Request for Information (RFI): Adding a Motor Systems domain to the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) matrix

Notice Number: NOT-MH-17-001

Key Dates
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Response Date: November 3, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is interested in gathering expert advice regarding the addition of a new domain, Motor Systems, to the RDoC matrix (  As a part of this effort the NIMH seeks input about potential constructs in the Motor Systems domain based on extant research and tests with known validity to measure such constructs.


The NIMH launched the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative as an interdisciplinary framework for understanding and studying mental disorders. The RDoC framework is organized as a matrix, which currently includes five domains with associated dimensional constructs. The initial development of the RDoC matrix was the collaborative effort of leading scientists across multiple workshops to articulate and define the knowledge for each of the five domains (those workshops are highlighted here:
The National Advisory Mental Health Council has convened a Council Workgroup charged with the task of considering potential changes to the RDoC Matrix. This Workgroup is currently considering the addition of a Motor Systems domain to the matrix. In keeping with the process used to develop the existing RDoC domains, the Workgroup is seeking input on the suitability of the addition of the Motor Systems domain and recommendations of constructs to be included in the domain.

Constructs represent validated behavioral functions, existing along a normal to abnormal spectrum, which are supported by a neural circuit or network, can be studied across a dimension, and are dysfunctional in one or more forms of psychopathology. They provide a biobehavioral scaffolding for the study of functions and deficits across a spectrum of psychopathology and across the health-illness dimension. Examples for the motor system could include praxis (skilled movement), motor inhibition, and volition. The focus of this effort will be on defining motor-related constructs relevant to the study of primary mental illnesses (as opposed to motor abnormalities found in neurological disorders such as Parkinson Disease).

Information Requested

This RFI seeks input from stakeholders from the scientific research community and the general public. The NIMH seeks comments on any or all of, but not limited to, the following topics: 
1. The suitability of adding a Motor Systems domain to the RDoC matrix
2. Nominations for constructs (i.e. motor functions) to be included in the Motor Systems domain, including any information related to the criteria listed below:

a. Name of construct:
b. Definition:
c. Criteria:
i. Evidence/information indicating that it is readily measurable in humans
ii. Evidence/information indicating that it is impaired in one or more mental disorders
iii. Evidence/information about any available animal models
iv. Evidence/information indicating that there is a clear link to a specific neural circuit or network
v. Tasks or measures of such constructs, where possible


All responses must be submitted electronically by November 3, 2016, in the form of an email to, using the subject ‘RDoC Motor Domain.’

Responses to this RFI Notice are voluntary. Submitted information will not be considered confidential. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individual stakeholders. This request is for information and planning purposes and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation of the Federal Government or NIMH. No awards will be made based on responses to this RFI. The information submitted will be analyzed and may be used for planning purposes. You will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individualized feedback on your submission. No proprietary, classified, confidential and/or sensitive information should be included in your response. The NIH and the government reserve the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any future solicitation(s).

We look forward to your input and encourage you to share this announcement with your colleagues.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Jenni Pacheco, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health