Notice of NIMH Changes to the RDoC Matrix: Scope and Limitations of NIMH Support of the New Sensorimotor Domain

Notice Number: NOT-MH-18-053

Key Dates
Release Date:October 2, 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


NIMH is issuing this Notice to inform potential applicants of the addition of a Sensorimotor Domain to the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) matrix, and to clarify the scope and limitations of NIMH support for projects within this domain.

The essence of RDoC is to identify organizing dimensions that cut across multiple psychiatric disorders as traditionally defined, and to promote research according to these dimensions, complementing traditional diagnostic categories that addresses both psychological and biological theory and phenomena. The RDoC matrix depicts functional domains of behavior that are relevant to mental disorders and provides a framework for future research on psychopathology. RDoC plans to recognize the importance of motor dysfunction in psychiatric disorders by adding a Sensorimotor Domain to the matrix. The primary goal of this change is to stimulate clinical research in this neglected area. NIMH will be accepting applications focused on motor processes and systems only in the context of human psychopathology. All such applications should be directed to programs within the Division of Translational Research.

NIMH will not be changing its priorities within the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Sciences (DNBBS). Although NIMH supports basic, mechanistic neurobiological studies within the areas of cognition, affect, social and regulatory processes, NIMH will not accept applications designed primarily to investigate basic neurobiological questions related to motor function in animals or healthy human subjects. Topics related to motor function that fall outside of the purview of DNBBS/NIMH include, but are not limited to: motor actions, motor learning, motor habits, and innate motor patterns


Please direct all inquiries to:

For inquiries related to the Division of Translational Research, please contact:

Marjorie Garvey, MB, BCh.
Telephone: 301-443-5944

For inquiries related to the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, please contact:

Janine M. Simmons, M.D., Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-443-6652