Eighty-nine awards will fund highly innovative, high-impact biomedical research.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded 89 grants that will provide funding to extraordinarily creative scientists proposing highly innovative research to address major challenges in biomedical science. The grants are part of the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, which supports ideas with potential for great impact in biomedical research from across the broad scope of the NIH. Examples include exploring how the brain and immune system communicate with one another, identifying proteins involved in organ-to-organ communication, using breast milk to deliver therapies to infants, and determining the public health consequences of urban growth. The awards, which are managed by the NIH Common Fund, total approximately $282 million expected over five years, pending available funds.
The program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting compelling, high-risk research proposals that may struggle in the traditional peer review process despite their transformative potential. Program applicants are encouraged to think outside-the-box and to pursue creative, trailblazing ideas in any area of research relevant to the NIH mission.
“This program supports exceptionally innovative researchers who have the potential to transform the biomedical field,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “I am confident this new cohort will revolutionize our approaches to biomedical research through their groundbreaking work.”
The NIH Common Fund supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs which pursue major opportunities and gaps throughout the biomedical 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 or behavioral 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 10 Pioneer awards, 58 New Innovator awards, 10 Transformative Research awards, and 11 Early Independence awards for 2018. Funding for the awards comes from the NIH Common Fund and other Office of the Director appropriations; National Cancer Institute; National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; National Institute of General Medical Sciences; National Institute of Mental Health; and Office of Research Infrastructure Programs.
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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