Notice Number: NOT-MH-17-048
Release Date: September 1, 2017
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
This Notice encourages eligible awardees in the BRAIN Initiative community to apply for administrative supplements in response to PA-16-288, "Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research." The NIH has a strong interest in the diversity of the NIH-funded workforce (see NOT-OD-15-053 and NOT-OD-15-089 for details) and encourages institutions to diversify their student populations by enhancing the participation of individuals from groups identified as nationally underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences.
The BRAIN Initiative 2025 report stated that "the BRAIN Initiative should be a catalyst that will drive outstanding young people to enter this area at their most creative career stage." The NIH diversity supplement offers an opportunity for existing BRAIN awardees to request additional funds to train and mentor the next generation of researchers from underrepresented groups who will contribute to advancing the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. Among U.S. citizens at U.S. institutions, the percentage of neuroscience trainees from underrepresented groups declines from the graduate (14%) to the postdoctoral level (9%), and to 5% of the neuroscience tenure-stream faculty (2011 Survey Report of Neuroscience Departments and Programs). Based on data in the recently published 2015 Survey of Earned Doctorates, 15% of the U.S. citizens earning PhDs in neuroscience or neurobiology that year were from underrepresented groups, suggesting relatively little change in the diversity of neuroscience graduate students in the first half of this decade.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PI) of active BRAIN Initiative research program grants are thus encouraged to identify individuals from nationally underrepresented groups for support and mentorship under the auspices of this administrative supplement. Individuals from the identified groups are eligible throughout the continuum from high school to the faculty level. The activities proposed in the supplement application must fall within the scope of the parent grant, and both advance the objectives of the parent grant and support the research training and professional development of the supplement candidate. BRAIN Initiative PIs are strongly encouraged to incorporate training activities that will help prepare the supplement candidate to conduct rigorous research relevant to the goals of the BRAIN Initiative 2025 Report.
Educational goals for the NIH component of the BRAIN Initiative (see BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision) include acquisition of quantitative skills, the appropriate use and integration of newly developed tools, technologies and methods developed under the BRAIN Initiative, and consideration of the ethical implications of neuroscience research. The BRAIN 2025 Report notes that individuals should obtain robust grounding in quantitative reasoning, principles, and techniques during their training. A special focus is training in quantitative neuroscience, i.e., theory and statistics for biologists, and exposing physicists, engineers and statisticians to experimental neuroscience. The BRAIN 2025 Report strongly encourages scientists to cross traditional areas of expertise to conduct interdisciplinary research, and acknowledges the need to attract investigators and faculty recruits to neuroscience from quantitative disciplines, e.g., statistics, computer science, physics, mathematics, and engineering.
Applicants are requested to state, as the first sentence of the Research Strategy, that the parent grant was awarded as a BRAIN Initiative award, and to state the specific FOA of the parent grant (e.g., RFA-NS-16-006). Inclusion of this information will facilitate processing of the supplement application.
In some cases, a diversity supplement may be submitted to a multiple-PD/PI (MPI) BRAIN Initiative award that is awarded to a foreign institution. Specifically, a diversity supplement may be submitted if the supplement candidate meets the eligibility criteria specified in PA-16-288, and will work with a subaward MPI at a domestic institution. Potential applicants are encouraged to confirm eligibility with the Program contact listed below.
BRAIN diversity supplement awardees, as appropriate for the duration of their support and career stage, are strongly encouraged to participate in annual PD/PI meetings and in other activities. Applicants may request funds, in addition to the research costs specified in PA-16-288, to enable the supplement candidate to attend the annual PD/PI meeting in the Washington, DC area. This request for additional funds should be reasonable and well justified in the application.
Before submitting an application, applicants are encouraged to review the supplemental guidance for BRAIN Initiative diversity supplement applications on the NIH BRAIN Initiative web site. Consultation with the Program Official for the qualifying BRAIN award or the individual named under Inquiries below is also strongly encouraged to confirm candidate eligibility and to obtain technical assistance.
Supplement applications will be evaluated by the BRAIN Initiative research training committee, a committee of Program staff from the Institutes and Centers participating in the NIH BRAIN Initiative. Applications will be considered according to the following schedule:
Application Due Date Funding Decision
October 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017 January 30, 2018
December 2, 2017 to February 15, 2018 March 31, 2018
February 16, 2018 to April 15, 2018 May 30, 2018
April 16, 2018 to June 15, 2018 July 30, 2018
For tracking purposes, applicants are encouraged to inform Dr. Nancy Desmond via email (BRAIN.Initiative.Training@nih.gov) when a diversity supplement application is submitted. Please include the PD/PI name and grant number in the subject line of this email.
Please direct all inquiries to:
Nancy L Desmond, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)