Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Promoting Research on Music and Health: Fundamentals and Applications (R21 Clinical Trials Optional)

Notice Number: NOT-NS-18-091

Key Dates

Release Date: August 31, 2018
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement: November 01, 2018
First Estimated Application Due Date: February 28, 2019
Earliest Estimated Award Date: September 01, 2019
Earliest Estimated Start Date: September 01, 2019

Related Announcements

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


The National Institutes of Health, intends to publish three related Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) to promote ground-breaking research to better utilize music’s ability to improve human health. This FOA will use the R21 mechanism, and support exploratory studies aimed at shedding new light on the effects of music on healthy individuals, and/or its best usage in improving specific health conditions. A related FOA will use the R01 mechanism to encourage proposals of a larger scope. Applications proposing phased musical interventional studies are encouraged to read NOT-AT-18-015. This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. This FOA is expected to be published in the fall of 2018 with an expected application due date in the winter of 2019. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

Music has the remarkable ability to enhance child development, improve adult function and well-being, and optimize the quality of life during aging. Many studies have shown that music can also ameliorate the symptoms of a broad range of diseases and disorders that occur throughout the lifespan. Recent scientific breakthroughs, including the development of new technologies, are providing the community with opportunities to understand the mechanisms through which music acts, and to develop new music interventions for a variety of human conditions. To capitalize on these opportunities, the NIH is issuing three related initiatives intended to: i) promote our understanding of the basic mechanisms through which music is processed by the brain and body; ii) explore how music impacts health and physiology, and iii) facilitate rigorous music intervention studies to treat disease symptoms.

In 2016, the NIH, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (KC), and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) formed a collaborative partnership (Sound Health) and organized a workshop to evaluate the state of basic and applied music research (Music and the Brain). In this meeting, a diverse panel of experts discussed three overlapping periods of life (childhood, adulthood, and aging) and made recommendations for enhancing research in each of these domains (NIH report). The group developed a set of recommendations intended to highlight research opportunities and promote the rigor of future research. These recommendations centered around four broad areas: 1) Basic and Mechanistic Research, 2) Translational and Clinical Research, 3) Methods and Outcomes and 4) Capacity Building and Infrastructure.

In 2017, a trans-NIH Music and Health working group was formed to capitalize on these recommendations and promote their implementation. To achieve this, the NIH will be issuing three related FOAs which fall into two categories. The first two FOAs will support R01 and R21 awards that are intended to broadly support any research areas related to the fundamentals and application of music in health. The third FOA will utilize a phased R61/R33 mechanism to support research on music and health geared towards music intervention. See the announcement for further details and contact the scientific contacts listed prior to preparing an application to determine the most suitable FOA for a given proposal.

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into areas of relevant music research to begin to consider applying for this new FOA. Studies aimed at examining the benefits of music in healthy individuals or those with medical conditions are permissible. This R21 mechanism encourages potentially high-risk/high reward studies that would have the greatest impact on the field. Among the areas of research encouraged in this initiative are those promoting music research examining the mechanisms that underlie its fundamentals and applications in health, as well as, research designed to improve the translation of existing knowledge of strategies for the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders.

Funding Information

Estimated Total Funding The NIH with its participating institutes, centers, and offices, intend to commit up to $5,000,000 in FY2019 to promote research on music and health via this intended FOA as well as the related FOAs.

The NIH with its participating institutes, centers, and offices, intend to commit up to $5,000,000 in FY2019 to promote research on music and health via this intended FOA as well as the related FOAs.
Expected Number of Awards 9-12 awards are anticipated to be made across the related FOAs.
Estimated Award Ceiling This R21 FOA will be limited to $275,000 direct costs for both years. No single year greater than 150,000.
Primary CFDA Numbers TBD

Anticipated Eligible Organizations

Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Nonprofit without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
City or township governments
Special district governments
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Robert Riddle, PhD

Dr. Robert Finkelstein, PhD
Division of Extramural Administration
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9248