February 4, 2022
PA-20-185- NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-20-184 - Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)
PA-20-196 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)
PA-21-235 - NIMH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-20-194 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Required)
PA-21-219 - Joint NINDS/NIMH Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
PA-20-200 - NIH Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-21-155 - Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-20-093 - Silvio O. Conte Centers for Basic Neuroscience or Translational Mental Health Research (P50 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-175 - Understanding and Modifying Temporal Dynamics of Coordinated Neural Activity (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-176 - Understanding and Modifying Temporal Dynamics of Coordinated Neural Activity (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-22-066 - Basic Neurodevelopmental Biology of Circuits and Behavior (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-22-067 - Basic Neurodevelopmental Biology of Brain Circuits and Behavior (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-19-344 - Explainable Artificial Intelligence for Decoding and Modulating Neural Circuit Activity Linked to Behavior (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-129 - Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions (Collaborative R01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-130 - Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions (R01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-131 - Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions (R34 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-132 - Confirmatory Efficacy Clinical Trials of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Mental Disorders (R01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-133 - First in Human and Early Stage Clinical Trials of Novel Investigational Drugs or Devices for Psychiatric Disorders (U01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-134 - Development of Psychosocial Therapeutic and Preventive Interventions for Mental Disorders (R33 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-135 - Development of Psychosocial Therapeutic and Preventive Interventions for Mental Disorders (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-136 - Early Stage Testing of Pharmacologic or Device-based Interventions for the Treatment of Mental Disorders (R33- Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-137 - Early Stage Testing of Pharmacologic or Device-based Interventions for the Treatment of Mental Disorders (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Required
PAR-21-283 - Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings to Achieve Equity in Outcomes (R34 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-19-189 - Pilot Services Research Grants Not Involving Clinical Trials (R34 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-21-316 - Innovative Mental Health Services Research Not Involving Clinical Trials (R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
PAR-21-291 - Initiation of a Mental Health Family Navigator Model to Promote Early Access, Engagement and Coordination of Needed Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents (R01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-292 - Pilot Studies to Test the Initiation of a Mental Health Family Navigator Model to Promote Early Access, Engagement and Coordination of Needed Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents (R34 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-210 - Effectiveness Trials for Post-Acute Interventions and Services to Optimize Longer-term Outcomes (R01 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-211 - Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Post-Acute Interventions and Services to Optimize Longer-term Outcomes (R34 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-22-038 - Neuromodulation/Neurostimulation Device Development for Mental Health Applications (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-22-039 - Neuromodulation/Neurostimulation Device Development for Mental Health Applications (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-21-288 - Utilizing Invasive Recording and Stimulating Opportunities in Humans to Advance Neural Circuitry Understanding of Mental Health Disorders (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-289 - Utilizing Invasive Recording and Stimulating Opportunities in Humans to Advance Neural Circuitry Understanding of Mental Health Disorders (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PA-20-144 - Innovations in HIV Prevention, Testing, Adherence and Retention to Optimize HIV Prevention and Care Continuum Outcomes (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PA-20-141 - Formative and Pilot Intervention Research for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (R34 Clinical Trial Optional)
PA-20-145 - Innovations in HIV Prevention, Testing, Adherence and Retention to Optimize HIV Prevention and Care Continuum Outcomes (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-303 - Mobile Health: Technology and Outcomes in Low and Middle Income Countries (R21/R33 Clinical trial Optional)
PAR-21-311 - Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research Across the Lifespan (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-21-319 - Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research Across the Lifespan (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
RFA-MH-22-150 - Using Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions to Optimize Established Adolescent Mental Health Treatments (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Required)
PAR-21-325 - Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant to Enhance Workforce Diversity (R36 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-21-048 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32)
PA-21-049 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowship for Students at Institutions With NIH-Funded Institutional Predoctoral Dual-Degree Training Programs (Parent F30)
PA-21-050 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowship for Students at Institutions Without NIH-Funded Institutional Predoctoral Dual-Degree Training Programs (Parent F30)
PA-21-051 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
PA-21-052 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31 - Diversity)
PA-20-188 - NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-21-271 - Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-21-194 - Mentored Career Transition Award for Intramural Fellows (K22 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
PA-20-190 - Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01 - Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-20-203 - Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (Parent K08 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PA-20-205 - Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to outline priorities for research on the etiology, risks for, and prevention of interpersonal aggression and violence against others.
NIMH seeks to provide understanding and educate about mental illness, including misconceptions about aggression and violence within psychiatric populations. Most individuals with psychiatric illness are not violent, and individuals with psychiatric illnesses are more likely to be victims of aggression rather than perpetrators. In this NOSI, NIMH expresses interests in supporting research on violence and aggression as it relates to mental health, mental illness, or as it relates to HIV prevention and treatment. NIMH utilizes the definitions provided by the 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence (1) and the 2002 World Health Organization World Report on Violence and Health (2). When used in this context, the terms aggression and violence refer to physical or verbal actions or threats that are intended to cause harm.
Aggression is a multidimensional phenomenon comprising of evolutionary conserved behaviors that serve survival functions. Although aggression is frequently adaptive and a normal component of social behaviors across species, in some instances, aggressive behaviors in humans can become pathological and persistent, increasing the risk for mental illnesses in aggressors and victims of aggression. Research evidence suggests an association between mental disorders and self-inflicted or interpersonal violence. This association poses a burden on society with significant implications for public health, mental health policies, clinical care, and interventions. Despite the occurrence of aggressive and violent behaviors in mental illnesses and their adverse consequences on society, there is a paucity of knowledge relevant to the etiological, neural, and behavioral underpinning of aggression and treatment strategies. While the range of human aggressive and violent behaviors to which the findings from animal studies can be applied is limited, a subset of subcortical brain structures and networks that is conserved between humans and most other mammals has been implicated in initiation and regulation of aggression. Recent findings from human studies suggest a neurobiological model where the interaction among neural circuits that support cognitive function, impulsivity, reward processing, and emotion regulation plays an important role in generating and regulating aggressive behaviors. Thus, to advance our understanding of the neurobiological bases of aggressive behaviors, and to develop novel treatments for aggression prevention and reduction of violence in clinical populations, NIMH encourages basic neuroscience studies that will apply circuit level analyses with cell-type and projection-specific manipulations to examine how interconnected circuits that subserve cognitive function, impulsivity relevant to executive function, reward and motivation, memory, and social processing influence the expression of aggression.
In parallel with basic research, NIMH supports translational and clinical research aimed at reducing the burden of aggression and violence in the context of mental illness. NIMH is interested in translational and clinical research studies aimed at examining the etiology, pathophysiology, and trajectory of aggression in mental illness. NIMH encourages studies aimed at a mechanistic understanding of biomarkers, risk and resilience factors, and psychopathology, with an emphasis on paving the way for intervention development. With regard to intervention effectiveness and services research, of particular interest are clinical trials focused on refining and testing the delivery of empirically supported interventions within the context of real-world clinical, educational, occupational, criminal justice, and other community-based settings.
Of particular interest are studies of aggression and violence in the context of serious mental illness (SMI). Individuals with SMI generally have only slightly increased risk of committing violence; successful treatment decreases this risk. Factors associated with risk for aggressive behavior include acute psychotic symptoms, early illness phase (e.g., first episode of psychosis), violent ideation, treatment nonadherence, and drug and alcohol use. These factors also increase an individual with SMI’s risk of violence against family members, which occurs in a sizable minority of families. At the same time, people with SMI are at high risk of becoming victims of violence in the community. Impaired reality testing, disorganized thinking, impulsivity, and poor planning and problem solving can make them vulnerable to physical assault; such experiences are associated with worsening symptoms and illness course. Participating in psychiatric treatment appears to substantially reduce the risk of violence in individuals with SMI, especially more serious violent behaviors such as homicide. Thus, NIMH is interested in studies that address additional violence prevention strategies and research investigating violent or aggressive behavior toward health care workers in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings.
In the case of children and adolescents, maladaptive aggression is an associated symptom of many mental disorders, with impulsive aggression being the most common subtype seen in clinical practice. Both self- and other-directed violence can occur in child and adolescent onset psychiatric disorders, including but not limited to autism. Multiple evidence-based interventions for youth aggression have been tested and deemed effective in controlled research settings, yet few have been adapted for use with more diverse target populations or for implementation in community/school/practice/juvenile justice settings. Conversely, exposure to violence is a significant risk factor for both the onset of mental illness in youth and the worsening of mental health symptoms. In addition, violent victimization is a key factor in the development of future violent or aggressive behavior among youth with and without a preexisting mental illness. While youth trauma-focused interventions are often effective at mitigating the negative mental health effects of violence, NIMH encourages studies of interventions that specifically target known mechanisms underlying the association between violence exposure and the onset or worsening of violent or aggressive behavior in youth. From a prevention science perspective, there is a pressing need for research evaluating the implementation of scalable approaches for reducing violence in the community and in the home and all forms of child abuse.
Firearm violence is especially lethal and is responsible for three-quarters of homicide deaths. While evidence-based interventions to prevent firearms violence are available (e.g., safe storage and lethal means counseling), sustainable approaches for implementing them broadly and with fidelity are needed. Knowledge gaps exist in the practical assessment and prediction of violence risk, personalization of prevention and early intervention approaches for high-risk youth and adults, and implementation of effective interventions in real-world treatment and other service and institutional settings.
Violence is also associated with poor HIV prevention and treatment outcomes. Current HIV-related research on violence has primarily focused on understanding and addressing the impact of violence on those who have experienced violence. Less research has been conducted to understand and prevent violence. Thus, NIMH is interested in studies aiming to understand multi-level influences on aggressive or violent behavior in the context of HIV prevention or treatment, and those proposing to develop and test structural or multi-level interventions to reduce violence and improve HIV prevention and/or treatment outcomes.
Additional Considerations for Research on Violence and Aggression
Ethical Conduct of Research
Because individuals with mental illness include vulnerable populations, research studies and designs in the above-mentioned areas of interest must incorporate the highest ethical standards. Applicants responding to this notice should clearly explain the protections for participants in their proposed research, the public health significance of their research, and any broader implications of their aims which may extend beyond mental illness research and treatment.
Aggression and Violence as Dimensional Constructs
Higher priority will be given to studies that consider aggression and violence as dimensional, trans-diagnostic constructs within the RDoC framework (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/research-funded-by-nimh/rdoc/), as opposed to those that rely on categorical classifications.
Firearm Injury and Mortality Research
Priorities for applications focused specifically on firearm injury and mortality prevention research are articulated in PAR-20-143.
Considerations for Intervention Research
Intervention development projects should conform to NIMH’s experimental therapeutics framework and evaluate not only the clinical effects of the intervention but also generate information about the mechanisms underlying the response to an intervention. NIMH encourages investigators to design and conduct studies that assess etiologies and the effects of treatment or preventative interventions at multiple levels of analysis and proposing to clearly identify a target or mediator of the intervention being tested (NIMH Support for Clinical Trials).
Research on the Consequences of Traumatic Stress
The NIMH research portfolio includes substantial investments in the sequelae of trauma through the Traumatic Stress Research Program and a commitment to understanding and preventing self-injurious behavior and suicide. As such, the research priorities outlined in this NOSI do not include studies focused on the psychological or interpersonal sequelae of exposure to aggression, unless treating victimization as a risk for future aggressive behavior. Investigators planning research projects on traumatic stress should refer to previously published resources and program descriptions (see Traumatic Stress Research Program).
Research on Suicide Prevention
Applicants proposing suicide prevention research projects should refer to NIMH funding priorities for this area (see NIMH Leadership Describes Suicide Prevention Research Priorities).
Studies in Animals
For basic neuroscience studies, NIMH emphasizes measures that reflect circuits and processes shared between animals and humans without reliance on unsubstantiated links to clinical psychopathology or description of animal behaviors in terms of emotions and thought processes that are accessible only in humans by self-report (see NOT-MH-19-053). Accordingly, studies that test specific hypotheses regarding how alterations in circuits that support cognitive function, reward and motivation, memory, and social processing influences aggression will be prioritized over those that attempt to study pathological aggression and violence using animal systems constructed to model human mental disorders or syndromes. Investigators planning basic neuroscience studies related to stress biology should refer to NOT-MH-18-058.
For both basic and translational studies at the genomic level, NIMH’s priorities follow the recommendations of the NAMHC Genomics Workgroup Report.
Research Objectives and Priorities of the Division of Translational Research
High Priority Areas
Low Priority Areas
Research Objectives and Priorities of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
High Priority Areas
Low priority areas
Research Objectives and Priorities of the Division of Services and Interventions Research
NIMH encourages services and intervention research on preventing or reducing violent behavior in children, adolescents, and adults with mental illness in a variety of settings, with an emphasis on practical violence prevention strategies that can be rapidly and broadly disseminated.
High Priority Areas
Low Priority Areas
Research Objectives and Priorities of the Division of AIDS Research
High Priority Areas
Low Priority Areas
Priorities of the Center for Global Mental Health Research
Research conducted in low-resource settings worldwide will be considered if it aligns with the priorities identified in this notice. Such research should account for the context and culture of the country(ies) in which the research is being proposed.
In all contexts, NIMH strongly endorses the critical need for rigor and reproducibility in scientific research. NIMH expects investigators to justify carefully the fundamental properties of their experimental designs and to provide experimental detail sufficient for replication, harmonization, and meta-analyses in all applications, progress reports, and publications.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult NIMH staff while developing applications. Early contact will provide an opportunity for NIMH staff to clarify institutional policies and guidelines and to identify whether the proposed research is consistent with programmatic priorities.
Application and Submission Information
This notice applies to due dates on or after March 10, 2022 and subsequent receipt dates through January 8, 2025.
Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:
Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.