NIH Extends Its Commitment to Transformative Research with $138 Million for Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards in 2008
Forty-seven scientists have won funding from the National Institutes
of Health worth some 138-million dollars over five years.
Balintfy: Forty-seven scientists have won funding from the National Institutes of Health worth some 138-million dollars over five years. While it's not unusual for the NIH to award research grants—more than 80 percent of the NIH's budget goes to fund medical research through almost 50-thousdand competitive grants—these recent awards reflect increased support of high-impact research.
Zerhouni: The word "pioneer" is a very important word because when you look at science, you have very different ways of doing science.
Balintfy: Dr. Elias Zerhouni is the director of the NIH.
Zerhouni: So I wanted to send a signal that we needed to really encourage no-boundary blue sky research from the best and brightest and not limit them, you know fund them well, give them five years of freedom and see what happens. So that's what the Pioneer Award is all about.
Balintfy: Through the NIH Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards, recipients will be able to pursue exceptionally innovative approaches that could transform biomedical and behavioral science. Now in its fifth year, the Pioneer Award program has made 63 awards.
Zerhouni: We started with seven per year, and now we're at 16 per year because the institutes really understood the impact this had because of the success the pioneers have had.
Balintfy: The New Innovator Award program, launched in 2007, supports 61 scientists — 30 selected last year and 31 more this year. Each New Innovator Award is for 1.5 million dollars over five years. Pioneer Award provides 2.5 million dollars over the same time period. Both programs are key components of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.Dr. Zerhouni, whose tenure as director ends in October, adds that discoveries by the nation's scientific community alleviate the suffering of patients throughout the world.
Zerhouni: I'm a big believer in the sense that, you know, science advances through great scientists. And you never know who your great scientist is unless you give them a chance. So to me it's like, you know, giving a chance early, often and see what happens. And we've seen great things happen through these programs and I intend to see them continue.
Balintfy: For more information on these awards, visit nihroadmap.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.