News Release

Friday, March 9, 2007

NIH Director Launches Program for Innovative New Investigators

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced a special program to fund new investigators who propose highly innovative research projects that could have an exceptionally great impact on biomedical or behavioral science. The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award offers grants of up to $1.5 million in direct costs over five years.

“New investigators are the future of science, and innovative ideas are its lifeblood. This flagship program underscores NIH’s commitment to supporting these two critical elements of the research enterprise. The New Innovator Award, funded through the NIH Roadmap Common Fund, complements longstanding activities in both areas at the NIH level and at its institutes and centers,” said Zerhouni.

The application period opens on April 25 and closes on May 22, 2007. NIH expects to make at least 14 awards in September 2007.

New investigators who have not yet obtained an NIH R01 or similar grant are eligible to apply. Applicants must hold an independent research position at an institution in the United States and must have received a doctoral degree or completed a medical internship and residency in 1997 or later.

“We want proposals in a broad range of scientific areas relevant to the NIH mission and from a diverse pool of applicants,” Zerhouni said. “We’re shortening the application and emphasizing the significance of the research, what makes the approach exceptionally innovative, how the applicant will address challenges and risks, and the applicant’s qualifications for the grant. We aren’t requiring applicants to present preliminary data, although we’ll allow it if they choose to do so,” he added.

Application instructions are at

More information on the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is at

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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