Blueprint Research Initiatives

The NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research supports cross-cutting neuroscience activities like research training, workforce diversity, therapeutic development, and other research initiatives. Blueprint will be supporting exciting new research initiatives in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.

Blueprint MedTech

The overarching goal of the Blueprint MedTech program is to accelerate patient access to groundbreaking, safe, and effective medical devices. The program will provide support to sufficiently develop and de-risk technologies to the point where additional investments are warranted from industry partners, investors, and government.

Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network for Biologics (BPN-Biologics)

The Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network for Biologics (BPN-Biologics) provides support for biologic-based therapeutic discovery and development, from lead optimization through phase I clinical testing. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports preclinical discovery and development of potential therapeutic Biotechnology Products and Biologics including, but not limited to, large biologic macromolecules, (e.g., proteins, antibodies, and peptides), gene-based therapies (i.e., oligonucleotide- and viral-based), cell therapies, and novel emerging therapies (e.g., microbial and microbiome therapies). Applicants will collaborate with NIH-funded consultants and can augment their project with NIH contract research organizations (CROs) that specialize in manufacturing, scaling, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and Phase I clinical testing. BPN-Biologics awardee institutions retain their assignment of IP rights and gain assignment of IP rights from the BPN-Biologics contractors (and thereby control the patent prosecution and licensing negotiations) for biotherapeutic candidates developed in this program.

Tools and Technologies to Explore Nervous System Biomolecular Condensates

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support the development of innovative tools and/or technologies to monitor or manipulate biomolecular condensates (BMCs) in vivo and enable investigators to adopt these tools to answer outstanding questions in basic neuroscience. This research will transform our understanding of the mechanistic role of BMCs in human nervous system health and disease and may serve as the foundation for the development of novel BMC-based therapeutics.

Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program

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This announcement is part of the NIH’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program. All NIH Blueprint Institutes and Centers participate in NIH Common Fund initiatives. The FIRST program will provide support to institutions to recruit diverse groups or “cohorts” of early-stage neuroscience research faculty and prepare them to thrive as NIH-funded researchers. Progress has been made to increase participation of historically underrepresented groups in biomedical research training stages, however members of these groups are still less likely to be hired into positions as independently-funded faculty researchers, according to previous studies. These groups include underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. Two new funding announcements have been released as part of the NIH Common Fund’s FIRST program to enhance inclusive excellence at NIH-funded institutions.

Inclusive excellence has diversity and equity at its core, building inclusion into all organizational functions and establishing hallmarks for successful operationalization of inclusion. The FIRST program will provide funds for faculty recruitment and to establish inclusive environments at participating institutions to help those faculty succeed. The program’s estimated budget is $241 million over nine years, pending the availability of funds.

Functional Neural Circuits of Interoception

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to enhance our fundamental understanding of interoception with a specific focus on dissecting and determining the function of neural circuits that connects peripheral organs/tissues with the central nervous system (CNS) via peripheral ganglia. For this FOA, interoception science includes studies of the processes by which an organism senses, interprets, integrates, and regulates signals originating from within itself. This FOA encourages projects that combine diverse expertise and use innovative approaches to delineate interoceptive mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, circuitry, functional, and/or behavioral levels. Outcomes of this research will lay a critical foundation for future translational and clinical research on interoception as well as its roles in nervous system disorders. Studies of interoceptive neural circuits exclusively within the CNS may be more appropriate for The BRAIN Initiative® funding opportunities. Applications in response to this FOA should budget for an annual investigator meeting organized by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. Human subject research is not allowed for this FOA.

Please visit the Funding Opportunities webpage for a searchable list of all Blueprint FOAs and notices. 

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018

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Blueprint developed three FOAs that began supporting research in FY 2018:

  1. The Dynamic Neuroimmune Interactions in the Transition from Normal CNS Function to Disorders (RFA-AA-18-07) R01 seeks to transform our understanding of the dynamic changes among multiple neuroimmune components and how they contribute to the onset and progression of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Research supported by this FOA is expected to address temporal changes in multiple neuroimmune components, such as neurons, microglia, and astrocytes. Proposals that blend diverse expertise with innovative approaches that address these questions at the molecular, cellular, and circuitry levels were highly encouraged.
  2. The Innovative Approaches or Technologies to Investigate Regional, Structural and Functional Heterogeneity of CNS Small Blood and Lymphatic Vessels (RFA-NS-18-003) R01 solicited research focused on the development of new technology and tools or novel mechanistic studies (or a combination of both) to image, profile and map central nervous system small blood and lymphatic vessels in health and disease across the lifespan. Additional goals of this research are to elucidate mechanisms underlying CNS small blood and lymphatic vessels structure and functional heterogeneity, differential susceptibility to injury, role in disease and repair processes, and responses to therapies.
  3. The Development and Validation of Technologies for Rapid Isolation and Characterization of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) of Central Nervous System Origin (RFA-MH-18-600) R21/R33 is a phased innovation award focused on technology development for robust and reproducible CNS-EV isolation methods. The primary goal of this initiative is to advance the current technologies, develop novel techniques and approaches, and standardize protocols to reliably and specifically isolate EVs of CNS origin from human biofluids, identify the cell type from which they were derived, and characterize their composition.
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