NIH News Release
Fogarty International Center
For Advanced Study in the Health Sciences

Thursday, January 9, 2003
Irene Edwards
(301) 496-2075

Fogarty International Center Announces
New Collaborative Research Program for Brain Disorders in the Developing World

Bethesda, Maryland — The Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces a new research program to support international collaborations to study brain disorders in developing countries. FIC, with nine NIH partners*, the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for the first phase of a new program, Brain Disorders in the Developing World: Research Across the Lifespan. For the first time, FIC is joining with the major biomedical research agencies of both its North American neighbors, Canada and Mexico. The current combined financial commitment from FIC and its partners for the first phase of the program is approximately $4 million to support up to 20 two-year planning grants, subject to availability of funds.

This new program grew out of the recognition of the enormous global burden of disease posed by mental illness and brain disorders, and the increase expected in this burden over the next two decades. In the design phase, FIC convened a consultation of experts, led by Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel, to discuss challenges and opportunities for scientific advances in this field. Areas considered, that are now integral to the program, included research, research capacity building and training.

"Brain disorders and mental illness and the social and economic demands associated with cognitive disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, and stroke — as well as the stigma associated with these conditions — strain entire families, diminishing productivity and quality of life for all members," said FIC Director Dr. Gerald Keusch, on behalf of the partners. "While cost-effective treatments to reduce the burden of certain brain disorders are available in the developed world, this is not the case in the developing world. This program will support research on these disorders and efforts to develop new interventions that will benefit low-income populations around the world, and particularly in developing countries."

Applicants in the competition for planning grants are invited to develop research programs that will assess needs, develop collaborations and necessary resources, carry out feasibility and pilot studies, and put the necessary elements in place to create a strong collaborative research project that will contribute to the long-term goal of building sustainable research capacity in neurological/neurodevelopmental impairment. FIC anticipates that at the end of two years, an RFA will be issued to solicit applications for R01 research projects, which will be open to all applicants. Applications are encouraged from developed country principal investigators working with partners in the developing world as well as from developing country principal investigators working with partners in developed nations.

Applications for the Brain Disorders in the Developing World: Research Across the Lifespan Program are due by March 11, 2003. Letters of intent are due by February 11, 2003. The Request for Applications for this program may be found at Additional information can be found at the FIC Website,

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. FIC will commemorate its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2003 with a year- long lecture series on global health issues and a scientific symposium on May 20-21, 2003. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Press releases, fact sheets, and other FIC-related materials are available at

*NIH partners are the National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Eye Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Office of Dietary Supplements.