On October 31, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced the creation of a new unit designed to reframe mental health research by facilitating communication among scientists, clinicians, and the public. The new unit was established to support the development of the institute’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative.
According to NIMH, RDoC “attempts to bring the power of modern research approaches in genetics, neuroscience, and behavioral problems of mental illness, studied independently from the classification systems by which patients are currently grouped.” The aim is to accelerate the pace of research that translates basic science into clinical settings “by understanding the multilayered systems that contribute to mental function.”
The Institute emphasized in the announcement that data sharing is central to the RDoC initiative. The RDoC Database will use the same data-sharing platform that NIMH created for the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR). That database now contains de-identified data from more than 77,000 human subjects, the institute reports.
The staff of the new unit will provide information to current and potential grantees, respond to inquiries, organize scientific events, support education and training, and conduct liaisons with other agencies in the U.S. and internationally. NIMH notes that the staff will also coordinate the growth of the RDoC grant portfolio, which is expected to take up an increasing portion of NIMH-funded clinical research in the years to come.
Additional information about RDoC initiative is available here.