High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program

Funding opportunities for outstanding scientists at all career stages

The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program supports exceptionally creative scientists pursuing highly innovative research with the potential for broad impact in biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences within the NIH mission. The program's four constituent NIH Director's awards provide a diverse set of funding opportunities.

NIH Director's Pioneer Award NIH Director's New Innovator Award NIH Director's Transformative Research Award NIH Director's Early Independence Award
For scientists with outstanding records of creativity pursuing pioneering approaches to major challenges For exceptionally creative early career scientists proposing innovative, high-impact projects For individuals or teams proposing groundbreaking, unconventional research with the potential to create new scientific paradigms For exceptional junior scientists bypassing postdoctoral training to launch independent research careers
  • Open to all career stages
  • Single PD/PI
  • Must be new research direction
  • Requires major portion of research effort (at least 51%)
  • $3.5 million for 5 years
  • Open to all career stages
  • Single or multiple PDs/PIs
  • Flexible budget for 5 years
  • Must complete doctoral degree or clinical training within ~1 year of applying
  • Single PD/PI
  • Must be in non-independent research position at time of application
  • Limited to 2 applications per institution
  • $1.25 million for 5 years

Announcements

Q&A Webinars

Pre-application interactive Q&A webinars will be held for all funding opportunities. NIH program and review staff will discuss the funding opportunities and answer questions from prospective applicants. Participation in the webinars is optional.

Pre-registration for the webinars is required, and participants should email their questions ahead of time. Questions submitted during the webinar will be answered as time permits. The webinars will be recorded and posted on the website following the events.

New Innovator Award

Transformative Research Award

  • Non-COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-013.
  • COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-020.
  • Applications for both RFAs must be submitted by September 30, 2020.
  • All applications submitted to the two RFAs will be reviewed together at the same time using the same process.
  • An anonymized review process will be piloted for RFA-RM-20-013 and RFA-RM-20-020. See the funding opportunity announcements for more information on the review process.
  • New Application & Award Guidance is available with more information on how to apply and sample applications.

Early Independence Award

  • Non-COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-014.
  • COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-021.
  • Applications for both RFAs must be submitted by September 4, 2020.
  • Applications submitted to the two RFAs will be reviewed together at the same time using the same process.
  • New Application & Award Guidance is available with information on how to apply and sample applications.

Funding Opportunities

FY Pioneer Award New Innovator
Award
Transformative
Research Award
Early Independence
Award
2021 RFA-RM-20-011
Due September 11, 2020
RFA-RM-20-012
Due August 21, 2020

Non-COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-013
Due September 30, 2020
 

COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-020
Due September 30, 2020
 

Non-COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-014
Due September 4, 2020
 

COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-021
Due September 4, 2020
 

2020 RFA-RM-19-005
Closed September 6, 2019
RFA-RM-19-006
Closed August 26, 2019
 
RFA-RM-19-007
Closed September 20, 2019
RFA-RM-19-008
Closed September 13, 2019
 

What Is the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program? (1 minute video)

An audio-described version of this video is also available.

 

Join our Listserv or contact us at
     PioneerAwards@mail.nih.gov
     NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov
     Transformative_Awards@mail.nih.gov
     EarlyIndependence@od.nih.gov

This page last reviewed on June 23, 2020