Request for Information (RFI): BRAIN Initiative: Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization: Guidance for Opportunities in Development of Sensor Technology Hubs
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

November 13, 2023

Response Date:
December 29, 2023

Related Announcements


Issued by

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)


This is a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting input about how sensor technology hubs might advance the goals of the Brain Behavior Quantification and Synchronization (BBQS) program of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. The hubs would be used to evaluate sensor technology in a certain measurement modality, for example, temperature, pressure, inertial or electrochemical mode. The BRAIN Initiative BBQS funding opportunities support 1) the development of tools for simultaneous, multimodal measurement of behavior within complex, dynamic physical and/or social environments, 2) the synchronization of these behavioral data with simultaneously-recorded brain activity; and 3) the development of novel conceptual and computational models that capture dynamic neural-behavioral-environmental, and temporal relationships. This RFI focuses exclusively on the evaluation of sensor technology related to the BBQS program and follows a recent workshop BBQS Workshop May 2023.


Since 2014, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (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 Initiative Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) 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.

To address current challenges and lay a more stable foundation for future generations of researchers, the NIH is seeking input from the community about opportunities for development of hubs for potential evaluation of next generation sensor technologies. The overall aim is to engage the entire sensor technology community in its development of technologies to enhance the ability of developers and researchers to quantify and synchronize sensor and brain recordings that will allow us to capture the complexity of behavior.

Information Requested

Information is requested from sensor developers, researchers, academic institutions, professional societies and other stakeholders on potential topics to explore where the BRAIN Initiative might invest resources in the area of sensor technology development and testing as it relates to more precise measurement of behavior in humans and vertebrate animals. While we welcome input from the community on any areas germane to sensors, we are particularly interested in feedback on the following topics.

  • Sensors are designed to collect data in many different modalities, e.g. thermoelectrical, acoustic, optical, inertial, mechanical, chemical, quantum, etc. and are fabricated on the micro- and nanotechnology scales. NIH is interested in hearing whether and how technology hubs , or centers, for testing sensors and bioelectronic interfaces would be useful for the engineering and research community as a whole, to develop best practices for next generation sensor design and/ or operation in the context of furthering our understanding of human and animal behavior. Sensor performance goals include improvements in power consumption, size, weight, and energy harvesting features, as well as recordings of the highest spatial and temporal resolution possible to record data in real-time, simultaneously with neural recordings from the brain.
  • During sensor development, there will be a need to define Figures of Merit (FOM) or other performance metrics for sensor types. NIH is interested in hearing about the best way to develop metrics especially for long term (48 hours or longer) recording conditions for acquisition of sensor signals.
  • During sensor development, there will be a need to define how testing should be performed on different sensor types. NIH is interested in hearing whether there is value in testing sensors that measure different types of data together. Specific examples of sensor groupings are not required but are welcome.
  • Integration and synchronization of sensor data is key to advancing our understanding of behavior. NIH is interested in hearing how a hub or center could optimally support and test integration and synchronization of data streams, with brain recordings. Please include more details on what a center for integration of sensor data with intracranial recordings might include, for example certain clinical facilities, engineering test facilities, associated staff, etc.
  • Any other issues that respondents feel are relevant.

How to Submit a Response

Responses must be submitted to by December 29, 2023. Responses should use the subject BBQS RFI Response - NOT-MH-24-125".
This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government’s use of that information.

The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. Responses to the RFI may be reflected in future funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website. Respondents are advised that the government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s), policies or procedures.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Yvonne Bennett, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-222-7094