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New Device Holds Promise for Hard-to-Reach Tumors
Pioneer awardee Joseph DeSimone has developed a device that uses electrical currents to drive chemotherapy drugs directly into tumors. Read more about this innovative device here.

Breakthrough Technique Expands the Capabilities of Microscopes
Pioneer and Transformative Research Awardee Edward Boyden has developed an innovative microscopy technique to enable very high resolution imaging using conventional microscopes. Read more about this ground-breaking technique here.

Archived Program Highlights..

2014 High Risk-High Reward Research Symposium
The High Risk-High Reward Research Symposium took place in December 2014. To view the archived Symposium, please use the links below:

View the speaker and poster abstracts

Pioneer Award

Program Description

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award program complements NIH’s traditional, investigator-initiated grant programs by supporting individual scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming approaches – to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. The term “pioneering” is used to describe highly innovative approaches that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research, and the term “award” is used to mean a grant for conducting research, rather than a reward for past achievements. To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect ideas substantially different from those already being pursued in the investigator’s laboratory or elsewhere. Biomedical and behavioral research is defined broadly in this announcement as encompassing scientific investigations in the biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences.

Awardees are required to commit the major portion (at least 51%) of their research effort to activities supported by the Pioneer Award. Investigators at all career levels are eligible, and those at early to middle stages of their careers and women and members of groups underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research are especially encouraged to apply.


For more information about the Pioneer Award program, see the Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to PioneerAwards@mail.nih.gov.

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