BRAIN Initiative: Next-Generation Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human Central Nervous System (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Required)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage investigators to pursue translational and clinical studies for recording and/or stimulating devices to treat nervous system disorders and better understand the human brain. The program will utilize a cooperative agreement mechanism to support the submission of an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) for a Significant Risk (SR) study or obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for a Non-Significant Risk (NSR) study, and a subsequent small clinical trial (e.g., Early Feasibility Study). The small clinical trial should provide data to answer key questions about the function or final design of a device.  This final device design may require most, if not all, of the non-clinical testing on the path to more advanced clinical trials and market approval. The clinical trial is expected to provide information that cannot be practically obtained through additional nonclinical assessments (e.g., bench top or animal studies) due to the novelty of the device or its intended use. Activities supported in this program include implementation of clinical prototype devices, non-clinical safety and efficacy testing, design verification and validation activities, and pursuit of regulatory approval for, and implementation of, a single small clinical trial.

As part of the BRAIN Initiative, NIH has initiated a Public-Private Partnership Program (BRAIN PPP) that includes agreements (Memoranda of Understanding, MOU) with a number of device manufacturers willing to make such devices available, including devices and capabilities not yet market approved but appropriate for clinical research.  In general, it is expected that the devices' existing safety and utility data will be sufficient to enable new IRB NSR or FDA IDE approval without need for significant additional non-clinical data. 

For more information on the BRAIN PPP, see

Individuals, institutions or businesses developing their own devices or that already have established collaborations with device manufacturers are welcome to apply directly to this FOA or RFA-NS-18-023.


  • Letter of Intent: 30 days prior to receipt date
  • Application Due Date(s): February 23, 2018, June 21, 2018, October 22, 2018, February 21, 2019, June 21, 2019, October 21, 2019, February 21, 2020, June 22, 2020, October 21, 2020, February 22, 2021

RFA-NS-18-021 Expiration Date New Date February 23, 2021 per issuance of NOT-NS-20-103. (Original Expiration Date: October 22, 2020)

Agency Website

Amount Description

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

The duration of the UG3 phase cannot exceed 4 years and the total duration of the UG3/UH3 phases combined may not exceed 5 years.  

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

October 21, 2020