Environmental Factor, October 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIH Announces 2010 Grants for "Risky Science"
By Eddy Ball
In September, NIH announced that it will accept applications through October 2009 for at least 40 grants in the area of what it describes as "transformative research" — "exceptionally innovative, high-risk, original and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms." NIH will fund the projects as part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research (https://commonfund.nih.gov/) under the 2010 Director's Pioneer Awards and New Innovator Awards programs.
Applications under the Pioneer Awards (RFA-RM-09-010) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-010.html) announcement, which provides up to $2.5 million in direct costs over five years, are due October 20. The awards are open to investigators at any career stage, and NIH expects to make at least seven such awards.
Applications under the New Innovator Awards (RFA-RM-011) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-011.html) announcement are due October 27, and NIH anticipates making at least 33 awards in this category. New Innovator Awards target early stage investigators who have not received a regular research (RO1) or similar NIH grant, providing up to $1.5 million in direct costs over a five-year period.
Awards under both programs are made annually. Pioneer Awards applicants are open to scientists who are at an institution in the United States and agree to commit at least 51 percent of their research effort to the project. New Innovator Awards are open to scientists who hold an independent research position at an institution in the United States, have received a doctoral degree or completed a medical internship and residency within the past 10 years, and agree to commit at least 25 percent of their research effort to the project.
The awards are part of the Transformative R01 (T-RO1) (http://commonfund.nih.gov/TRA) program funded through the NIH Common Fund. According to the announcement, "these programs cut across the missions of individual NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and are intended to accelerate the translation of research to improvements in public health."
Launched in 2004, the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research initiatives are intended to address fundamental knowledge gaps, develop transformative tools and technologies, and foster innovative approaches to complex problems.