NIH Announces 79 Awards to Encourage Creative Ideas in Science

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The National Institutes of Health recently announced that it is awarding $143.8 million to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas that have the potential to propel fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health for the American public.

These awards are granted under three innovative research programs supported by the NIH Common Fund: the NIH Director’s Pioneer, New Innovator, and Transformative Research Projects Awards. The Common Fund, enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act, supports trans-NIH programs with a particular emphasis on innovation and risk taking.

NIH award programs

James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, who guides the Common Fund’s High-Risk Research program, said:

The NIH Director’s Award programs reinvigorate the biomedical work force by providing unique opportunities to conduct research that is neither incremental nor conventional. The awards are intended to catalyze giant leaps forward for any area of biomedical research, allowing investigators to go in entirely new directions.

Since inception, the NIH Director’s Award Program has funded a total of 406 High-Risk Research awards: 111 Pioneer Awards since 2004, 216 New Innovator Awards since 2007, and 79 Transformative Research Projects Awards since 2009. This tally includes this year’s 13 Pioneer Awards, 49 New Innovator Awards, and 17 Transformative Research Projects Awards.

The NIH expects to make competing awards of approximately $10.4 million to Pioneer awardees, $117.5 million to New Innovators, and $15.9 million to Transformative Research Projects awardees in Fiscal Year 2011. The total funding provided to this competing cohort over a five-year period is estimated to be $245.6 million.

More information on each of the award programs, including this year’s awardees, can be found below:

The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. The NIH Director’s Awards Program is funded through the Common Fund and managed by the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the various NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute could tackle alone, but that the agency as a whole can address to make the biggest impact possible on the progress of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at

Source: NIH News

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