Launch of the 2006 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Program
The National Institutes of Health announces the opening of the 2006 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award program, a key component of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
“The Pioneer Award supports exceptionally creative scientists who bring their talents, expertise, and perspectives to bear on some of the biggest challenges in biomedical research,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. “It is exciting to watch the program mature as the awardees translate their ideas into action. We are eager to start the next round of selection and add a third cohort to the outstanding group we have already assembled.”
Unlike other NIH grants, which support research projects, the Pioneer Award supports individual scientists. The award gives recipients the intellectual freedom to pursue new research directions and highly innovative ideas that have the potential for unusually great impact.
“Although we cannot predict the results of pioneering research, it holds great promise for yielding groundbreaking, and even paradigm-shifting, discoveries that lead to significant medical advances,” Dr. Zerhouni added.
The program is open to scientists at all career levels. The scientists may currently be engaged in any field of research provided they are interested in exploring biomedically relevant topics and willing to commit the major portion of their effort to Pioneer Award research. Awardees must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents.
In September 2006, NIH expects to make five to ten new Pioneer Awards of up to $2.5 million in direct costs over a five-year period. The first nine Pioneer Awards were made in September 2004 and 13 scientists received awards in September 2005.
The streamlined, electronic application process includes a three- to five-page essay, a biographical sketch, identification of the applicant’s most significant publication or achievement, and three letters of reference. Applications may be submitted between January 15 and February 27, 2006.
“To maximize the diversity of those considered for Pioneer Awards, we continue to encourage women, members of groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research, individuals in the early to middle stages of their careers, and scientists working in a broad range of fields to apply,” said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Dr. Berg and Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are co-chairs of the NIH committee that oversees the Pioneer Award program.
The complete Pioneer Award request for applications is at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-06-005.html
The Pioneer Award Web site is at http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer.
The NIH Roadmap is a series of far-reaching initiatives designed to transform the nation’s medical research capabilities and speed the movement of research discoveries from the bench to the bedside. It provides a framework of the priorities the NIH must address in order to optimize its entire research portfolio and lays out a vision for a more efficient and productive system of medical research. For more information about the NIH Roadmap, please visit the Web site at http://nihroadmap.nih.gov.
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 — 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 http://www.nih.gov.
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