IMHR Funding Announcement Winter 2024 Grants Program

The Institute for Mental Health Research (IMHR) is pleased to announce the Winter 2024 grant competition in which we will award up to $250,000 in grants with individual awards of up to $50,000 for innovative mental health research. These grants are available to credentialed investigators in the state of Arizona associated with any recognized research or health institution in the state. This funding mechanism is specifically meant to seed, through substantial pilot activity, research that will lead to significant subsequent funding from federal agencies or major national philanthropic organizations, or to make a durable positive impact on existing mental health programming in Arizona.

IMHR was established in 2001, and over the past 20 years has encouraged and supported innovative seed research in mental health that has both advanced the field and led to major national funding to pursue more extensive efforts. The successes to date have been remarkable. IMHR has provided approximately $3.5 million to Arizona scientists and mental health experts, and this investment in state scientific talent has resulted in a $45 million return on investment. We plan to expand upon that success with this funding opportunity.


Priority Areas of Interest

For this call for applications, IMHR is focusing on mental health issues that are identified as priorities for the state. We reviewed the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) that was conducted in almost every county of the state to create these foci. In nearly every recent CHNA report, mental health is identified as a public health priority, with several topics of specific interest identified across counties. These areas of need include: 1) access to mental health care and the barriers which affect it, especially in disadvantaged communities; 2) drug and alcohol abuse; 3) depression and suicide; 4) child and family mental health; and 5) building social connectedness. Applications can address any aspect of these priority areas, although IMHR is especially interested in approaches that involve prevention and intervention science, novel approaches to overcoming barriers to mental health services, and applied strategies to reduce challenges to mental health and increase well-being.

Applications that include partnerships between scientists and community-based behavioral health professionals are of particular interest. Applications must be clear about which of the prioritized areas is being addressed, and applications that address multiple areas are encouraged and will be prioritized.

Level of Support

For this Request for Applications (RFA), support up to $50,000 is available for individual applications. IMHR does not provide indirect costs.

IMHR Grants Program Expectations

The goal of IMHR’s grants program is to support novel, relatively small-scale, early stage research projects. This seed funding is meant to support subsequent initiatives sponsored by federal agencies and philanthropy, bringing additional research dollars to Arizona scientists. Also, this round of IMHR research support has the explicit goal of advancing mental health programming to improve community health. To that end, all IMHR grantees are expected to pursue either subsequent larger scale funding from national sources that follows-up on the successes of their IMHR-supported research, or to have a specific plan for how the results of their project can influence current mental health programming in the state.

IMHR has a history of supporting new and early career investigators, and we continue to value the importance of assisting the early career development of mental health researchers in AZ. We encourage early career scientists to apply for support as Principal Investigators, and the inclusion of more experienced investigators as co-investigators is viewed favorably as a predictor of success. The inclusion of community-based behavioral health professionals on the research team is likewise encouraged, as appropriate to the application’s focus.

IMHR is proud of the economic impact its support of Arizona investigators has brought to the state. The approximate 20:1 ratio of awarded federal support to IMHR support has brought additional millions to the Arizona economy. Further return on investment is also possible through the creation of new or improved mental health programs that reduce morbidity and the economic costs of poor mental health.

Application Instructions

Applications will be limited to 5 pages maximum. Applications should include the following sections: (1) An Abstract (250 words) that should be accessible to non-specialists. The abstract does not count toward page limits. (2) Specific aims (1 page, max), (3) Background and Significance, (4) Approach, (5) Timeline and Feasibility; (6) Clinical or Translational Implications, (7) Plans for Larger Scale Subsequent Research Support or program implementation. The length of each section is determined by the investigator(s) and application needs. A budget with justification (justification is limited to two pages) must be included. Budget and reference pages are not included in the page count. Applications must use no smaller than 0.5 inch margins and 11-point font sizes throughout. NIH-style biosketch (limited to three pages) must be included for key personnel and letters of support from partnering agencies to assure feasibility are required. Biosketches are not required for project staff or consultants. Please note again: IMHR does not provide indirect costs.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by members of IMHR’s External Council of Scientific Advisors (ECSA) which is comprised of accomplished state and national mental health scientists. Members of the Research and Grants Committee (RGC) of the IMHR Board of Directors may also participate in review as appropriate. Applications will be judged on the extent to which they address IMHR areas of interest; the quality of each of the sections of the application; and the qualifications of the investigator(s).


Critical Dates

Applications should be submitted electronically, and will be due on or before Friday, March, 1, 2024 Notification of award is anticipated by Monday, May 31, 2024 or as soon thereafter as the review process can be completed.


Please direct questions and applications to Keith Crnic PhD, IMHR Chief Science Officer, through

Posted in AZBio News.