Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Utilizing Invasive Recording and Stimulating Opportunities in Humans to Advance Neural Circuitry Understanding of Mental Health Disorders

Notice Number: NOT-MH-20-022

Key Dates

Release Date: June 12, 2019
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement: October 26, 2019
First Estimated Application Due Date: January 28, 2020
Earliest Estimated Award Date: October 28, 2020
Earliest Estimated Start Date: November 28, 2020

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) intends to publish a series of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to solicit applications for research utilizing invasive recording and stimulating opportunities in humans to advance neural circuitry understanding of mental health disorders.

The FOA is expected to be published in October 2019 with an expected application due date in January 2020. This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

FOAs will be published for the following activity codes: R01, R21.

Research Initiative Details

Invasive neural recordings provide an unparalleled window into the human brain to explore the neural circuitry underlying complex moods, emotions, and behaviors with high spatial and temporal precision. Additionally, the ability to stimulate, via the same electrodes, allows for direct causal tests by modulating network dynamics. Understanding what circuits are involved in complex behaviors in humans, and how to manipulate the circuits into preferred states, can inform both invasive and non-invasive brain stimulation therapies for mental health disorders.

This initiative aims to target a gap in the scientific knowledge of neural circuits related to mental health disorders. Research related to this initiative may include, but is not limited to, studies of:

  • Acute intra-operative recordings from single unit or strip electrodes. Mood evaluations or mental health relevant behavioral tasks that can be completed in the operating rooms should be included.

  • Sub-acute recordings from the epilepsy monitoring unit or related situations. Patients with electrocorticography (ECoG) or stereo-electroencephalography (sEEG) electrodes could participate in a variety of tasks, depending on the placement of electrodes (e.g., amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, or anterior cingulate cortex). Mood variations could be assessed using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and other digital health tools to correlate mood fluctuations with neural circuitry changes. Researchers could stimulate portions of the network to assess the effect on network dynamics and behavior.

  • Chronic recordings from recording/stimulating deep brain stimulating (DBS) systems. Patients implanted for a clinical indication, either for a mental health disorder or not, can participate in research aimed at exploring relevant networks. Assessments of networks stability and responses to perturbations, along with their relationship to dense and long-term behavioral measures, can be included.

  • Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)-based circuit assessments. Researchers could use RDoC-inspired paradigms in the above clinical scenarios to assess the relevant neural circuits at a higher spatial and temporal precision than possible with non-invasive measures.

Funding Information

Estimated Total Funding $2 Million
Expected Number of Awards 5
Estimated Award Ceiling TBD
Primary CFDA Numbers 93.242

Anticipated Eligible Organizations

Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Nonprofit without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

David McMullen
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)