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Program Snapshot

The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program has four unique funding opportunities for exceptionally creative scientists who propose highly innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research:



In the News

Developing an Auto-Focusing Contact Lens Modeled after Fish

Hongrui Jiang, a 2011 New Innovator, designed extremely small, super light-sensitive sensors inspired by the retina of elephant nose fish. The work is a step towards creating a contact lens that autofocuses within milliseconds that can be used to treat presbyopia. Jiang's work is featured in an NIH press release and on Discovery News.  Read more

PBS's NOVA Features Christine Denny in "Memory Hackers"

Christine Denny, a 2013 Early Independence awardee, was featured in PBS's NOVA "Memory Hackers,"  which aired February 10, 2016 on PBS. The special examines the science of memory editing.

Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier to Deliver Genes

Viviana Gradinaru, a 2013 New Innovator, modified a virus so it is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to deliver genes to nervous system cells. The virus could help researchers map the brain and deliver therapeutics. Read more.

Hibernation and Human Health

William Israelsen, a 2015 Early Independence awardee, is featured in the NIH Director's Blog discussing his research on how hibernating animals alter their metabolism over the course of the year, and what those findings may reveal about human obesity, cancer, and other health conditions.

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Program Booklet  •  Abstracts  •  Photos   •  Videocasts for Day 1Day 2, and Day 3

Application Information

Comparison of  High Risk-High Reward Programs

  Pioneer Award New Innovator
Research Award

Early Independence

FY 2017






White House Press ReleaseGregory AlushinManish AroraChristine HendonMichael McAlpine

Congratulations to the 2017 PECASE recipients for their High-Risk, High-Reward Research projects! High-Risk High-Reward Research awardees who received PECASE awards for research projects supported by other agencies include Aaron Esser-Kahn (New Innovator), Ahmad Khalil (New Innovator), Elizabeth Nolan (New Innovator) and Harris Wang (Early Independence awardee).

Congratulations to the 2016 NIH Director's High-Risk, High-Reward Awardees! (pictures)
Pioneer  •  New Innovator  •  Transformative Research  •  Early Independence

Read the Press Release

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