Funding agency: 
National Institutes of Health

The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. NRSA fellowships support the training of pre-and postdoctoral scientists, dual-degree investigators, and senior researchers.  More information about NRSA programs may be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) website. 

The purpose of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) is to support promising applicants during their mentored postdoctoral training under the guidance of outstanding faculty sponsors.  Applicants for the BRAIN Initiative Fellows F32 program are expected to propose a research project and training plan in a scientific area relevant to one or more of the goals of the BRAIN Initiative, including neuroethics (see The integrated program of research and training is expected to provide applicants with training using cutting-edge tools, theories and/or approaches that will prepare them to launch independent research careers in areas that will advance the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. See the section, Specific Objectives of this FOA, below for details. 

The BRAIN Initiative

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, will show how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. It is expected that the application of these new tools and technologies will ultimately lead to new ways to treat and prevent brain disorders.

NIH is one of several federal agencies involved in the BRAIN Initiative. Planning for the NIH component of the BRAIN initiative is guided by the long-term scientific plan, "BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision," which details seven high-priority research areas and calls for a sustained federal commitment of $4.5 billion over 12 years. This FOA and other FOAs issued in Fiscal Year 2018 are based on careful consideration by the NIH of the recommendations of the BRAIN 2025 Report, and input from the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group. Videocasts of the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group are available at

In addition to the National BRAIN initiative, the NIH continues to have a substantial annual investment in neuroscience research and research training. The Institutes and Centers contributing to the NIH BRAIN Initiative ( support those research and research training efforts through investigator-initiated applications as well as through specific FOAs. Potential applicants to this FOA are strongly encouraged to contact Scientific/Program staff if they have any questions about the best FOA for their research training.

To enable rapid progress in development of new technologies as well as in theory and data analysis, the BRAIN Initiative encourages collaborations between neurobiologists and scientists from statistics, physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer and information sciences; and NIH welcomes applications from investigators in these disciplines.

NIH encourages BRAIN Initiative applications from investigators who are underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research workforce (see data at and the most recent report on  Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). Such individuals include those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and those with disabilities (see NOT-OD-15-053).

The BRAIN Initiative will require a high level of coordination and sharing between investigators. It is expected that BRAIN Initiative awardees will cooperate and coordinate their activities after awards are made by participating in Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) meetings and in other activities.

February 15, 2018
Funding type: 
Graduate students