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Transformative Research Projects Program

Program Description

The Common Fund's NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award initiative, formerly known as the Transformative Research Project (TR01), is created specifically to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms. These projects tend to be inherently risky and may not fare well in conventional NIH review. As compared to the other NIH Director’s Awards - the Pioneer, New Innovator Award, and Early Independence Awards - the primary emphasis of the Transformative Research Awards initiative is to support research on bold, paradigm-shifting, but untested ideas, rather than to support exceptionally creative individuals who wish to pursue new, potentially high impact research directions.

To facilitate submission and identification of bold, high impact ideas that are compelling despite the risks involved, the Transformative Research Awards initiative is also piloting novel approaches to application instructions and review. Applicants are instructed to focus their research strategies on significance and innovation without expectations of providing preliminary data. The review uses a multi-phase, Editorial Board style process with explicit emphasis maintained on significance and innovation.

The NIH encourages Transformative Research Award applications from investigators in all disciplines relevant to the NIH mission, including the biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences. Applications from individual investigators or teams of investigators are welcome. Large budget requests, up to the entire funds set aside for the initiative, will be considered.


For more information about the Transformative Research see the 2015 Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to Transformative_Awards@mail.nih.gov.

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