Focus on Spinal Cord Injury Research

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can result from traumatic or non-traumatic insult, condition or disease.  SCI is classified with regard to the spinal level of injury (creating paraplegia or tetraplegia, for example) or severity of injury (from mild, incomplete to severe and/or complete).  The primary functional deficits include loss of sensation, motor control, and autonomic regulation. In addition to loss of movement and sensation, spinal cord injuries affect life expectancy and quality of life due to secondary consequences including spasticity, lower urinary tract, bowel and sexual dysfunction, integument compromise and pressure ulcers, pain, cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory complications, and immune compromise.  To learn more about incidence and burden of SCI please see the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.  Additional information about SCI can be found at the NINDS SCI Hope Through Research website.

NINDS is the lead Institute at NIH in supporting extramural SCI research.  Areas of interest include basic understanding of the normal spinal cord and the mechanisms of injury and secondary consequences, through the development of therapeutic interventions in laboratory animals, and clinical studies in people with spinal cord injuries, including clinical trials.  NINDS staff also work closely with other Institutes and Centers to support additional areas of SCI research. To search a complete list of SCI projects funded by NIH please go to NIH RePORTER. The NIH’s total investment in SCI can be found in categorical spending.

For information on NINDS clinical trials please see the Clinical Research section, or search

Funding Opportunities 

A complete, searchable list of funding opportunities is available under Funding. Please be aware that if you plan to request $500,000 or more in direct costs you must contact the appropriate Program Director at least 6 weeks before submission to obtain approval. For more information please see the eRA User Guide ($500K requests).

Tools & Resources

Workshops and Symposia


CNS Neuroregeneration Strategies: Discovery and Implementation March 15-17, 2017 |  Houston, TX

American Spinal Injury Association 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting April 26-29, 2017 | Albuquerque, NM

National Neurotrauma Society (NNS) Symposium 2017   Jul 09 - 12, 2017  |  Snowbird, UT

ISNR 2017, 17th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration  November 29-Dec 2


Spinal Cord Injury Preclinical Data Workshop: Developing a FAIR Share Community, October 4-5, 2016 |  Rockville, MD  

Previous Workshops