HEAL Initiative: Discovery and Validation of Novel Targets for Safe and Effective Pain Treatment (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to promote the discovery and validation of novel therapeutic targets to facilitate the development of pain therapeutics.  Specifically, the focus of this FOA is on the basic science discovery of targets in the peripheral nervous system, central nervous system, immune system or other tissues in the body that can be used to develop treatments that have minimal side effects and little to no abuse/addiction liability. Research supported by this FOA must include rigorous validation studies to demonstrate the robustness of the target as a pain treatment target. This will lower the risk of adopting the target in translational projects to develop small molecules, biologics, natural substances, or devices that interact with this target for new pain treatments. Translational research to develop new medical devices is not the focus of this FOA. Basic science studies of pain and related systems in the body are responsive to this FOA and are encouraged in the context of novel pain therapeutic target discovery.

This FOA is not specific for any one or group of pain conditions. Projects to identify novel targets for acute pain, chronic pain, migraine, other headache disorders, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, sickle-cell pain, post stroke pain, orofacial pain, etc. will be considered. Projects to identify novel targets for a combination of chronic overlapping pain conditions or for specific pathological conditions will be considered. Projects that seek to identify novel targets in specific populations such as women, children, older adults or other underrepresented groups will also be responsive to this FOA.


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): 30 days prior to the application due date.
  • Application Due Date(s): March 2, 2022; June 2, 2022; Oct 4, 2022; Feb 2, 2023; June 2, 2023; Oct 4, 2023; Feb 2, 2024; June 4, 2024; Oct 2, 2024
  • AIDS Application Due Date(s): April 7, 2022; Aug 8, 2022; Dec 7, 2022; April 7, 2023; Aug 7, 2023; Dec 7, 2023; April 9, 2024; Aug 7, 2024; Dec 6, 2024

RFA-NS-22-034 Expiration Date December 07, 2024

Agency Website

Amount Description


Funding Type





Medical - Basic Science

External Deadline

February 2, 2024