News Release

Monday, October 6, 2014

NIH Common Fund announces 2014 High-Risk, High-Reward research awardees

NIH to fund 85 awards to support highly innovative biomedical research.

Eighty-five grants have been awarded to scientists proposing highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research, under the High Risk-High Reward program supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Common Fund. Awardees from previous years have made scientific leaps, established new scientific paradigms, and, in some cases, revolutionized entire fields.

“Supporting innovative investigators with the potential to transform scientific fields is a critical element of our mission”

—Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D
NIH Director

"Supporting innovative investigators with the potential to transform scientific fields is a critical element of our mission,”’ said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "This program allows researchers to propose highly creative research projects across a broad range of biomedical and behavioral research areas that involve inherent risk but have the potential to lead to dramatic breakthroughs."

NIH Pioneer, New Innovator, Transformative Research, and Early Independence awards encourage creative thinkers to pursue exciting and innovative ideas in biomedical and behavioral research. The Pioneer Award, now in its 11th year, challenges investigators at all career levels to develop groundbreaking approaches that could have an efficacious impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral science.

The New Innovator Award initiative, established in 2007, supports investigators who are within 10 years of their terminal degree or clinical residency, who have not yet received a research project grant (R01) or equivalent NIH grant, to conduct unusually innovative research.

The Transformative Research Award initiative, established in 2009, promotes cross-cutting interdisciplinary approaches and is open to individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.

The Early Independence Award, with the first awards given in 2011, provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists who have recently received their doctoral degree or finished medical residency to skip traditional post-doctoral training and move immediately into independent research positions.

In 2014, NIH has awarded 10 Pioneer awards, 50 New Innovator awards, eight Transformative Research awards, and 17 Early Independence awards. The total funding, which represents contributions from the NIH Common Fund and multiple NIH institutes, centers and offices is approximately $141 million.

More information on current awardees and the NIH High Risk-High Reward Research Program can be found at:

Institutes, centers and offices that will be supporting these awards include the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; the National Cancer Institute; the National Human Genome Research Institute; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Aging; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Library of Medicine and the Office of Research on Women’s Health.

The NIH Common Fund supports a series of exceptionally high impact research programs that are broadly relevant to health and disease. Common Fund programs are designed to overcome major research barriers and pursue emerging opportunities for the benefit of the biomedical research community at large. The research products of the Common Fund programs are expected to catalyze disease-specific research supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers. To learn more about the NIH Common Fund, visit

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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