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Funding News - NIH Issues Blueprint Grand Challenges

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  • The information on this page is for historical and research purposes only.
  • For the most current NINDS funding announcements, please see the NINDS list of Active Funding Initiatives or Follow Us on Twitter for the latest funding news.

The NIH Blueprint recently announced Grand Challenges to accelerate research with the potential to transform basic understanding of the brain and approaches to treating brain disorders. The Blueprint is a framework to enhance cooperative activities among the 16 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices that support research on the nervous system.

The Blueprint Grand Challenges—which began in 2009 and will continue in 2010—address the Human Connectome Project, neuropathic pain, and neurotherapeutics. Funding announcements for the Human Connectome Project and the first phase of the Grand Challenge on pain were released in 2009. NIH now has released funding announcements for the next phase of the pain challenge and for neurotherapeutics.

Neuropathic Pain
Pain conditions are a major health problem in the United States. Chronic neuropathic pain is especially difficult to treat. The Grand Challenge on pain supports research to understand the changes in the nervous system that cause acute, temporary pain to become chronic nerve pain (neuropathic pain). One goal of the initiative is to enhance collaboration between researchers in the pain field and researchers with expertise in neuroplasticity.

NIH is encouraging the submission of multi-PI grant applications that propose highly collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects addressing neuropathic pain conditions, or competitive revision applications that propose a collaborative, one-year pilot study or a new specific aim associated with an active NIH grant. The parent grant may be focused on pain or neural plasticity outside the area of pain.

Letters of intent are due by August 30, 2010; applications are due by September 29, 2010.

For more information contact Dr. John Kusiak, director, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Program, NIDCR, at 301-594-7984 or, or visit, or

Most promising compounds identified through basic research are not ready for human testing. Before a new chemical can be tested in a clinical setting, it must undergo a chemical optimization process to improve potency, activity, and drug-likeness, and pre-clinical safety testing to meet the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration. The Neurotherapeutics Grand Challenge will set up a pipeline to move candidate drugs for neurological disorders through preclinical development into early clinical trials.

The ultimate goals of this Grand Challenge are to produce at least one novel and effective drug for a nervous system disorder that is currently poorly treated, and to increase industry interest in novel disease targets by demonstrating early-stage success.

Letters of intent are due by July 10, 2010; applications are due by August 10, 2010.

For more information contact Dr. Jill Heemskerk, program director, Office of Translational Research, NINDS, at 301-496-1779 or; or Dr. Rebecca Farkas, program director, Office of Translational Reseach, NINDS, at 301-496-9271 or, or visit