Comparison of High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awards

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  Pioneer Award New Innovator Award Transformative Research Award Early Independence Award
Target Group Individuals of exceptional creativity proposing pioneering approaches Individual early stage investigators of exceptional creativity proposing research with uncommonly high impact potential Individuals or teams proposing transformative research that may require very large budgets Outstanding junior scientists wishing to "skip the postdoc" and immediately begin independent research
Eligibility Open to all career stages
  • Receipt of most recent doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, MD, DDS, DVM, PharmD, or equivalent) or completion of postgraduate clinical training no more than 10 years prior to application submission date
  • Must be a "new investigator" (never been awarded an NIH R01 or equivalent grant)
Open to all career stages
  • Must receive terminal research degree or complete postgraduate clinical training within previous 15 months or expect to do so within following 12 months of application submission date
  • Maximum of two applications per institution (or grant submitting entity)
  • Must be in non-independent position at time of application
Preliminary Data Not required; may be included Not required; may be included Not required; may be included Not required; may be included
Research Strategy 5-page limit; respond to questions about the challenge, potential impact, suitability for the award, investigator's innovativeness, and how the research qualifies as new research direction 10-page limit; respond to questions about significance and potential impact, innovativeness of approach, how risks and challenges will be addressed, suitability for the award, and investigator qualifications 12-page limit; respond to questions about the challenge, innovativeness of approach, potential impact, and appropriateness for the award 12-page limit; respond to questions about the challenge, innovativeness of approach, investigator's qualifications, and plans for development; in addition, host institution must provide details of commitment
Reference Letters 3 letters required None accepted None accepted 3-5 letters required
Effort Major portion (at least 51%) of research effort must be devoted to activities supported by the award for first 3 years, followed by 33% effort in year 4, and 25% effort in year 5 Minimum of 25% research effort must be devoted to activities supported by the award Effort should be commensurate with project needs and follow general guidelines for other NIH projects of similar size, complexity, and duration 9.6-person months (80% effort) must be devoted to award project for first 2 years, followed by 9.6-person months towards independent research in general
Budget
  • No detailed budget information submitted
  • Awards of $700,000 per year for each of 5 years, plus standard F&A (indirect) costs
  • No detailed budget information submitted
  • Awards of $1.5 million disbursed in the first year of the 5-year project period, plus standard F&A (indirect) costs
  • No limit on budget up to maximum funds available for the entire initiative
  • No prior approval required for budgets over $500,000 in direct costs in any year
  • 5 year project period
Awards up to $250,000 per year for 5 years, plus standard F&A (indirect) costs
Multiple PIs Only one PD/PI may be designated on the application Only one PD/PI may be designated on the application More than one PD/PI allowed Only one PD/PI may be designated on the application
Review Format Multi-phased, "editorial board," interview of finalists Multi-phased, "editorial board" Multi-phased, "editorial board" Multi-phased, "editorial board," interview of finalists

 

This page last reviewed on March 22, 2018