The NIH Director's New Innovator Award addresses two important goals: stimulating highly innovative research and supporting promising new investigators. New investigators may have exceptionally innovative research ideas, but not the preliminary data required to fare well in the traditional NIH peer review system. As part of NIH's commitment to increasing opportunities for new scientists, it has created the NIH Director's New Innovator Award to support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative research projects that have the potential for unusually high impact. This award complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its Institutes and Centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants and other mechanisms.
The NIH Director's New Innovator Award is different from traditional NIH grants in several ways. It is designed specifically to support unusually creative investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant application. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required, but may be included. No detailed, annual budget is requested in the application. The review process emphasizes the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the project, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important biomedical or behavioral research problem.
The research proposed for a NIH Director's New Innovator Award may be in any scientific area relevant to the mission of NIH (biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences). Investigators who were not selected for an award in prior years may submit applications this year as long as they retain their ESI (early stage investigator) eligibility; however, all applications must be submitted as “new” applications regardless of any previous submission to the program.
The NIH Director's New Innovator Award is part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which also includes the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award, and the NIH Director's Early Independence Award. The program is part of the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress.