NIMH Funding Priorities for Applications Supporting Exceptionally Well-Funded Investigators
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 19, 2024

Related Announcements

  • April 4, 2022 - Modifications to the NIMH Special Council Review Procedures. See Notice NOT-MH-22-190 
  • February 17, 2022 - Notice of Change to NIH’s Policy on Special Council Review of Research Applications. See Notice NOT-OD-22-049 
  • August 20, 2012 - Notice of NIH Special Council Review of Research Applications from PDs/PIs with More than $1.0 Million Direct Costs in Annual NIH Support. See Notice NOT-OD-12-140

Issued by

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


This notice updates NOT-MH-22-190 and clarifies National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funding priorities for awards supporting exceptionally well-funded Investigators. NIMH defines exceptionally well-funded investigators as Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) [PD(s)/PI(s)] who receive NIH funding support of at least $2 million in total costs in active awards at the time of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) Meeting review of the competing application. Special Council Review (SCR) pertains to a competing application supporting exceptionally well-funded PD(s)/PI(s) submitted to NIMH for funding consideration.

Effective with the publication of this notice, NIMH will no longer exempt applications with multiple-PD/PIs from the requirement for SCR. Therefore, any application with one or more exceptionally well-funded PDs/PIs will receive SCR by the NAMHC. This change does not modify the types of support that contribute to the funding threshold or the applications subject to this policy.

In consultation with the NAMHC, NIMH is further modifying its SCR procedure to manage resources more effectively. With these modifications, the Institute strives to provide funding support for more investigators, while simultaneously continuing to support unique opportunities for highly promising work that is not otherwise represented in the NIMH portfolio. Effective with the publication of this notice, an SCR application must meet the updated criteria described below.

NIMH Updated SCR Criteria

All applications with primary assignment to NIMH supporting any exceptionally well-funded PD(s)/PI(s) (as defined above) must meet one or more of the following criteria to be considered for funding:

  • The application under SCR is in a clear high-cost research area and involves significant time commitment (typically >= 4 calendar months effort) from each PD/PI.
  • The focus of the application under SCR is a high-priority research area for NIMH and
    • Proposes a unique research approach or
    • Received an exceptional score – defined as an application scoring below the 5th percentile or equivalent score for an application that does not receive a percentile.
  • The application under SCR enhances diverse perspectives in the scientific  workforce, defined as:
    • Investigator(s) with diverse perspectives based on scientific expertise, career, geographic location and/or educational background;
    • Distinct institutional factors (e.g., undergraduate-focused, Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), community-based, IDeA-state status); and/or
    • Partnerships and collaborations that enhance geographic and regional heterogeneity;
    • Substantial evidence of training and/or mentorship of a workforce inclusive of diverse perspectives based on scientific expertise, career, geographic location and/or educational background.

Please note that the race, ethnicity, or sex of the PD(s)/PI(s), participating investigators, or the student body of a participating institution will not be considered in the application review process or when making funding decisions. Also note that meeting one or more of these criteria does not guarantee funding.

These considerations will be assessed as part of the programmatic recommendations for funding decisions; further consideration for funding will require NAMHC concurrence. Applications may be reconsidered for funding at a later date if the PD(s)/PI(s)’s total funding subsequently drops below the $2 million total costs threshold.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Tracy Waldeck, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)