August 31, 2021
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
The purpose of this Notice is to inform applicants to Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative, Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) of a new requirement to include diverse perspectives in proposed research. In BRAIN Initiative FOAs that specify, applicants will be required to include a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP). Applicants should review the instructions of each BRAIN Initiative FOA to determine if a PEDP is required. When a PEDP is required, applications submitted without such a plan will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to review. Evaluation of the application's PEDP will be a component of review and will be part of the scorable review criteria.
BRAIN Initiative Overview
Since 2014, The BRAIN Initiative® has aimed to accelerate the development and application of innovative neurotechnologies, enabling researchers to produce a new dynamic picture of the brain that reveals how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. It is expected that these advances will ultimately lead to new ways to treat and prevent brain disorders.
As one of several federal agencies involved in the BRAIN Initiative, NIH's contributions to the BRAIN Initiative were initially guided by "BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision," a strategic plan that detailed seven high-priority research areas. This plan was updated and enhanced in 2019 by: "The BRAIN Initiative 2.0: From Cells to Circuits, Toward Cures" and "The BRAIN Initiative and Neuroethics: Enabling and Enhancing Neuroscience Advances for Society." This and other BRAIN FOAs are based on this vision and issued with input from Advisory Councils of the 10 NIH Institutes and Centers supporting the BRAIN Initiative, as assisted by the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group and the Neuroethics Working Group.
Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives
The NIH BRAIN Initiative recognizes that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse scientific workforce, including fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the research, advancing the likelihood that underserved populations participate in and benefit from research, and enhancing public trust.
Examples of structures that promote diverse perspectives may include but are not limited to:
The BRAIN Initiative® has implemented a new requirement that will require applicants to submit a “Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives" (PEDP) as part of the grant application. Applicants should consult the BRAIN Initiative FOA to determine whether a PEDP is required.
A PEDP is a set of strategies that will advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project through inclusivity. Broadly, diverse perspectives refer to the people who do the research, the places where research is done, as well as the people who participate in the research as part of the study population. Within the Research Strategy section, applicants are expected to integrate approaches that advance inclusivity and impact the significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and/or environment. A PEDP summary is required as an “Other Attachment” and allows applicants to provide an integrated view of how enhancing diverse perspectives is supported throughout the application. For details, applicants should refer to the FOA.
For FOAs where a PEDP is required, applications submitted without such a plan will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn prior to review. The plan will be part of the scored application and will be considered when funding decisions are made. The goal is to encourage investigators, institutions and organizations, and the research community broadly to consider how diverse perspectives advance the proposed study aims and are integral to the research performed. Just as each project is different, it is anticipated that each plan will be unique and vary depending on the content and structure of the scientific aims, the expertise required, the environment, and the performance site(s).
For further information and for guidance on developing a PEDP, visit the BRAIN Initiative PEDP webpage.
NIH BRAIN Initiative
Office of the BRAIN Director