUDs are complex disorders involving disruption of brain circuits involved in reward, decision-making, learning, and self-control. They are mediated by complex biological, social, environmental, and developmental factors that dynamically interact to influence risk, trajectory, and outcomes. Understanding this complexity will require drawing upon multiple disciplines across biomedicine, including neuroscience, genetics/epigenetics, behavioral and social sciences, development research, and information sciences. Technological advances over the past several years in neuroimaging, optogenetics, gene editing technology, epigenomics, and other innovations are giving us the ability to probe this complexity in entirely new ways, as in the application of Big Data science to elucidate the biology related to addiction. Data harmonization encourages data and resource sharing and permits comparisons within and across localities, regions, and nations, increasing scientific rigor, reproducibility, and real-world relevance of research.

Research findings from one country can have important implications for other countries providing data to improve best practices in drug use and addiction policy, prevention, and treatment. Continuing research into implementation of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions in settings with limited resources is applicable to both international settings and those U.S. regions that face similar structural, legal, or fiscal constraints. Applications should address the potential of proposed research for advancing domestic U.S. public health and international partners must provide talent, resources, populations, or other resources not readily available in the United States. NIDA is committed to supporting health equality and building a strong, diverse, multidisciplinary scientific workforce in the United States and abroad. Leveraging the global network of scientific experts on addiction will help NIDA ensure that we all learn from one another’s successes and failures, advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.

Research Objectives

Substances that are of high priority:

  • Cannabis, including commonly used forms of marijuana; flower, resin, extracts, purified cannabinoids, and especially cannabidiol and their use, routes of administration, consequences, impacts of changing laws and policies, and potential therapeutic benefits or harms
  • Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), particularly synthetic opioids including fentanyl and its analogues, or other NPS entering wide use
  • Opioids (prescription opioids, heroin, synthetic opioids, injection and non-injection use)
  • Psychostimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine, and other amphetamine-type stimulants)
  • Inhalants
  • Tobacco and nicotine (including e-cigarettes and vaping).

Basic Research on Neuroscience and Biology

  • Integrate and coordinate human and animal research on the substrates of addiction across scales from molecular to societal and across the trajectory of use from initiation to recovery.
  • Research using neuroimaging, genomics, and behavioral assessments to identify biomarkers of addiction-related behavior, diagnosis, and prognosis.

Epidemiology, Intervention, and Implementation Research

  • Epidemiology and intervention research that incorporates substance use and co-occurring or syndemic conditions, even when substance use is not the only defining risk (serious mental disorder, trauma, interpersonal violence, material and financial insufficiencies, racial/ethnic or sexual and gender minorities, criminal justice involvement).
  • Epidemiological studies to provide timely information on drug trends and inform the development of evidence-based interventions for preventing and treating substance misuse.
  • Big Data analysis and statistical modeling techniques, which can be used to predict vulnerabilities, delineate meaningful comorbidity patterns, and improve understanding of the complex determinants and consequences of SUD to:
    • Develop more personalized preventive interventions
    • Identify novel risk and protective factors for addiction and its consequences
    • Deploy prevention interventions at key points of vulnerability, such as during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood.
  • New addiction treatments, such as:
    • Medication development for treating addiction, reversing overdose, and mitigating the symptoms of withdrawal
    • Telemedicine and mobile health care, such as ReSET and ReSET-O, the first FDA-approved mobile applications for behavioral treatment of SUD and opioid use disorder (OUD)
    • Devices that alter neural activity for addiction treatment, such as trans-cranial magnetic stimulation for SUD.
  • Implementation science research for SUD treatment and prevention in:
    • Health care settings (e.g., health care systems, primary care offices, hospitals, and emergency rooms)
    • Justice settings (e.g., jails, prisons, community corrections)
    • Community settings (e.g., schools, youth-serving organizations; syringe service programs).

Policy Research

  • Research on the impact on public health and well-being of global, national-, state/provincial/district-, and systems-level policies related to drug use and SUD
  • Studies to increase strategic partnerships within communities, support evidence-based decision-making, and improve the translation of research into policy and practice.

Recovery Research

Research related to:

  • Recovery impact of changes in health care system and peer-led recovery organizations
  • Interventions to support sustained recovery, based on behavioral, cognitive, and/or neurobiological mechanisms underlying recovery
  • Sex and gender contributions to individual recovery trajectories
  • Recovery for youth and young adults
  • Translational research on recovery
  • Social network support in SUD recovery.

Linkages between HIV/AIDS and drug use

  • HIV/AIDS applications should address how they are responsive to NIH AIDS Priorities
  • Use of NIH-sponsored networks such as the International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS is encouraged where the networks can support proposed research objectives.
  • HIV/AIDS applications should consider populations where substance use and abuse are common but not the only defining risk (e.g., men who have sex with men, transgender persons).
  • HIV/AIDS applications should address national plans and UNAIDS Strategies and include linkage to PEPFAR and Global Fund strategies in countries where those initiatives are present.

Per the NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS) in Chapter, adding a foreign component under a grant to a domestic or foreign organization requires NIH prior approval. For general information about foreign grants, see NIHGPS Chapter 16.

This notice applies to due dates on or after October 5, 2021 and subsequent receipt dates through September 8, 2024.

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

PA-20-183: NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)

PA-20-185: NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-200: NIH Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-195: NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-272: Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include NOT-DA-21-064 (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the Scientific/Research, Peer Review, and Financial/Grants Management contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements.

Lindsey Friend
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

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