Some scientific problems exceed the capabilities of one or two laboratories, and therefore NINDS recognizes that interdisciplinary team science is essential to advancing our mission. By leveraging expertise and approaches across multiple disciplines, we can tackle the most ambitious goals and challenges in modern neuroscience research. To expand our ability to pursue complex problems in neuroscience, including in fundamental neuroscience, I am delighted to share that NINDS has launched a new funding opportunity designed to support interdisciplinary research teams to pursue scientific goals that could not be met by individual efforts.
The NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science RM1 funding opportunity encourages teams of experts to collaborate and cross technical and conceptual boundaries. It also promotes features that help to ensure a successful team-science effort: synergy, cohesiveness, an integrated and focused scientific goal that necessitates interdisciplinary collaboration, strong team coordination, and a commitment to expanding inclusivity. In designing this funding opportunity, we were motivated by the NINDS Strategic Plan for Research and by exciting examples of team science efforts. We also drew inspiration from other team science mechanisms at NIH, as well as our program staff’s collective experience and lessons learned from managing other team science efforts. I am happy to share that this is also the first NINDS-led funding opportunity that requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP) in the application, as first pioneered by the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
This NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science funding opportunity is distinct from and complementary to other NINDS programs that support collaborations across multiple investigators. Unlike the NINDS P01, the RM1 will support one research plan with a single, targeted focus that is cohesive and well-integrated; one set of aims; and one integrated budget that must cover all costs and reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The RM1 program will also require a Multi-Principal Investigator (MPI) structure with 3-6 investigators, who will each bring a distinct scientific viewpoint or expertise necessary to pursue the interdisciplinary approach. NINDS recognizes that the success of team science hinges on well-managed team interactions, clear timelines and benchmarks for success, and evidence of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Therefore, all of these components will be required as part of the application.
Through this funding opportunity, we invite teams to challenge existing paradigms, overcome long-standing roadblocks to progress, and develop new synergies across different scientific fields. We hope that this message and the new funding opportunity will spur creative collaborations and mobilize the neuroscience community to merge diverse perspectives and strengths in order to take on challenging scientific goals.
I encourage eligible teams to apply for this exciting new program, which will leverage team science to unravel the mysteries of the brain. For more information, please visit the NINDS Interdisciplinary Team Science RM1 website, attend our upcoming webinar (which will be recorded for on-demand viewing), or contact NINDSTeamScience@nih.gov. The first set of applications will be due on October 7, 2022.