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Policy

NIH Funds More High-Risk Research

by Britt E. Erickson
October 5, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 40

NIH announced late last month the recipients of its first-ever Director’s Transformative R01 (T-R01) Awards as well as the 2009 Pioneer Awards and the 2009 New Innovator Awards. The three programs all support high-risk, innovative research with the potential to overturn fundamental paradigms and lead to improved health. NIH will provide $348 million to fund 115 projects in the three programs over the next five years. “The appeal of the Pioneer, New Innovator, and, now, the T-R01 programs is that investigators are encouraged to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas, while being given the necessary resources to test them,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins said. The T-R01 program aims to fund creative ideas, rather than creative individuals. In its sixth year, the Pioneer Award is given to innovative researchers to set off in a new, pioneering direction. The New Innovator Award, now in its third year, is open only to early-career scientists who have not received a traditional NIH grant such as an R01.

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