Notice of Availability of NINDS Administrative Supplements for Promoting Optogenetics Applications in Basic and Translational Neuroscience Research

Notice Number: NOT-NS-10-021

Key Dates
Release Date: June 11, 2010
Receipt Date: July 16, 2010
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 1, 2010

Issued by
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), (


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) announces the availability of one-time administrative supplements for NINDS-funded grantees to promote and facilitate applications of optogenetic techniques in basic and translational neuroscience research. The proposed studies must be within the scope of the peer-reviewed activities specified in the NINDS parent award.

Background and Scope of Interests

The ability to simultaneously activate or silence specific groups of neurons in real time, and to record their activities, is a powerful approach for cellular and circuit level analysis of nervous system function. Optogenetics, a rapidly developing technique that uses a hybrid of genetics, virology and fluorescence optics, allows neuroscientists to manipulate the activity of selected cell populations in living animals with spatial and temporal precision. It provides sophisticated approaches for exploring the neural underpinnings of behavior.

This technique has begun to yield important data, and it is widely believed that broader utilization will have major impacts on cellular and systems neuroscience, with both basic science and translational research applications. Many research groups are interested in acquiring this technology and have undertaken the first steps in this process (e.g., obtaining reagents and required biosafety approvals), but need additional hands-on experience in order to establish the method within their own labs. It is also critical at this stage to engage systems neurophysiologists in further development of this new approach, because rigorous in vivo studies are needed to validate this data-generating tool under a variety of experimental conditions. This supplement program is intended to allow currently active NINDS PIs who intend to use optogentics with short term supplemental funding that will enable them to add this new technology to their arsenals.

The supplement will be specifically targeted at parent projects that focus on basic or translational neuroscience research using in vivo experimental approaches in mammalian animal models. The proposed studies must be within the scope of the peer-reviewed activities specified in the NINDS-supported parent award. It is expected that the application demonstrates scientific and technical readiness in employing optogenetics to work under the current NINDS-funded projects.

Specific research activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Efforts to develop or refine techniques or tools that can enhance the effectiveness of optogenetic application, including targeting or delivering approaches to specific circuitry or neuronal populations of interest;
  • Efforts to address issues related to safety and efficiency of the optogentics in non-human primates;
  • Developing and conducting workshops or courses to disseminate the technique and to provide training to the neuroscience community on the most up-to-date optogenetic techniques;
  • Acquisition of equipment (e.g. optics such as blue/yellow lasers) or supplies (e.g. viral vectors, DNA, or cell-specific promoters) for employing optogentic techniques in on-going funded projects;
  • Research and development for further expanding the optogenetic toolbox and its applications.


This program will support administrative supplements to Research Project (R00 and R01), conditional seven-year Javits award for highly meritorious applications (R37), and Program Project (P01 and P50) awards to NINDS grantees. The supplement will be specifically targeted at parent projects that focus on basic or translational neuroscience research using an in vivo experimental approach in mammalian animal models. Parent awards must be actively funded through July 31, 2010 in order to be eligible. Any no-cost extension must be in place before submission of the revision application. While grants that will be in a no-cost extension period (NCE beginning on or after July 31, 2010) can be considered for support under this supplement program, priority will be given to parent grants that are active through September 30, 2011. Only one supplement request in response to this Notice may be submitted per PI. Parent grants that have received NINDS administrative supplements in FY2010 through programs other than by this Notice can still be considered.

Before submitting an application for a collaborative administrative supplement, all grantees should communicate with their Program Director(s) to discuss the planned application.

IMPORTANT: The research proposed by the NIH grantee in the supplement application must be within the original scope of the NIH-supported grant project. The funding mechanism being used to support this program, administrative supplements, can be used to cover cost increases that are associated with achieving certain new research objectives as long as they are within the original scope of the project. Any cost increases need to result from making modifications to the project in order to take advantage of opportunities that would increase the value of the project consistent with its originally approved objectives and purposes.

Submitting an Administrative Supplement Request

To be considered for an administrative supplement, submit a request in writing to the Institute/Center, not to the Division of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific Review. The request must be signed by the authorized Business Official and describe the need for additional funding and the categorical costs.
Requests under this notice should use the PHS 398 forms (rev. 6/2009; available at and include the following elements in the request packet. Font size restrictions apply as designated within the PHS398 (rev. 6/2009) instructions.)

1) Cover Letter - Citing this Notice (NOT-NS-10-021), a request for an Administrative Supplement, and the following information:

  • Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) name
  • Parent grant number and title
  • Amount of the requested supplement
  • Name and title of the institutional official, and
  • Phone, email, and address information for both the PD/PI and institutional official
  • Separate title for the collaborative activity should also be provided in this letter.

(If the activity involves the submission of two independent administrative supplement requests, the name, institution, and NINDS grant number of the collaborating PI should also be provided, as well as the additional documents listed under How to Apply )

The cover letter must be signed by the authorized organizational representative/institutional official.

2) PHS 398 Form Page 1 (Face page) MS Word PDF

  • The title of the project (Box 1) should be the title of the parent award.
  • This Notice (number and title) should be cited in Box 2, and the yes box should be checked.
  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must be the same as the PI on the parent award. For Multiple PI parent awards, the Contact PI must be the PI listed on the supplement request, and the supplement cannot change the Multiple PI team.
  • The remaining items on the face page should be filled out in accordance with the PHS 398 application instructions.

3) PHS 398 Form page 2 MS Word PDF

Note: The project summary is that of the administrative supplement, not the parent grant.

The new co-investigator(s) or collaborator(s) should be noted under performance sites, along with their institution(s).

4) A brief proposal describing the project, including:

a) A one page introduction.
b) Scope of the overall project and the anticipated contribution of the requested supplement (not to exceed five pages). Provide a brief description of the scope of the overall project on which the supplemental request is based.

This section should include a description of the supplement's specific aims, including research design and methods and data analysis. Describe the relationship of the supplement request to the parent grant. The applicant should note the selection factors (below), and pay particular attention to the degree of readiness for implementation of the proposed work.

c) Budget for the supplement with a justification that details the items requested, including Facilities and Administrative costs. See Budget and Funding Information below.

d) Biographical Sketch for all new key personnel (those who are additions on the supplemental project) MS Word PDF
e) Resources page(s) for new key personnel not named in the parent grant(s).
f) Human Subjects/ Vertebrate Animal documentation (if applicable). Include a current Human Subjects/IRB or Vertebrate Animals/IACUC approval letter, if available. Otherwise, this will be required at the time of funding. All appropriate IRB and IACUC approvals must be in place prior to a supplement award being made.

Any differences in the involvement or use of human subjects or specimens, or use of vertebrate animals, between the administrative supplement activity and the parent grant should be noted. When appropriate, details should be provided on the protection of human subjects and inclusion of women, children, and minorities. Additional guidance on Human Subjects Research and Vertebrate Animals is provided under Part II of the PHS 398 instructions (

g) PHS 398 Checklist Form MS Word PDF

Selection Factors

Administrative supplement requests will be reviewed administratively by NINDS Program and Grants Management Staff. Selection factors will include the following:

  • Relevance of the proposed activities to the parent grant
  • Adequate progress of the parent grant appropriate to the current stage of the project
  • Appropriate and well-described plan to accomplish the goals within the timeframe proposed
  • Expertise of the research team proposed to conduct and achieve the goals the supplemental study
  • Potential to enhance research capability and to generate new results and/or interdisciplinary research opportunities
  • Demonstration of the lab’s readiness in implementing the proposed technology, such as having required biosafety measures in place, reagent procurement/production lined up, and collaborations/consultations explicitly indicated, and supporting letters provided where appropriate.

Budget and Funding Information

Applicants may request up to $50,000 in direct costs for the one-year duration of an administrative supplement under this program. If two NINDS grantees are submitting a joint application, each can request up to $50,000 direct costs as an administrative supplement to each of the two independent grants. The maximum direct cost request for a joint application cannot exceed $100,000; and each individual PD/PI can only participate in one submission. The duration of each award is limited to one year. Applicants must submit a budget using the same budget format as was used for the parent award. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs will be paid at the full, negotiated rate. Applicants should provide a detailed budget justification for personnel costs, supplies, and other expenses. Salary support for the PI and co-investigators is not permitted but can be requested for technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and/or other research personnel. Funds can be used to support collaborators with optogentics expertise, including for provision of reagents such as viral constructs or transgenic mice.


At the end of the activity, supported investigators will be required to submit a brief (1-2 pages) summary of the progress of research and/or research training, relevant publications, and plans for future collaborations. Sharing of any data, resource, tools and training materials developed with these funds should also be described within the summary.

How to Apply

This is a one-time announcement. Applications must be received on or before July 16, 2010. Do not send applications to the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Submit one original, hard copy of the request packet (with original signatures of the authorized business official) to the address listed below. Applications may also be submitted electronically as an e-mail attachment in PDF format with clearly visible signatures from the PD/PI and Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). Collaborative activities that involve more than one administrative supplement request (associated with different NINDS grants and, potentially, different institutions) should note this clearly in the e-mail communication. In these cases, only one complete application should be submitted along with a separate cover letter, budget page with justification, face page, and any biosketches/letters/resource pages pertinent to the additional site. The role of each site should be clearly delineated within the body of the application.

Dr. Janet He
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Neuroscience Center, Room 2119
6001 Executive Blvd.
Rockville, MD 20892


Applicants are encouraged to discuss their plans for responding to this Notice by phone or e-mail. Scientific inquiries should be directed to the NINDS Program Director who oversees the parent grant associated with the administrative supplement request. General inquiries about this supplement program can be directed to:

Dr. Daofen Chen
Program Director
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Neuroscience Center, Room 2176
6001 Executive Blvd
Rockville, MD 20892
(301) 496-9964