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Program Snapshot

Part of the Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the New Innovator Award supports exceptionally creative, early-career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects with no preliminary data required.

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An Alternative Way to Smell

Sandeep Datta, a 2010 New Innovator, discovered alternative odor receptors in mice that upends previous conceptions about smell and reveals a much more complex system than previously believed.

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Defects in Neurons Reveal Clues to Autism

Alysson Muotri, a 2009 New Innovator, reprogrammed stem cells to create neurons from autistic individuals who exhibited faster growing brains early on in life and found the neurons made fewer connections compared to cells from healthy individuals.

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When Molecular Machinery Collide

Jue Wang, a 2008 New Innovator, found that when replication and transcription collide head-on, the mutation rate is higher than when their paths follow the same direction.

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Application Information

Hand filling out form •  Early stage investigator with no R01 or equivalent NIH grant
•  Within 10 years of doctoral degree or medical internship/residency
•  No preliminary data required
•  Awards up to $300K per year for up to 5 years
•  More information
Application Status
FY 2017




Congratulations to the 2016 NIH Director's New Innovator Awardees! (pictures)

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MacArthur Foundation Awards "Genius Grant" to New Innovator


Manu Prakash, a 2015 New Innovator, received a 2016 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant," which is given to extraordinarily creative people addressing some of the world's most pressing social challenges.

Gregory Schwartz Reverse Engineering Vision


Gregory Schwartz, a 2015 New Innovator, is featured in the NIH Director's Blog for his work developing improved strategies to map retinal circuits and determine their functions. By identifying all the cell types needed to make a retina, scientists draw closer to understanding the internal wiring of the retina and how it generates visual signals.

Dongeun Huh Dongeun Huh Receives Young Innovator and Design of the Year Awards


‘Dan’ Dongeun Huh, a 2014 New Innovator, is the recipient of the Analytical Chemistry 2016 Young Innovator Award. This award, sponsored by Analytical Chemistry and the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society, recognizes the contributions of an individual who has demonstrated exceptional technical advancement and innovation in the field of micro- or nanofluidics in his or her early career. Huh also received London Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award for design of organs-on-chips.

Sanjay Basu Considering the Social Determinants of Health


Sanjay Basu, a 2015 New Innovator, is featured in the NIH Director's Blog talking about health disparities and his work examining U.S. social assistance programs and their effects on health outcomes.

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