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High-Risk, High-Reward Research Programs

Health Relevance

Research that aims to transform science is inherently difficult and risky but necessary to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and advance human health. While all Common Fund programs encourage risk-taking to overcome significant challenges in biomedical research, most programs designate funds for particular high-risk objectives or methods. The High-Risk, High-Reward Research (HRHR) program takes a different approach by supporting exceptionally creative scientists proposing innovative and transformative research in any scientific area within the NIH mission through four complementary initiatives: the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, New Innovator Award, Transformative Research Award, and Early Independence Award. The NIH Director's Pioneer Award supports extraordinarily creative scientists who propose bold approaches to addressing major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. The NIH Director's New Innovator Award supports exceptionally creative, early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects. The NIH Director's Transformative Research Award supports unconventional, paradigm-shifting research projects that are inherently risky and untested, and allows teams of principal investigators when appropriate. The NIH Director's Early Independence Award bypasses the traditional post-doctoral training period by helping establish independent scientific careers for newly graduated scientists with the intellect, creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently.

This page last reviewed on January 24, 2024