Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Project Grant

The Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) is pleased to announce a funding opportunity for research in intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The primary objective of this funding competition is to identify a research proposal to be included as the signature project as part of an NICHD P50 application for a highly competitive Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center (IDDRC) to be submitted in Spring of 2024.

Applications Now Open

We are operating on a compressed timeline as the P50 application will be submitted in the spring of 2024. The team/project selected for phase 2 funding will be included as the signature project in the P50 application and will receive an additional ~$350K to seed/augment their proposed research activities. Projects that leverage the services of one or more MIDB hubs are highly encouraged. This grant application process is designed to ntegrate with a planned P50 application that is being crafted by MIDB/CEHD researchers. The principal investigators of the P50 application are Frank Symons, Jason Wolff, and Jed Elison.

About IDDRCs

For 50 years, discoveries made by IDDRC investigators have significantly informed basic understanding of IDD and moved the field forward appreciably. The goals of the IDDRC program include the promotion of collaborative, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research programs that will not only provide core facilities and support for research in IDD, but will also advance the development of therapeutics and interventions for these conditions.

About the Proposed UMN IDDRC        
The focus areas of the planned UMN IDDRC represent key strengths at UMN/MIDB that differentiate us from the existing 15 IDDRCs. The first key theme represents a focus on ontogenetic processes, or within-individual development. While we see value in the “precision medicine” approach – the right intervention, at the right dose, for the right child, at the right time – it is inherently reactive. We are well poised conceptually, methodologically, and computationally to tackle the complexity inherent to development and corresponding phenotypic heterogeneity (e.g., work of the MIDB Measurement and Human Phenotyping Hub) to usher in an era of proactive precision medicine. Identifying incipient features that increase the likelihood of a maladaptive outcome, prior to a consolidated maladaptive phenotype, requires a developmental framework. It is precisely this type of framework that will allow us to innovate with pre-emptive interventions. The second existing strength that differentiates UMN/MIDB from other IDDRCs is our deep and broad expertise in neuroinformatics  (synthesizing expertise across the CMRR, MIDB neuroimaging hub, MIDB analytics hub, and the MIDB  informatics hub).

Research Projects

Proposals that leverage the UMN/MIDB strengths identified above (i.e., neuroinformatics, longitudinal study designs, precision phenotyping) are strongly encouraged. Additionally, IDD research projects must address one or more of the focus themes, listed below, identified as an area of research need. These are recognized as potentially exploratory, discovery-based, and/or high-risk projects, with the goal of yielding interpretable results that will either prove or disprove the proposed hypothesis. The project can address a broad array of intellectual disorders and disabilities, including new, recently characterized, or under-researched areas such as comorbid mental health conditions in IDD. The focus areas are as follows, in no order of priority:

  • Comprehensive –omics Approaches
  • Development of Biomarkers or Assessment Measures in More than one IDD Condition
  • Outcome Measures or Biomarkers for Interventions or Treatments
  • Multi-modal Treatment Approaches
  • Preventing and Mitigating the Impact of Exposures that Can Cause IDD
  • Interventions and Management of Co-morbid Mental Health Conditions
  • Innovative Technologies to Improve Assessments, Interventions, and Outcomes for Those with IDD   


Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on fit with P50 themes, and significance and impact as per NIH criteria. Applications will be scored using NIH scoring criteria. Frank Symons, Jason Wolff, and Jed Elison will consult with internal and external experts to make the awards. 


  • Phase 1 application materials due Friday September 15th, 2023.
  • Phase 1 awards announced Friday September 29th, 2023.
  • Phase 2 application materials due December 1st, 2023
  • Phase 2 award announced Friday, December 15th, 2023.