NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS) (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health


The NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) award is intended to support the research and research career advancement of outstanding, exceptionally productive scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who plan to make a long-term career commitment to research in specific mission areas of the NIMH. This award seeks to assist these individuals in launching an innovative clinical, translational, basic, or services research program that holds the potential to profoundly transform the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of mental disorders. The NIMH BRAINS program will focus on the research priorities and gap areas identified in the NIMH Strategic Plan.


  • Letter of Intent Due Date: 30 days before the application due date
  • Application Due Date(s): June 20, 2023; June 20, 2024; June 20, 2025

RFA-MH-22-185 Expiration Date June 21, 2025

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be designated Early Stage Investigators (ESI) by NIH as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement . In addition, applicants must have faculty appointments which are tenure track or equivalent, generally at the level of Assistant Professor or equivalent, and have a research or health professional level degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent) at the time of application. If the applicant is at an institution/organization that does not have a tenure track, he or she must hold an equivalent appointment and must have demonstrated support from the institution. Individuals must show that they have established research independence from a mentor, and have dedicated independent laboratory and research resources available to conduct the research proposed in the grant application. If an ESI applicant loses their ESI status by virtue of successfully competing as a PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award prior to the award of a BRAINS award, they will lose their eligibility to receive the BRAINS award.

Potential applicants who anticipate developing or testing interventions that focus on measuring target engagement and mechanism of action are strongly advised to contact the Scientific/Research Contact for this FOA regarding the match between an application, current NIMH priorities, and the unique goals of this FOA.

If a PD/PI has submitted to a prior BRAINS FOA but was not successful in receiving funding, they may be eligible to apply again if they still have NIH ESI status and the application proposes a scientifically distinct project than the prior submission. Resubmissions or submission of the same project as a new application are not allowed under this RFA.



    Amount Description

    An applicant may request a budget for direct costs up to $500,000 per year.

    The total project period for an application submitted in response to this FOA may not exceed five years.

      Funding Type



      Junior Faculty


      Medical - Basic Science
      Medical - Clinical Science

      External Deadline

      June 20, 2023