Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS) NSFInnovative Approaches to Science and Engineering Research on Brain Function

Notice Number: NOT-MH-18-003

Key Dates
Release Date: October 31, 2017  

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


This Notice announces the reissue of a joint initiative, Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS), among six National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorates and Offices (DOs), and nine participating National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers (ICs). 

The CRCNS announcement is released under NSF 18-501 ( This announcement supersedes NSF 16-607: Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS) – Innovative Approaches to Science and Engineering Research on Brain Function. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF, the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR, the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, are now formal partners in this program, along with NSF and the NIH. At NIH, CRCNS is now affiliated with the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (

Computational neuroscience provides a theoretical foundation and a rich set of technical approaches for understanding complex neurobiological systems, building on the theory, methods, and findings of computer science, neuroscience, and numerous other disciplines.

Through the CRCNS program, NSF, NIH, BMBF, ANR, BSF, and NICT support collaborative activities that will advance the understanding of nervous system structure and function, mechanisms underlying nervous system disorders, and computational strategies used by the nervous system.

Two classes of proposals will be considered in response to this solicitation:

Research Proposals describing collaborative research projects; and

Data Sharing Proposals to enable sharing of data and other resources.

Domestic and international projects will be considered. As detailed in the solicitation, international components of collaborative projects may be funded in parallel by the participating agencies. Specific CRCNS opportunities for parallel funding are available for bilateral US-German Research Proposals, US-German Data Sharing Proposals, US-French Research Proposals, US-French Data Sharing Proposals, US-Israeli Research Proposals, US-Israeli Data Sharing Proposals, US-Japanese Research Proposals, US-Japanese Data Sharing Proposals, and multilateral proposals involving the United States and 2 or more partnering countries (Germany, France, Israel, and/or Japan; please see Section VIII of the solicitation for country-specific instructions and limitations).

Appropriate scientific areas of investigations may be related to the interests of any of the participating funding organizations. Questions concerning a particular project’s focus, direction and relevance to a participating funding agency should be addressed to the appropriate person in the list of agency contacts in the NSF Program Solicitation (NSF 18-501,


The computational research supported under this program must have impact on, and relate to biological processes, and optimally generate hypotheses that are testable in biological studies. It is expected that: (1) applications will include collaborations among computational and/or modeling experts, theorists, and experimental neuroscientists; (2) collaborations will involve a dynamic and, possibly, a protracted period of model or theory development and refinement, and intense interaction among scientists and engineers from different disciplines; (3) the development and testing of new models or theories will provide a framework for the design of experiments and the generation of new hypotheses that can help reveal mechanisms underlying normal or disease states of the nervous system, and (4) the development and distribution of professional quality software tools (e.g., modeling algorithms and analytic tools).

NSF will coordinate and manage the review of proposals jointly with participating domestic and foreign funding organizations, through a joint panel review process used by all participating funders. Additional information is available in the NSF Program Solicitation (NSF 18-501,

Applications submitted in response to this solicitation may not duplicate or be substantially similar to other applications concurrently under consideration by other programs or study sections across agencies, including NIH investigator-initiated ‘parent’ FOAs or NIH BRAIN Initiative FOAs. Duplicate or substantially similar applications will be returned without review.


Award Information

Award sizes for research projects are expected to range from approximately $100,000 to $250,000 per year in direct costs, with durations of three to five years. Many awards will be on the smaller end of this range; no award will exceed $250,000 per year in direct costs. Applicants are strongly discouraged from requesting greater budgets than are necessary for the activities being proposed. It is estimated that data sharing projects will range from approximately $25,000 to $100,000 in cumulative award size for a one- to three-year project. Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size and duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Upon conclusion of the review process, meritorious applications may be recommended for funding by either the participating NSF DOs or NIH ICs, at the option of the agencies, not the applicant. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

Eligibility Information

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Collaborator: 2

In response to this solicitation, an investigator may participate as PI or Collaborator in no more than two proposals per review cycle. In the event that a PI or Collaborator does appear in either of these roles on more than two proposals, all proposals that include that person as a PI or Collaborator will be returned without review. This limit applies to all PIs and Collaborators, based inside or outside of the United States.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

Applications submitted in response to this announcement should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Applications must be submitted to the NSF, not to the NIH. The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: Applicants are reminded to identify the announcement number (NSF 18-501) in the program announcement block on the NSF Cover Sheet for Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this announcement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

Budgetary Information
Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited in proposals submitted to NSF under this solicitation. Budgets should include travel funds for the PI and team members to attend an annual CRCNS Principal Investigators' meeting.

NIH Process
For those proposals that are selected for potential funding by participating NIH ICs, the PI will be required to resubmit the proposal in an NIH-approved format directly to the Center for Scientific Review ( of the NIH. PIs invited to resubmit to NIH will receive further information on resubmission procedures from the NIH. An applicant will not be allowed to increase the proposed budget or change the scientific content of the application in the resubmission to the NIH.  The applicants will be expected to utilize the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator option at the NIH ( as appropriate. These NIH applications will be entered into the NIH IMPAC II system. The results of the review will be presented to the involved IC's National Advisory Councils for the second level of review. Subsequent to the Council reviews, NIH ICs will make their funding determinations and selected awards will be made. Subsequent grant administration procedures for NIH awardees, including those related to New and Early Stage Investigators ( will be in accordance with the policies of NIH. Applications selected for NIH funding will use the NIH R01 funding mechanism.


Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  Please see the NSF program announcement for names and contact information for each of the participating NSF DOs and/or NIH ICs at