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Comparison of NIH Common Fund High Risk–High Reward Programs:
Pioneer Award, New Innovator Award, Transformative Research Awards, and Early Independence Award

 

 

Pioneer Award

New Innovator Award

Transformative Research Awards

Early Independence Award

Target group

  • Individuals of exceptional creativity proposing  paradigm shifting research
  • Individual early stage investigators of exceptional creativity proposing research of uncommonly high potential impact
  • Individuals or teams proposing transformative research with perhaps very large budgets
  • Outstanding junior scientists wishing to “skip the post-doc” and immediately begin independent research

Eligibility

  • Open to all career stages; early and middle career particularly encouraged to apply
  • Must currently be engaged in research
  • Receipt of most recent doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., Pharm.D., or equivalent) or completion of medical internship and residency no more than 10 years prior to application receipt date
  • Must be a “new investigator” (never been awarded an R01 or equivalent NIH grant)
    • Open to all career stages
    • Candidate must receive terminal research degree or complete medical residency within 12 months (before or after) of application submission date
    • Only up to two applications per institution (or grant submitting entity)

    Preliminary Data

    Not required; may be included

    Not required; may be included

    Not required; may be included

    Not as stringent as conventional R01

    Research strategy

    3–5 page essay includes response to questions about the challenge, potential impact, suitability for the Pioneer Award program; and how research qualifies as new research direction

    10-page essay addresses significance and potential impact; innovativeness of approaches and how risks and challenges will be addressed; and investigator qualifications for the award

    12-page limit; respond to questions about the challenge, potential impact, and appropriateness for the Transformative Research Awards program

    12-page limit; in addition, host institution must provide details of commitment

    Reference letters

    3 letters required

    None accepted

    None accepted

    3 -5 letters required

    Effort

    Minimum of 51% (major portion) of research effort must be devoted to activities supported by the award

    Minimum of 25% of 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

    Large fraction of total effort

    Budget

    • No budget information submitted
    • Awards will be for up to $500,000 per year for each of five years, plus standard F&A (indirect) costs
    • No budget information submitted
    • Awards will be for up to $300,000 in direct costs each year for five years, plus standard F&A (indirect costs)
    • No limits up to maximum funds available for the program as a whole
    • No prior approvals required for budgets over $500K (DC) per year

    Up to $250K per year for up to five 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, interview of finalists

    Multi-phased, “editorial board”

    Multi-phased, “editorial board

    Multi-phased, “editorial board,” interview of finalists

     

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