Focus on Spinal Cord Injury Research

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 Hope Through Research website.

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. 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

NINDS Supported Research Resources 

SCI Research Tools and Resources

  • 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. 

Professional SCI Research Organizations: The following organizations primarily serve SCI clinicians and researchers. For links to patient-centered resources please see SCI Hope Through Research.

  • American Congress of Rehbilitative Medicine (ACRM
  • American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA)
  • National Neurotrauma Society (NNS)
  • International Spinal Cord Injury Society (IsCOS

Workshops and Symposia

Upcoming SCI related meetings with NINDS support and/or representation:

American Spinal Injury Association 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting, May 2-4, 2018 | Rochester, NY

NeuroTrauma 2018, August 11-16, 2018 | Toronto, Canada

Recent SCI related meetings with NINDS support and/or representation:

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, July 9 - 12, 2017 | Snowbird, UT

Working 2 Walk Science and Advocacy Symposium,  October 13-14, 2017 |  Miami, FL 

56th ISCoS (International Spinal Cord Society) Annual Scientific Meeting, October 24-26, 2017 |  Dublin, Ireland 

FAIR-SCI Ahead Workshop SfN Satellite Symposia Meeting; November 10, 2017 | Washington, DC

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Annual Meeting; November 11-15, 2017 | Washington, DC 

ISNR 2017, 17th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration,  November 29 - December 1, 2017 |  Pacific Grove, CA

North American Neuromodulation Society Annual Meeting,  January 11-14, 2018 | Las Vegas, NV

Previous NINDS Workshops and Conferences