NIH – NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant (R21- Clinical Trial Optional)

November 21, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant program supports exploratory and foundational research projects that fall within the scientific mission of the NINDS.  Awards will provide support for the early and conceptual stages of these projects. These studies may involve considerable risk, but may lead to breakthroughs in important areas of neuroscience, or to the development of novel techniques, reagents, methodologies, or models, of high value to the neuroscience community.

The evolution and vitality of neuroscience requires a constant infusion of new ideas, techniques, and points of view. These may differ substantially from current thinking or practice, and may not yet be supported by substantial preliminary data.

This program is intended to encourage research that will explore new ideas, and advance early stages of projects. For example, such projects could assess the feasibility of a novel area of investigation or a new experimental system that has the potential to enhance neuroscience related research. Another example could include the unique and innovative use of an existing methodology to explore a new area of neuroscience.

NINDS is publishing this funding opportunity announcement and withdrawing from the NIH-wide parent R21 announcement.  Here are some important points to consider before applying:

Only applications that fall within the scientific mission of the NINDS will be considered for funding (

To assess the relevance of an application topic, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NINDS program staff before submitting.  A listing of NINDS program staff can be found at:

For this FOA NINDS will support hypothesis-driven mechanistic clinical trial studies in basic and/or translational discovery research in healthy human subjects and in the pathobiology, pathophysiology, and neuropathology of neurological disorders. The goal is to address basic questions and to interrogate concepts in biology, behavior, and pathophysiology that will provide insight into understanding neurological disorders.  Such studies may seek to understand a biological or behavioral process, or the mechanism of action of an intervention. NINDS supports biomarker studies that may provide information about physiological function, target engagement of novel therapeutics, and/or mechanisms of therapeutic responses. The submitted studies may be defined as clinical trials (as noted above) but do not seek to answer specific questions about safety, tolerability, clinical efficacy, effectiveness, clinical management, and/or implementation of pharmacologic, behavioral, biologic, surgical, or device (invasive or non-invasive) interventions. preventive, therapeutic, and services interventions. Applicants are strongly advised to consult with NINDS Scientific/Research staff prior to submitting an application with human subjects to determine the appropriate funding opportunity.

Per NOT-OD-16-011, the NIH expects applicants to apply rigor in designing and performing scientific research according to the NIH Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research.

To take advantage of higher success rates, Early Stage Investigators are encouraged to consider the R01 funding mechanism.

Deadlines:  standard dates and standard AIDS dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities