Focus On Spinal Cord Injury Research

Two doctors shaking hands in hospital corridor, one with spinal cord injury and in a wheelchair.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can result from traumatic or non-traumatic insult, condition or disease. SCI is classified by the spinal level of injury (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. Additional general information about SCI can be found at the NINDS SCI disorder information page.

The NINDS is the lead Institute at NIH supporting extramural SCI research.  NINDS funds basic and applied research on normal spinal cord structure and function, mechanisms of injury, and secondary consequences of SCI. NINDS staff also work closely with other NIH Institutes and Centers to support cross-disciplinary SCI research including neuro-prosthesis development and rehabilitation and effects of SCI on organ systems throughout the body.

Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories

Research/Disease Areas* FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018
FY 2019
Spinal Cord Injury $71 $77 $81 $76

*Dollars in millions and rounded

Proceedings & Outcomes


Resources and Tools


Linda Bambrick, Ph.D. | Program Director, Repair & Plasticity

Join the NINDS SCI Research Listserv to receive regular updates on funding announcements and other opportunities.

Funding Opportunities 

Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Funding Opportunities

The BRAIN Initiative Funding Opportunities

Revised Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs

News & Events

Revised Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs

NIH hosts meeting on the future of spinal cord injury research

Study provides an early recipe for rewiring spinal cords


Related Topics 

NINDS CDEs for Spinal Cord Injury

NINDS strongly encourages researchers who receive funding from the Institute to use these common data elements (CDEs) in their clinical research.

North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium (NASCIC)
NASCIC brings together like-minded organizations, individuals, and groups to improve research, care, and policies impacting people living with spinal cord injury, their families, and community. Working collaboratively, the organization is structured to effectively bring about collective change through approved projects.

Spinal Cord Outcomes Partnership Endeavor (SCOPE)
An affiliate of the American Spinal Injury Association, the mission of SCOPE is to enhance the development of clinical trial and clinical practice protocols for therapeutic interventions for SCI. SCOPE sponsors quarterly updates of active interventional SCI clinical trials and peer-reviewed manuscripts focusing on issues of importance for SCI translational and clinical research. 

Developing a data sharing community for spinal cord injury research
Results of the 2016 "Spinal Cord Injury Preclinical Data Workshop: Developing a FAIR Share Community" was published as a white paper describing the impact of data sharing opportunities for preclinical SCI researchers.