NIH calls for risky research

The National Institutes of Health is once again sounding the call for research proposals that push the innovation envelope. The agency will award nearly $93 million to about 50 biomedical researchers through two grant programs: The NIH Director's linkurl:Pioneer Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer/ will provide up to $2.5 million to more than 15 scientists at any stage of their careers, and the linkurl:New Innovator Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/newinnovator/ will provide up to $1.5 mil

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Aug 31, 2009
The National Institutes of Health is once again sounding the call for research proposals that push the innovation envelope. The agency will award nearly $93 million to about 50 biomedical researchers through two grant programs: The NIH Director's linkurl:Pioneer Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer/ will provide up to $2.5 million to more than 15 scientists at any stage of their careers, and the linkurl:New Innovator Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/newinnovator/ will provide up to $1.5 million over the same period to at least 33 researchers who have not yet received an R01 or similar NIH grant. In addition to these two programs, linkurl:Transformative R01;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/T-R01/ grants and linkurl:EUREKA;http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-GM-08-002.html grants seek to support researchers who make bold ideas central to their work. In 2008, Pioneer and New Innovator grants went to 47 researchers. According to the NIH, the programs are designed to "support exceptionally creative scientists who take highly innovative, potentially high-impact approaches to major challenges in biomedical or behavioral...
ly $93 million to about 50 biomedical researchers through two grant programs: The NIH Director's linkurl:Pioneer Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer/ will provide up to $2.5 million to more than 15 scientists at any stage of their careers, and the linkurl:New Innovator Awards;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/newinnovator/ will provide up to $1.5 million over the same period to at least 33 researchers who have not yet received an R01 or similar NIH grant. In addition to these two programs, linkurl:Transformative R01;http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/T-R01/ grants and linkurl:EUREKA;http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-GM-08-002.html grants seek to support researchers who make bold ideas central to their work. In 2008, Pioneer and New Innovator grants went to 47 researchers. According to the NIH, the programs are designed to "support exceptionally creative scientists who take highly innovative, potentially high-impact approaches to major challenges in biomedical or behavioral research." That means the riskier the research and the bigger the potential payoff, the better your chances. "I think [funding these projects is] tremendously important," linkurl:Jeremy Berg,;http://www.nigms.nih.gov/About/Director/ director of the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, told __The Scientist__, "particularly when budgets are tight; to have a disciplined mechanism for looking at these sorts of things." linkurl:Sean Davies,;https://medschool.mc.vanderbilt.edu/facultydata/php_files/show_faculty.php?id3=9150 a Vanderbilt University biochemist, received a New Innovator Award in 2007 to design transgenic pro-biotic bacteria that could inhabit the guts of patients with chronic medical conditions, such as atherosclerosis, and produce needed protein and peptide therapeutics that would exit the gut and enter systemic circulation. Davies told __The Scientist__ that because his project was so cutting edge it's been going a little slower than he would like. "The project was a very new direction," Davies said. He added that his team, which relies on the $1.5 million he got from the NIH, has already experienced success in tweaking a particular therapeutic peptide to increase its suitability for bacterial insertion and production. They've also been able to test two different pro-biotic bacteria -- __E. coli__ and __Lactobacillus plantarum__ -- for their ability to efficiently produce the proteins. "We're making progress," Davies said, adding that the group hopes to publish some preliminary results soon. Officials at the NIH said that they'll be announcing the winners of the 2009 Pioneer and New Innovator Awards on the 24th of September, and researchers hoping to net one of the 2010 awards have until October 20th and 27th, respectively, to get in their applications.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:NIH peer review "review" ends;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54733/
[6th June 2008]*linkurl:NIH to fund "wild and crazy" research;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53456/
[31st July 2007]

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