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NCATS Announces NIH HEAL Initiative-Related Funding Opportunities

December 19, 2018

NCATS is supporting three new funding opportunities and a prize challenge through the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM. The opportunities are part of a collection that NIH released on Dec. 10, 2018, to solicit the best and brightest research ideas to bolster existing research in the areas of addiction, pain and opioid use disorders.

Paige Derr creates a 3-D bioprinted tissue model in NCATS’ 3-D Tissue Bioprinting Lab.

Paige Derr creates a 3-D bioprinted tissue model in NCATS’ 3-D Tissue Bioprinting Lab. (Daniel Soñé Photography, LLC, Photo)

As part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, NCATS is providing a suite of translational science resources and expertise to investigators working on opioid and pain research. The Center will lead trans-NIH collaborative Initiative efforts to:

  • Develop new testing platforms that more closely model human biology;
  • Find, de-risk, test and optimize promising compounds;
  • Identify new chemical structures and develop them into drug-like compounds;
  • Advance new drug candidates through rigorous preclinical efficacy and safety studies needed for first-in-human clinical trials; and
  • Facilitate opportunities to partner with other NIH Institutes and Centers as well as clinical research institutions to conduct comparative-effectiveness studies of existing pain management treatments.

Details about each of these four opportunities are as follows:

3-D Bioprinted Tissue Models of Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose

Letters of Intent Due: Jan. 28, 2019
Applications Due: Feb. 28, 2019

Through RFA-TR-19-005, NCATS is supporting collaborations with the external research community to develop and use 3-D biofabricated tissue models as new drug screening platforms to advance preclinical discovery and development of non-addictive treatments for pain, opioid use disorder and overdose. NCATS intends to fund approximately two to three awards for a total of $1.5 million in fiscal year 2019.

Tissue Chips to Model Pain, Addiction and Overdose

Letters of Intent Due: Jan. 28, 2019
Applications Due: Feb. 28, 2019

Selected applicants through RFA-TR-19-003 will receive funding to create and test devices that can model the mechanisms or effects of pain-relevant signaling, addiction or opioid use disorders using human tissues in tissue- and organ-on-chip systems. NCATS intends to commit approximately $5 million in fiscal year 2019 to fund four to six awards.

ASPIRE badges: Predictive Algorithms, Electronic Chemistry Portal, Integrated Database, Biological Assays

ASPIRE Design Challenges

Challenges Open: Dec. 31, 2018
Submission Deadline: May 31, 2019
Winners Announced: August 2019

NCATS has issued a series of challenge competitions for novel chemical compound concepts that have the potential to address pain, addiction and overdose. NCATS will issue up to 22 prizes for the creation of a database, an electronic laboratory knowledge portal, machine learning algorithms and biological assays. An additional challenge will focus on a combined solution for two or more areas. View NOT-TR-18-031 and the ASPIRE Design Challenges page to learn more. 

NIH HEAL Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN)

Letters of Intent Due: Jan. 2, 2019
January 2019 Update: There has been a change to the Key Dates in RFA-NS-19-021. Specifically, the first receipt date will change from February 1, 2019, to February 11, 2019. Please view NOT-NS-19-028 for additional details.

Led by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the NIH HEAL Pain Management ERN will support studies to compare the effectiveness of existing pain treatments and new approaches to prevent and manage pain while reducing the risk of addiction. The network will use the NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hubs and the Trial Innovation Network to implement clinical trials and studies of interest to multiple NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices and support studies that provide evidence to inform practice-based guidelines. NIH intends to fund approximately five awards up to a total of $4 million in fiscal year 2019. View RFA-NS-19-021 for more information.

View a complete list of current NIH HEAL Initiative funding opportunities, including more that involve NCATS.

Last updated on February 22, 2024