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Competition Opens for NIH Pioneer Award

November 20, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 47

Applications are being accepted for the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award. The program, part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, supports exceptionally creative scientists who take highly innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research.

"We hope this opportunity stimulates even more investigators to send us their boldest, most imaginative concepts," says Elias A. Zerhouni, director of NIH. "This program is one way we are exploring funding scientists whose ideas might be too novel, span too diverse a range of disciplines, or be at too early a stage to fare well in the traditional NIH peer review process."

Scientists at all career levels and engaged in any field of research may apply, as long as they are interested in exploring biomedically relevant topics. Each award provides $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. NIH funded 35 scientists in the first three years of the program. In September 2007, the agency expects to make between five and 10 new Pioneer Award grants.

Applications must include an essay on the investigator's vision for addressing a biomedical challenge, the importance of the problem, and the person's qualifications to engage in groundbreaking research.

The application period opens on Dec. 1 and closes on Jan. 16, 2007. More information is available at


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