|NIH Announces More Than 50 Awards in the Pathway
to Independence Program
Five-Year Grants Foster Transition to Research Independence
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of
Health, today named 58 recipients of the NIH Pathway to Independence
The Pathway to Independence Program, announced in January of this
year, offers a new opportunity for promising postdoctoral scientists
to receive both mentored and independent research support from
the same award.
"New investigators provide energy, enthusiasm, and ideas
that propel the scientific enterprise towards greater discovery
and push forward the frontiers of medical research," Dr. Zerhouni
"We hope that the Pathway to Independence is a bridge that
will support new investigators at precisely the point between mentoring
and independence that we have seen as a most vulnerable time in
the career path. We must invest in the future of our new scientists
today if we expect to meet the nation's health challenges of tomorrow."
This announcement is the first of three rounds of awards to be
made this fiscal year, with several additional awards from this
round to be made in early January. NIH has received almost 900
applications and will issue between 150 and 200 awards for this
program this year. Furthermore, NIH expects to issue the same number
of awards each of the following five years. During this time, the
NIH will provide almost $400 million in support of the program.
All NIH Institutes and Centers are participating in this award
program. The Pathway to Independence Awards are a major piece of
a larger, ongoing NIH effort to support new scientists as they
transition to research independence, and supplements efforts being
made at individual Institutes and Centers.
The awardees will receive the following: The initial 1-2 year
mentored phase will allow investigators to complete their supervised
research work, publish results, and search for an independent research
position. The second, independent phase, years 3-5, will allow
awardees who secure an assistant professorship, or equivalent position,
to establish their own research program and successfully apply
for an NIH Investigator-Initiated (R01) grant. The R01 is the major
means by which NIH supports individual scientists in the field.
Pathway to Independence Awardees plan to pursue new research directions
and opportunities in a range of scientific areas, from basic research
on cell biology and development of the nervous system to research
focused on Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS.
NIH is fully committed to monitoring and adapting this pilot program,
when necessary, ensuring that it provides an opportunity for new,
creative scientists to accelerate their transition from research
dependence to research independence. Clinician-scientists will
now find this mechanism increasingly attractive because the individual
Institutes and Centers have the flexibility to increase the salary
for the mentored phase of the award in a way that is competitive
with other training mechanisms. NIH is planning an evaluation of
this program, and some Institutes and Centers are considering expanding
the program if it proves successful at meeting the needs of their
"In today's challenging budget environment, it is critical
that NIH preserve the ability of young scientists with fresh ideas
to enter the competitive world of NIH funding," said Zerhouni.
"Nothing is more important."
For more information about the NIH Pathway to Independence Program,
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 http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.
The National Institutes of Health (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.
It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.