NIH Director's Transformative Research Award

Funding opportunities for exceptionally innovative and unconventional research projects

NIH Director's Transformative Research Award

Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the award supports individuals or teams proposing transformative projects that are inherently risky and untested but have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms and may require very large budgets.

  • Open to all career stages
  • Open to individuals or teams
  • No preliminary data required
  • Flexible budgets
  • Effort commensurate to project needs



Application Information


  • 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.
  • Notice of special interest in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) applications (NOT-RM-20-019)
  • 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.
Funding Opportunities
FY 2021

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

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

Special Interest in ALS Applications: NOT-RM-20-019
(Apply through RFA-RM-20-013)
Due September 30, 2020

FY 2020

Closed September 20, 2019

               NIH Director's Transformative Research Award FAQs






Q&A Webinar - June 29, 2020 @ 3PM EDT

A pre-application interactive Q&A webinar will be held on Monday, June 29, 2020, at 3:00 PM EDT. NIH program and review staff will discuss the funding opportunity and answer questions from prospective applicants. Participation in the webinar is optional.

Pre-registration for the webinar is required, and participants should email their questions ahead of time to by 11:59 PM local time on Thursday, June 25, 2020. Questions submitted during the webinar will be answered as time permits. The webinar will be recorded and posted here following the event.


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This page last reviewed on June 25, 2020