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FEATURED NEWS

October 1, 2019 | 2019 NIH Director’s awards for High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program Announced

Ninety-three awards will fund highly innovative, high-impact biomedical research. 

 

by National Institutes of Health

2019 National Institute of Health Director’s Early Independence Award Recipients (photo credit: Marc Roseboro/UCLA)

This article was originaly published by the National Institutes of Health. 

The National Institutes of Health awarded 93 grants through its High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program that will fund highly innovative biomedical or behavioral research proposed by extraordinarily creative scientists. Examples of supported research include exploring how the brain maximizes storage capacity, developing a new approach to treating bacterial infections without the use of antibiotics, understanding the genetic rules that allow one cell type to convert to another, and uncovering a novel potent method for treating adolescent depression. The 93 awards total approximately $267 million over five years, pending available funds.

The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting highly innovative research proposals that, due to their inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional peer review process despite their transformative potential. Program applicants are encouraged to think outside-the-box and to pursue trailblazing ideas in any area of research relevant to the NIH mission.

“Each year, I look forward to seeing the creative approaches these researchers take to solve tough problems in biomedical and behavioral research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “I am confident the 2019 cohort of awardees has the potential to advance our mission of enhancing health through their groundbreaking studies.”

The High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program is part of the NIH Common Fund, which oversees programs that pursue major opportunities and gaps throughout the research enterprise that are of great importance to NIH and require collaboration across the agency to succeed. The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program manages the following four awards, including two awards aimed specifically to support researchers in the early stages of their careers:

  • The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, established in 2004, challenges investigators at all career levels to pursue new research directions and develop groundbreaking, high-impact approaches to a broad area of biomedical, behavioral or social science.
  • The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, established in 2007, supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.
  • The NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, established in 2009, promotes cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches and is open to individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.
  • The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, established in 2011, provides an opportunity to support exceptional junior scientists who have recently received their doctoral degree or completed their medical residency to skip traditional post-doctoral training and move immediately into independent research positions.

NIH issued 11 Pioneer awards60 New Innovator awards9 Transformative Research awards, and 13 Early Independence awards for 2019. Funding for the awards comes from the NIH Common Fund; National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; National Institute of General Medical Sciences; National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; National Institute on Aging; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; and National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About the NIH Common Fund: The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. More information is available at the Common Fund website: https://commonfund.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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