Release Date:  August 5, 1999 (see replacement PAR-03-035)

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-138

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Science Foundation
National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Child Health and Human Development
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Library of Medicine
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Fogarty International Center
Department of Energy
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Cancer Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Letter of Intent Receipt Dates:  August 15, 1999; April 1, and October 1 in
2000 and beyond

Application Receipt Dates:  October 20, 1999; July 11, and January 11 in 2000
and beyond


This PA replaces PA-96-002, Human Brain Project: Phase I Feasibility Studies,
which was published in the NIH Guide, Vol. 24, No. 25, October 6, 1995.


The purpose of this initiative is to encourage and support
investigator-initiated, Neuroinformatics research that will lead to new
digital and electronic tools for all domains of neuroscience research
reflecting normal and diseased states across the life span. Neuroinformatics
combines neuroscience and informatics research to develop and apply advanced
tools and approaches essential for a major advancement in understanding the
structure and function of the brain.  Research in Informatics includes
databases, graphical interfaces, querying approaches, information retrieval,
data visualization and manipulation, data integration through the development
of integrated analytical tools, synthesis, and tools for electronic
collaboration.  In computational research, the focus is on development of
structural, functional, integrative, and analytical models and simulations. 
The advanced information technologies resulting from this research will be put
to wide use by the Neuroscience community.  Therefore, the approaches and
technologies solicited under this announcement should be generalizable,
scalable, extensible, interoperable and use sophisticated powerful
computational resources and integrated with significant neuroscience research
at and across all levels of analysis of brain function.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This Program Announcement (PA), THE
priority area of brain disorders including mental health and mental disorders. 
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at


Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible
agencies of the Federal government.  Foreign institutions are not eligible for
exploratory center (P20) or Program Project (P01) grants.  Racial/ethnic
minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to
apply as principal investigators.


Specific application instructions for R01s up to $250,000 have been modified
to reflect "MODULAR GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts being
examined by the NIH. Complete and detailed instructions and information on
Modular Grant applications can be found at

This program will use the research project grant (R01), exploratory center
grant (P20), and the program project (P01) mechanisms for supporting
neuroinformatics research. All P01 and P20 applications, as well as R01
applications exceeding $250,000 are to include full budgets and other support
information. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expanding its use of
the Modular Grant Application and Award.

Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed
project will be solely that of the applicant.  The total requested project
period may not exceed five years and applicants should apply for the length of
time appropriate for the work proposed, typically three to five years.

This program is organized and supported by several Agencies and NIH Institutes
and is coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health (see INQUIRIES). 
The coordination takes place under the activities of the Federal Interagency
Coordinating Committee of the Human Brain Project (FICC-HBP) and is chaired by
the NIMH.  An applicant planning to submit an application requesting $500,000
or more in direct costs for any year is advised that he or she must contact
FICC-HBP program staff, listed under INQUIRIES, before submitting the
application, i.e., as plans for the study are being developed.  Furthermore,
the applicant must obtain agreement from FICC-HBP staff that the
Institute/Agency will accept the application for consideration for award. 
Finally, the applicant must identify, in a cover letter sent with the
application, the staff member and Institute/Agency who agreed to accept
assignment of the application.  This policy requires an applicant to obtain
agreement for acceptance of both any such application and any subsequent
amendment.  Refer to the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 20, 1998
( Since not all
of the Federal organizations participating in this initiative support all of
these mechanisms, it is important to contact program staff prior to preparing
the application.


R01 Mechanism - The R01 mechanism will be used for research project grants,
which will allow investigators to work on highly focused projects related to
the integration of informatics research with brain, behavioral, and/or
computational research. Applications may include requests for support of
expenses for travel and per diem expenses to several laboratories to initiate
or explore the possibility of setting up collaboration.  It is essential that
the scientific questions to be pursued and the unique contribution of each
potential group member be explicitly stated.

P01 and P20 Mechanism - These awards provide the opportunity for several
investigators using different approaches to focus on a common problem. The
grants will facilitate coordinated communication across disciplinary and
geographic boundaries.  This mechanism is intended specifically to support
interdisciplinary research and feasibility studies.  Not all Federal
organizations will provide primary support for P01 and P20 grants.  Therefore,
prospective applicants should contact program staff (listed under INQUIRIES)
prior to preparing an application for this mechanism.

P01 and P20 Exploratory Grants are characterized by the synergy of their
constituent projects.  Each grant application must demonstrate the
interrelationship of its constituent projects, and also indicate how the
inclusion of each project will enhance the overall goals of the research.

Principal Investigator: Each P01 and P20 Exploratory Grant will have a
Principal Investigator with a demonstrated ability to organize, administer,
and direct the grant.  The Principal Investigator must commit at least 25
percent effort to the grant and be a Project Leader on one of the projects.

Focus of research: The P01 and P20 Exploratory Grants will combine and
integrate informatics with brain and/or behavioral research, including
computational research, in an effort to develop novel approaches and
technologies for accomplishing the neuroinformatics goals of the Human Brain

Group members: Each P01 and P20 Exploratory Grant will be composed of several
laboratories, projects, and/or cores.  It is expected that the Project Leaders
of the constituent laboratories or projects will be regarded as leaders in
their respective fields.

Information sharing: In research funded by this mechanism, digital and
electronic communication, especially via computer networks, will be
established among different laboratories, projects and cores within a given
P01 and P20 Exploratory Grant group.  With evidence of adequate electronic
communication channels given in the application, laboratories, projects, and
cores participating in a given P01 and P20 Exploratory Grant group need not
all be at the same geographic location.



In 1989, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on
Drug Abuse, and the National Science Foundation requested the Institute of
Medicine to establish a Committee on a National Neural Circuitry Database. 
The Committee's charge was to consider the desirability, feasibility, and
possible ways of implementing a family of resources, both electronic (e.g.,
computer networks) and digital (e.g., databases), for the enhancement of
neuroscience research.  After deliberations spanning almost 2 years and
involving more than 150 scientific consultants, the Institute of Medicine
endorsed the concept of mapping the brain and brain functions and issued
several specific recommendations (Mapping the Brain and Its Functions:
Integrating Enabling Technologies into Neuroscience Research, 1991, Institute
of Medicine, National Academy Press).

On April 2, 1993, the Human Brain Project was announced in Program
Announcement PA-93-068, and published in the NIH Guide (Vol. 22, No. 13, April
2, 1993).  Subsequently, a Notice and Addendum were published in the NIH Guide
(August 27, 1993 and September 16, 1994, respectively) and a Revised Program
Announcement was published in the NIH Guide (Vol. 24, No. 35, October 6,

The Human Brain Project is a broadly based Federal research initiative that is
sponsored by fifteen Federal organizations from four Federal agencies and
coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health. These sponsoring
components are: the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of
Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Aging,
National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, National Institute
on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Library of Medicine,
the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of
Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the
Fogarty International Center, and the National Cancer Institute); the National
Science Foundation (NSF); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA); and, the Department of Energy (DOE).  Representatives from all of
these organizations comprise the FICC-HBP.  In addition, NASA will make
available to Human Brain Project researchers its supercomputer and other
resources of the Biocomputation Center.

This initiative is being implemented in 3 Phases following the recommendation
of the Institute of Medicine report.  Phase I consists of research feasibility
studies.  Refinement of Phase I activities occurs in Phase II.  Phase II
support will be provided to build on accomplishments in Phase I and will
consist of, but not limited to, expanded beta testing, further refinement of
the newly developed tools, and the development of appropriate models and
simulation capabilities.  The tools resulting from this research and
development will be made available to the scientific community at large in
Phase III.  Applications for Phase II are not required to have had Phase I
support.  The application for Phase II, however, must clearly demonstrate that
equivalent neuroinformatics research has been accomplished on software or
hardware which now requires Phase II activities and support.

The research funded to date under the Human Brain Project has recently been
assessed.  This revised Program Announcement requests, on behalf of the
participating Federal organizations, research grant applications for Phase I
and II of the Human Brain Project (Neuroinformatics).  This program
announcement supersedes previous Program Announcements, Notices, and Addenda.

Program Description

Phase I of the Human Brain Project supports feasibility research on advanced
technologies and novel ways to acquire, store, retrieve, manage, analyze,
visualize, manipulate, integrate, synthesize, disseminate and share data about
Neuroscience research, including tools for electronic collaboration.  The
Human Brain Project supports investigator-initiated projects that require both
an Informatics research component and a Neuroscience (brain and/or behavioral)
research component, with these two components well integrated with one
another.  Projects that focus only upon archival data are not appropriate for
the Human Brain Project, but projects are encouraged to include legacy data in
their informatics component.

Phase II of the Human Brain Project extends and shares those products
developed under Phase I with appropriate improvements, documentation and
testing at multiple sites to move towards the distribution of the advanced
technologies or tools to the wider community that will occur in Phase III. 
Phase II applications should include the necessary research components to: (1)
build the elements necessary for the construction of maps and models
(computational neuroscience); (2) ensure that databases in this area of
research will be interoperable with other database resources; (3) incorporate
the capability for the addition or linkage with legacy data; and (4) present a
plan for the continued support of these capabilities.

Objectives and Goals

Neuroscientists understand the brain through experimental studies at multiple
levels, throughout the life span and in multiple species, including humans in
health and disease.  Neuroscience data serves to identify the unique cell
types, their elements and anatomical connections.  Other data helps to
elucidate the chemical substrates of function, which include tens of thousands
of biochemical, molecular and genetic mechanisms that regulate and control
brain structure and function to the level of behavior.  Behavioral data
encompass constructs as diverse as, but not limited to, attention, perception,
learning, memory, cognition, emotion, and language.  In addition, structural
and functional information are measured and visualized during mental and
behavioral activity through the use of the latest imaging technologies. 
Neuronal electrical activity is also studied to understand the biophysical
events within cells, and to monitor neural activity in complicated neural
networks.  In order to integrate these diverse elements into an understanding
of behavior and the functioning brain, the data from these multiple levels
would benefit from analyses at the level of neural models.

The greatest increment in knowledge about the brain has occurred within the
last two decades due to intensive, rapid technological advances in molecular
and cellular neurobiology, molecular genetics; brain imaging and other new
technologies brought about through the computer revolution.  The progressive
amount of information being generated is exponentially incremental due to
these and other approaches utilized by the estimated 50,000 neuroscientists
working around the globe.  These individual investigators, working in small
groups on highly focused projects, publish their results monthly in one of
approximately 200 scientific professional journals.  The current challenge in
Neuroscience is to integrate all of this information into a meaningful
representative picture of how the brain develops, and functions, as well as

The complexity and quantity of Neuroscience data create a compelling need to
develop a global information management system for the neuroscience community. 
The potential to create an appropriate information management system has been
amply demonstrated within the genomic community through the use of
Bioinformatics.  Compared to sequence data, data generated via Neuroscience
research has many more levels of complexity, presenting both unique database
requirements and constraints on interoperability. This effective demonstration
in Bioinformatics and the continual advances within the fields of computer and
informational sciences clearly point to the crucial need for the neuroscience
community to fully embrace and engage in the science of INFORMATICS.  The time
is propitious for the effective use and integration of all levels of
neuroscientific data through the shared global development of the new field of

Neuroinformatics combines research in neuroscience and informatics and
computation to develop and apply advanced tools and approaches needed for
understanding the brain.  This new interdisciplinary field, Neuroinformatics,
is uniquely positioned at the intersection of medical science, biological
science, neuroscience, behavioral science, physical science, computer science,
mathematics and engineering.  The synergy created by these combined approaches
will result in a family of electronically distributed Neuroinformatics
capabilities that will accelerate our ability to comprehend, heal and foster
understanding of the normal development and function of the human brain.  This
unique capability will result in rapid scientific and technological progress
to provide major medical, social and economic benefits. The brain is so
complex that development of Neuroinformatics tools and strategies to
adequately master its understanding will require full international
cooperation and coordination.

Scientific collaboration bridging brain, behavioral, computational research
and informatics research (i.e., Neuroinformatics) promises to substantially
advance all fields within their domain.  Neuroinformatics research will
accelerate the understanding of the brain by providing the necessary tools and
means to fully understand the structural and functional entities required for
successful function of the brain and the resultant appropriate behavior. 
These novel approaches include: databases, querying, data visualization,
graphical interfaces and manipulation tools, and technologies for data
synthesis and integration, modeling and electronic collaboration.  Driven by
the considerable demands made by the diversity, quantity, and complexity of
data about the brain, neuroinformatics research will enable neuroscience
research to expand the limits of knowledge in that field.  Moreover, it is
likely that solutions devised through neuroinformatics research will be
generalizable to a wide range of scientific and other broad applications.

Since each application appropriate to the Human Brain Project must include
both an informatics research component and a brain and/or behavioral science
research component, it is expected that each application will have substantial
involvement of informatics and neuroscience researchers as principal
investigators, other key personnel, or as very active consultants.  It is
expected that the multidisciplinary research components will be well
integrated with each other, and will be true scientific collaborations, rather
than parallel efforts.

The research objectives that will have high priority are the following:


Research on databases, querying approaches, and information retrieval: The
diversity of data types in neuroscience research will require unique databases
and graphical interfaces that can accommodate varied data types (e.g.,
numerical, textual, graphic, image, time series).  Also required are querying
approaches that will allow varied databases to be accessed with a single
query, and retrieval and analysis of different types of data into a common
interoperable informational space.  In addition, databases, querying and
retrieval and integrated analytical tools will need to be extensible and
easily reconfigurable to adjust to the rapidly changing domain of neuroscience
research.  Most database configurations have conformed to the needs of the
financial or business community.  Where as many of these approaches are
adequate for various other fields of scientific research, they are not so for
neuroscience research.  For the latter purpose, new approaches and
capabilities will need to be researched and created in order to deal with the
dynamically changing data structures in Neuroscience.

Research on data visualization and manipulation: Data about brain functions
are extremely complex and highly interconnected.  This high level of
complexity requires novel approaches to manipulate, visualize, and analyze
large interconnected data sets.  These are necessary to be able to reliably
represent and analyze the multiple dimensions across and within levels of
analysis, and reflecting the complexity of neuroscience data that may later be
cross validated.  Both clinical and animal brain data require the development
of interactive, multi-resolution capabilities for representation and
visualization of tens to hundreds of gigabytes of imaging data at specified
levels of resolution.

Tools for electronic collaboration: The capacity to quickly assemble teams,
independent of geographic location, to address specific scientific questions
would greatly accelerate the pace of discovery.  The creation of the
capability or shared virtual reality space through the use of advanced forms
of "groupware" with tools for data acquisition, display, interoperability,
querying and manipulation would facilitate this goal.

Research that builds bridges across existing informational tools and
resources:  The tools and approaches developed through the support of the
Neuroinformatics field will prove to be most useful if and when they are
combined in tandem with one another, and can access other databases and tools,
such as those associated with the Human Genome Project and the Macromolecular
Structure Database, etc.

The informatics research component should be future-oriented and seek to
exceed the current state-of-the-art.


Research on data integration and synthesis, modeling and simulation
environments: As scientific specialization increases, it become increasingly
difficult to integrate and synthesize different types of data to comprehend
complex brain structure and function relationships.  Various models may serve
as informational spaces by which experimentally obtained data of different
types and sources can be better integrated and synthesized to derive new

Computational models are advantageous since they: require the user to make
explicit their theory, identifying any inconsistencies or hidden assumptions;
can help identify what data are missing, and guide the collections of data
appropriate for testing a theory; provide a medium for the discovery of new
principles of neural function, by supplementing intuitions that are limited by
the complex, dynamical, and non-linear character of neural systems; and
provide a clear and precise mechanism for communicating specific theories with
other scientists.

Research in this area is focused upon models of both physiological function
and structure of the nervous system.  All levels of models are appropriate,
ranging from and between subcellular and molecular levels, to morphological,
neuronal, and neural circuit levels, up to large-scale networks responsible
for mediating normal behavior (e.g., cognition, emotions, etc.), and various
brain disorders.  Research in this area is heavily driven by the results of
experimental studies and, reciprocally, provides a theoretical framework for
the development of innovative, testable concepts that clarify current
experimental observations that help to guide new experimental studies.

Research to Develop Structural Models: Better models are needed at both the
neuronal levels (e.g., three-dimensional structures of neuropil and dendritic
trees, distributions of synaptic contacts, etc.), as well as at the level of
the whole brain.  For example, at the whole brain level, segmentation
algorithms are needed for more accurate localization, atlasing and databasing
of areas of activation identified in neuroimaging experiments.  In addition,
better morphometric models are needed for motion correction within subjects,
for cross-subject comparisons (e.g., for studies of normal individual
variability as well as group differences in patient populations), and for
cross-modal registration of datasets (e.g., for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(MRI)-based localization of Event-Related Potentials (ERP) signals).

Research to Develop Functional Models: Models are needed at all levels of
function to improve our understanding of subcellular, cellular, circuit, and
network level mechanisms.  For example, the mechanisms underlying active
dendritic conduction or coincidence detection are still poorly understood at
the subcellular/cellular level, as are the mechanisms underlying temporal
binding or sustained activity at the circuit/network level, and those
underlying sequential behavior or instructed (versus associative) learning at
the cognitive level.

Research to Develop Integrative Models: Such models are needed to address two
domains:  (1) neural function, and (2) data analysis.  With regard to neural
function, new integrative models are needed to bridge between findings at
multiple scales, by simultaneously addressing findings at each, and
translating from one scale to another.  For example, models are needed that
can help us link our understanding at the level of gene expression to that at
the level of receptor function and synaptic transmission; from that at the
level of synaptic transmission to that at the level of circuit function; from
circuit function to network activity; and from network activity to whole brain
or its regional components that mediated cognitive, emotional and behavioral
processes. Integrative models are also needed for more complete and effective
analyses of data about the brain, generated by measurements made at different
scales (e.g., direct neurophysiological recordings and functional
neuroimaging), or using complementary modalities (e.g., spatially resolved
positron emission tomography (PET) or functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(fMRI) studies with temporally resolved (ERP) or magnetoencephalography (MEG)
studies, or with MEG and fMRI studies).

Modelers need to give careful consideration to the tools that they employ to
construct their models.  Simulators need to be developed capable of
accommodating multiple scales, thereby facilitating the development of more
integrative models.  Also, attention must be given to the accessibility,
interpretability, and interoperability of models that are generated, which
includes documentation at all levels (code, interface, etc.).  Improvements
along these lines will facilitate the dissemination of models, which in turn
would help promote interactions among modelers, and allow their models to
realize full potential as valuable mechanisms for communication (e.g., with
experimentalists, and for teaching).  Finally, all models need to evolve
through an iterative process of implementation, critical evaluation (against
empirical data and/or competing models), and refinement.


Research that includes experimental technologies and methodological approaches
for the shared analyses, integration, and communication of neuroscience
research.  This would include, but is not limited to, data derived from
multiple levels of biological organization, such as that at the levels of
molecules, genes, cells and systems of cells.  This includes those at all
levels of behavioral constructs, including but not limited to attention,
perception, learning, memory, cognition, emotion, and language.  Research that
integrates findings across these multiple levels and constructs is strongly

Research that includes structure-function relationships: This is needed at all
levels of organization, from the level of the cell to that at the level of

Research including cross-species comparisons: This is needed to address the
issues and saliency of homology of structures, functions and behaviors as
assessed across different species of research animal and humans.

Research related to normal and abnormal brain development and behavioral
function.  This includes all mission-oriented research of the participating
NIH Institutes and other participating Federal Agencies.

Neuroinformatics Research

Neuroinformatics research is expected to lead to advanced information
technologies and approaches for the neuroscience community.  In addition, the
tools developed from this research will likely serve the entire neuroscience
research community.  In order to meet the long-term nature and breadth of this
initiative, research projects with the following characteristics are sought:

Generalizable: For example, algorithms for quantifying differences in 3-D
reconstruction of data obtained from electron microscopy should generalize to
volume data from confocal microscopy and MRI of whole brains.

Research performed on sophisticated platforms: This initiative is a long-term
program to support research and development of advanced information
technologies for the neuroscience community.  Computers that are sophisticated
by current standards are likely to be widely available in five or ten years. 
Today's low-end machines are likely to be obsolete by the time that the tools
currently being researched are later made available to the scientific

Extensible, scalable and interoperable: Phase I research efforts will lead to
tools and approaches intended for the scientific community-at-large, rather
than an individual laboratory.  In order to achieve this goal, it is important
that issues of scalability and extensibility be addressed from the outset. 
Phase II will need to also focus on extensibility and scalability and, in
addition, consider the importance of interoperability with other tools,
databases and workstations.

Designed to assess progress: Since research and development is ultimately
intended to be of use not only to an individual laboratory, but to a wide
range of laboratories, it is important that methods to assess progress towards
achieving the objectives of this Neuroinformatics initiative in both Phase I
and Phase II be carefully addressed.  This includes the development and
documentation of standards by which tools are to be tested for reliability and

Permanence and Maintenance: The lifetime value and use of hardware or software
is a function of its broad utilization by the community.  For this to occur, a
plan must be presented in Phase II for the continued support of these
capabilities.  This plan can be developed from a variety of options; however,
the plan must be viable and self-sustaining, and not be dependent upon support
derived from Federal funding in its entirety.  Each Human Brain Project
supported will have, at the minimum, an informatics research component as well
as a neuroscience research component.  This initiative will provide support
for any or each of these components. It may, however, also be carried out
under already funded, on-going peer-reviewed research support.

Each project will report the attainment of proposed specific aims through
progress reports and the timely publication and dissemination of results,
including aspects such as software, database designs, and source codes.

It is strongly encouraged that researchers funded by different grants under
the Human Brain Project will communicate, coordinate and collaborate across
different Project grants.  Supplemental funds may be competitively awarded to
projects to support such interactions.  A listing of investigators
participating in Phase I and II is located at and the types of data,
software, or other information that is available from or through them will be
shared among all grantees to minimize scientifically unnecessary duplication
of effort in all Phases.  Grantees are expected to participate in the Annual
Spring Human Brain Project Meeting of Agencies and Grantees.  These meetings
will promote communication among different groups of investigators, and will
be held in the Washington, D.C. area.

NIH is interested in ensuring that the research resources developed through
this Program Announcement become readily available to the research community
for further research, development, and application, in the expectation that
this will lead to products and knowledge of benefit to the public. At the same
time, NIH recognizes the rights of grantees to elect and retain title to
subject inventions developed under Federal funding under the provision of the
Bayh-Dole Act. Indeed, for inventions developed in its intramural program, NIH
does file patent applications, in accord with a set of policies described at

Grantees are encouraged to perfect copyright protection of software produced
as a result of Human Brain Project funding.  These should include prominent
notification in the software and its documentation that the software is
copyrighted.  Notification could consist of the following:

Copyright c [year] by [your name, the names of you and your colleagues, or the
name of your institution] with funding from the Human Brain Project.

This notification will identify the source of the software and help ensure
that the software can be shared freely while protecting any commercial rights
in it.  In addition, grantees will be required to agree that they will provide
the primary funding organization, upon its request and at a reasonable cost, a
copy of any software produced under this Human Brain Project funding, with the
understanding that the Federal organizations directly involved with this
Project will have the right to use such software for internal research and
archival purposes only, and will not permit its distribution beyond those

Application components related to ethical, legal, and social issues pertinent
to this initiative are encouraged.  Also encouraged are components of
applications that are designed to reach out to the public, academic, and/or
commercial sectors to help educate and inform about the available
opportunities provided by research and development in the neuroinformatics

Availability of Computational Resources

The choice of computational resources to be used in Human Brain Project
research is entirely that of the applicant and the range of appropriate
resources extends across the entire spectrum of computer technology. 
Nevertheless, some investigators may be interested in using, or collaborating
with those using supercomputers, massively parallel computers, and other
advanced technologies that may not be available at their institution.  To
facilitate such use and collaboration, the following information is provided.

The NSF supports High Performance Computer Centers and Science and Technology
Centers.  Individuals considering applications for supercomputer use should
contact these centers early in the application development process.

Cornell Theory Center
Linda Callahan
514 Engineering and Theory Center Building
Ithaca, NY  14853-3801
Telephone:  (607) 254-8610

National Center for Atmospheric Research,
Scientific Computing Division
Visitor/User Information
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO  80307
Telephone:  (303) 497-1225

National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Scott Lathrop
605 East Springfield Avenue
Champaign, IL  61820-5518
Telephone:  (217) 244-1099

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
Robert B. Stock
4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15213
Telephone:  (412) 268-4960

San Diego Supercomputer Center
Mark Sheddon
P.O. Box 85608
San Diego, CA  92186-9784
Telephone:  (619) 534-5130

In addition, NASA will make available computational resources of the
Biocomputation Center (BC) at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. 
These resources include computer-controlled transmission electron microscopy
for semiautomatic 3-D reconstruction of neural tissue, virtual environments,
high-performance workstations, supercomputers, and massively parallel

A scientist interested in using the BC as part of their Human Brain Project
must submit a written request for facility use to the BC Director prior to
submitting an application to the Public Health Service.  This request must
state the objectives of the intended work and the approaches to be used.  This
request must also provide enough information to allow BC staff to assess
whether or not the intended use is within the capability of the BC.  In
addition, this request must provide information necessary to allow BC staff to
determine the amount of time the proposed work will require.

The BC staff will provide the requesting scientist an itemized estimate of the
costs for BC resources needed to achieve the stated objectives.  The scientist
will use this estimate as part of the budget justification in the Public
Health Service application for funds to support the Human Brain Project

Requests for BC use are to be sent to:

Dr. Muriel Ross
Biocomputation Center
MS 261-2
Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA  94035-1000


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994
(FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23,
No. 11, March 18, 1994 available on the web at the following URL address:


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant
information concerning the policy.


Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate program
official(s) listed under INQUIRIES and submit a letter of intent.  The letter
should include a descriptive title of the proposed research, the name,
address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator, names of other
key personnel, and participating institutions, and the number and title of the
program announcement in response to which the application may be submitted. 
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not
enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information that it
contains is helpful in planning for the review of applications.  The letter is
to be submitted to Dr. Stephen H. Koslow at the address listed below.


The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets.  Only
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when
there is a possibility for an award. It is anticipated that these changes will
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers and Institute
staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used
in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted below.


Modular Grant applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to
a total direct cost request of $250,000 per year.  (R01 applications that
request more than $250,000 direct costs in any year must follow the
traditional PHS 398 application instructions.)  The total direct costs must be
requested in accordance with the program guidelines and the modifications made
to the standard PHS 398 application instructions described below:

PHS 398

o FACE PAGE: Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $250,000) and Total Costs [Modular Total
Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial budget
period Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the Direct and Total
Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required
and will not be accepted with the application.

o NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative
page. (See for sample
pages.)  At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for
each year.  This is not a Form page.

o Under Personnel, List key project personnel, including their names, percent
of effort, and roles on the project.  No individual salary information should
be provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation language
salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in developing
the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the nearest
$1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of key personnel,
and the role on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating institution
is foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a consortium/contractual
arrangement is included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount. 
Include the Letter of Intent to establish a consortium.

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the
number of modules requested.

o BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific
role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall
qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for
all key personnel, following the instructions below. No more than three pages
may be used for each person. A sample biographical sketch may be viewed at:

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on
research projects ongoing or completed during the last three years.
- List selected peer-reviewed publications, with full citations;

o CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the
application. If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the type
of agreement and the date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied in the
calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future
budget years.

o The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual to
contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional information
is necessary following the initial review.

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted only at the application receipt dates listed below. 
Application kits are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research and may be obtained from the Division of Extramural Outreach and
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive,
MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 710-0267, email:  The PHS 398 application kit is also available on the
Internet at  Follow the PHS 398
instructions for "Preparing Your Application" with modifications and additions
as described in the sections below. Addition information describing the
purpose, eligibility requirements and application instructions for several
types of NIH awards is also available at

Applicants planning to submit an investigator-initiated new (type 1),
competing continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended/revised
version of the preceding grant application types requesting $500,000 or more
in direct costs for any year are advised that he or she must contact the
Institute, Center, or Agency (ICA) program staff before submitting the
application, i.e., as plans for the study are being developed.  Furthermore,
the application must obtain agreement from the ICA staff that the ICA will
accept the application for consideration for award.  Finally, the applicant
must identify, in a cover letter sent with the application, the staff member
and Institute, Center or Agency who agreed to accept assignment of the

This policy requires an applicant to obtain agreement for acceptance of both
any such application and any such subsequent amendment.  Refer to the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 20, 1998 at

Each application must clearly articulate the manner in which the informatics
research components relate to, and are well integrated with, the brain and/or
behavioral research component(s).  Because Phase I of the Human Brain Project
research supports feasibility studies, each application must describe specific
mechanisms proposed to evaluate the success of the research in terms of

R01 Mechanism: For the R01 mechanism, applicants must follow the instructions
provided in grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98).  Funds to support
travel to the two-day Annual Spring Meeting of Human Brain Project Agencies
and Grantees should be included in the budget for the principal investigator
and up to one additional key member of the research team.

P01 and P20 Mechanism: The application must describe the specific research
hypotheses to be tested and how they relate to the overall research issue to
be addressed.  In applications for the P20 mechanism, funds to support travel
to the two-day Annual Spring Human Brain Project Meeting of Agencies and
Grantees should be included in the budget for the principal investigator (the
director of the grant), the director of each subproject and core, and up to
one additional key member from the P01 or P20 research team.

For the P01 and P20 applications only, the Research Plan Section of PHS Form
398 (Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Progress Report/Preliminary
Studies, and Research Design and Methods) should be replaced by the following:

General Description of the Overall Project (Not to exceed 10 pages): The
applicant must provide an overview of the proposed project and its central
theme and goals, describe the general objectives, and explain the proposed
contribution of each of the individual projects and cores towards achieving
these objectives.  Furthermore, the administrative arrangements and support
necessary to effect the research should be carefully described in the
application.  In particular, when more than one institutional site is involved
a detailed description and supporting documentation for the administrative
arrangements must be included.  Detailed information on collaborations,
recruitment, facilities, and resources must also be provided.

Individual Projects (Not to exceed 15 pages for any one project): The
applicant must describe the major objectives and goals of each individual
project and its relationship to the effort of the entire group of constituent
projects.  Where appropriate, an Information Model should be presented to
describe, define and conceptualize the problem domain.  In addition, detailed
descriptions should be provided on the following:

Research Plan: The questions to be addressed and the hypotheses to be tested
by the proposed research should be highly focused and fully explained.  Full
discussion is required on the status of current research efforts, the
limitations of existing approaches, and how the research questions posed
relate to the objectives of the Human Brain Project.  In addition, the
integrative relationship between the brain and/or behavioral research
component and the informatics research component components should be made
explicit, as should the novelty of the informatics research component.

Experimental Plan: The description of the experimental design should provide
the specific strategies proposed to accomplish the specific aims of the
project in clear detail and should include a discussion of the innovative
aspects of the approach.  New methodology and its advantage over existing
methodologies should be fully described.  The feasibility of the proposed
experiments, the potential pitfalls, alternative approaches, means of
assessing success of research to meet the objectives of the Phase I or Phase
II of the project, and relevance to the goals of the project as a whole should
be fully discussed.  The methods to be used should be cited and referenced.

Cores (Not to exceed 5 pages for any one core): If cores are required, the
applicant must describe how each core will contribute to the goals of the
overall project as well as how each individual project will draw upon a
particular core.  The description of each core should clearly indicate the
facilities, resources, services and professional skills that the facility will
provide.  Moreover, clearly described information must be provided about how
the collective operation of the cores will be effected in a coherent manner.

Operational Plan: A description of the resources (local and collaborative) and
working and logistical arrangements required to implement the research plan
should be fully elaborated.  If a project includes a clinical component,
attention should be devoted to a description of the clinical populations and
tissue resources.  A distinction must be made between those resources that are
already in place (including staff) versus those resources that must be added
to carry out the proposed research.

Permanence and Maintenance Plan: The lifetime value and use of hardware or
software is a function of its broad utilization by the community.  For this to
occur, a plan must be presented in Phase II for the continued support of these
capabilities.  This plan can be developed from a variety of options; however,
the plan must be viable and self-sustaining, and not be dependent upon support
derived from Federal funding in its entirety.

Evaluation Plan: A description must be provided specifying the approaches that
will be taken to evaluate the success of the new neuroinformatics capability
and its utility to neuroscientists.

Applications for P01 or P20 grant mechanisms will not be accepted from
organizations outside of the United States.

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed on line 2 of
the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.  In
addition Phase I or Phase II should be indicated.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At time of submission, two additional copies of the application (including
appendices) must also be sent under separate cover to the chair of the FICC-

Stephen H. Koslow, Ph.D.
Director, Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167 MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD 20892-9613
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 443-1815
FAX:  (301) 443-1867

It is important to send these copies at the same time that the original and
three copies are sent to CSR; otherwise, it cannot be guaranteed that the
applications will be reviewed in competition with other applications received
in response to this Program Announcement.


                                1999            Calendar Year 2000 & Beyond

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  Aug 15, 1999    Apr 1, 2000    Oct 1, 2000
Application Receipt Date:       Oct 20, 1999    Jul 11, 2000   Jan 11, 2000
Administrative Review:          Oct 1999        Jul 2000       Jan 2001
Scientific Review:              Feb/Mar 2000    Sep/Oct 2000   Mar/Apr 2001
Advisory Council Review:        May/Jun 2000    Jan/Feb 2001   May/Jun 2001
Earliest Starting Date:         Jul 2000        Mar 2001       Jul 2001


Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical
merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by one of the Federal
organizations sponsoring the "Human Brain Project" program.  As part of the
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and
undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest
scientific merit, generally the top half of applications under review, will be
discussed, and assigned a priority score.  Subsequent processing of the
application will follow the procedures of the respective agency, institute
and/or center to which it has been assigned.  For applications assigned to a
Public Health Service (PHS) institute or center, the application will receive
further review by the appropriate National Advisory Council.  All successful
projects will be identified as "A Unit of the NIH/NSF/NASA/DOE Human Brain
Project/Neuroinformatics" program.


The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these
criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score,
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application
does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, an
investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not
innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(1) Significance:  Does this study address an important problem?  If the aims
of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? 
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive
this field?

(2) Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics?  Will the proposed project(s) to accomplish the goals of
this PA?

(3) Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method?
Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited
to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience
level of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

(5) Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional

The initial review group will also examine: the appropriateness of proposed
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders,
minorities and their subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific
goals of the research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects;
the provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety
of the research environment.

The research project (R01) grant funding mechanism will be used under this
program announcement to allow investigators to work on highly focused projects
related to the integration of informatics research with brain, behavioral,
and/or computational research.  In contrast, the program project research
grant (P01) and the exploratory center (P20) grant funding mechanism will
provide the opportunity for several investigators using different approaches
to focus on a common problem, and to facilitate coordinated communication
across disciplinary and geographic boundaries.  Therefore, the initial review
group needs to adequately consider differences in the respective application
requirements and their major section components when applying these 5 review

Phase I applications are to support feasibility research on advanced
technologies and novel approaches to create and render data about the brain
and behavior more generalizable, scalable, extensible, and interoperable. 
Hence, the peer review of these applications requires a full assessment of the
feasibility of these applications to accomplish their specific major stated

For HBP Phase II applications, both those submitted as new applications and
those representing previously funded competitive renewal (type 2) grants under
the HBP program, a detailed "Progress Report" should be provided in support of
the proposed project.  This report, which will be considered as an important
part of the initial review, should include detail about the major
accomplishments, to date, and currently described plans for further
improvement, documentation, and multi-site testing of advanced technologies
and tools for shared distribution across the wider community of
neuroscientists and Neuroinformaticians.  Concerning the latter, relevant
information should be included about the validation, expanded beta testing,
and further refinement of newly developed tools; the development of
appropriate models and simulation capabilities; the interoperability of
information sharing; and a careful evaluation of these products for general
distribution among the neuroscience and neuroinformatics research communities. 
The operational, maintenance and evaluation plans should be realistic and deal
with relevant issues.  These issues should be considered both in terms of
their being state-of-the-art, yet also with perspective toward future


Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended
approved applications.  The following will be considered in making funding
decisions: Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review,
availability of funds, and program priority.


The FICC-HBP committee maintains a WWW site containing information about this
and related programs and activities.  Each funded grant application will be
listed and briefly described and hotlinks provided to connect interested
parties to the grantees web site that should provide greater details about
research activities and the state and availability of research tools and
products.  In addition, grantees are expected to participate in the Annual
Spring Human Brain Project Meetings of Agencies and Grantees.  These meetings
will promote communications among different groups of investigators, who are
involved in research, curricula development, and career development and/or
other cross-training activities in Neuroinformatics.  Therefore, budget
requests should include travel funds for the principal investigator and others
to meet annually in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area for this purpose.


Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions
regarding an application from potential applicants is welcome.  The following
FICC-HBP representatives from each of the participating agencies, institutes
and center can be contacted for further information or clarification. 
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the agency or
institute representative to discuss their plans prior to preparing an

General programmatic inquiries regarding the Human Brain Project/
Neuroinformatics program may be directed to the chair of the coordinating

Stephen H. Koslow, Ph.D.
Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167, MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD 20892-9613
Telephone: (301) 443-1815
Fax: (301) 443-1867

Inquiries regarding fiscal matters may be directed to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6120, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-3065
FAX:  (301) 443-6885

Questions regarding scientific issues, management issues, issues on cores
related to participating Institutes and Centers (ICs), and fiscal matters
should be directed to the programmatic and fiscal contacts for each
participating IC.  A current list of the contacts for the participating ICs
may be found at:


This program is described in the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos.
93.242 (NIMH), 93.279 (NIDA), 47.074 (NSF), 93.866 (NIA), 93.865 (NICHD),
93.173 (NIDCD), 93.879 (NLM), 93.934 (FIC), 81.049 (DOE), 93.273 (NIAAA),
93.838 (NHLBI), 93.121 (NIDCR), 93.395 (NCI), and 93.854 (NINDS).  Awards are
made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A
(Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and
administered under PHS grants policies and Federal regulations 42 CFR 52 and
45 CFR part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372 as implemented through Department of
Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR part 100 or Health Systems
Agency Review.  Awards by PHS agencies will be administered under PHS grants
policy as stated in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (October 1, 1998).

PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the nonuse of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood
development services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the
PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
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