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Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL INFORMATION

1.  What is the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

The NIH Director's New Innovator Award, established in 2007, is part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program managed by the Common Fund and addresses two important goals: stimulating highly innovative research that has the potential for significant impact and supporting promising Early Stage Investigators. As part of NIH's commitment to increasing opportunities for new scientists, the award supports a small group of exceptionally creative Early Stage Investigators who propose bold new approaches with the potential to produce a major impact on any area of science relevant to the broad mission of NIH. These topics may include, but are not limited to, the behavioral, social, biomedical, applied, and formal sciences and topics that may involve basic, translational, or clinical research. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and from the full spectrum of eligible institutions in all geographic locations are strongly encouraged to apply.

2.  What distinguishes this award from traditional NIH grants?

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is different in several ways. It is designed specifically to support a small group of unusually creative scientists with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career. The emphasis is on innovation and potential impact. Preliminary data are not required, but may be included in the application. The application format itself is substantially different from the standard “R01” format and is intended to emphasize innovation and potential impact. The procedure for evaluating applicants' proposed projects and qualifications is distinct from the traditional NIH peer review process, and the review criteria emphasize the importance and potential impact of the scientific problem, the novelty and innovativeness of the approach, and evidence of the applicant’s potential for creative and innovative research as an “early stage investigator.”
 
NIH recognizes that outstanding researchers are situated at a variety of institutions. NIH seeks to support the best possible research across the nation and strongly encourages applications from the full spectrum of eligible institutions. What is necessary for the New Innovator Award is unusually innovative and impactful research from early career scientists.

3.  Is the NIH Director's New Innovator Award the only NIH program that uses the DP2 mechanism?

Due to the success of the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, other NIH institutes and centers have developed their own programs for highly innovative research from Early Stage Investigators that utilize the DP2 mechanism. Examples include the NIDA Avenir Award and NIAID New Innovators Awards. These programs are not affiliated with the NIH Director's New Innovator Award and are not part of the Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program.

4.  How does the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award program differ from other awards in the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program?

A comparison of all four NIH Director's awards is available online.

5.  How many awards will be made?

The NIH expects to make approximately 30 awards, depending on the merit of applications and the availability of funds.

6.  Are women and members of underrepresented minority groups encouraged to apply?

To support innovative and novel research across the NIH mission, the NIH recognizes the need to foster a diverse research workforce across the nation. Talented researchers from diverse backgrounds (including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women; see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity), are strongly encouraged to work with their institutions to develop applications for this funding opportunity. The primary requirements are that the research be highly innovative and have the potential for unusually broad impact.

7.  I don’t see my area of research supported previously by the New Innovator Award program. Does this mean that it is not of interest to NIH?

Not at all. The New Innovator Award program makes only a few dozen awards each year. The breadth of NIH’s interest is not fully represented in current or previous awards. Just because your particular area is not yet represented doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply.

8.  My institution is not research intensive. Will this be an issue?

NIH recognizes that outstanding researchers are at a variety of institutions. NIH seeks to support the best possible research across the nation and strongly encourages applications from the full spectrum of eligible institutions. What is necessary for the New Innovator Award is unusually innovative and impactful research from early career scientists.

9.  Will another funding opportunity be available next year?

Yes, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we anticipate releasing a funding opportunity for the next fiscal year. To receive funding announcements and other High-Risk, High-Reward Research program news, register for our LISTSERV or watch for the announcement on the website.

10.  Can someone at NIH review my idea and let me know if it is a good fit for this award?

NIH staff cannot provide comments on specific ideas or plans for individual research grant applications. The external review will evaluate the merit of your application. However, questions about the scope and intent of the NIH Director's New Innovator Award should be directed to Dr. Trish Labosky in the Office of the Director at NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov. For applications involving clinical research, applicants should contact program staff at the appropriate NIH Institute or Center (IC) to assure compliance with IC-specific clinical research policies.

11.  What is the competition timeline?

Funding Year2024
Letter of Intent Due DateNot applicable
Earliest Submission DateJuly 19, 2024
Application Due DateAugust 19, 2024
Scientific Merit ReviewMarch 2025
Council of Councils ReviewMay 2025
Award NotificationsJuly 2025
Earliest Project Start DateJuly 2025

11.  Have evaluations of the New Innovator Award Program been conducted?

Yes. Independent evaluations are posted on our website.

12.  What is the success rate for the New Innovator Award?

The success rate of New Innovator Award applications for fiscal years 2019-2023 is 10%.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

1.  What is the definition of an Early Stage Investigator?

An Early Stage Investigator (ESI) is a Principal Director (PD) or Principal Investigator (PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award. A list of NIH grants that a PD/PI can hold and still be considered an ESI can be found here.

2.  How can I ensure I have Early Stage Investigator status?

To ensure that NIH recognizes you as an Early Stage Investigator, you must update your eRA Commons profile to reflect the date of completion of your terminal research degree. After you have entered the date of your terminal research degree and/or the date of clinical training completion in your eRA Commons profile, the data system will calculate the end date of your Early Stage Investigator status. Make sure the information and dates are correct. If you are not identified as an Early Stage Investigator in the eRA Commons, it may result in your application being withdrawn.

3.  Are there circumstances that would allow me to extend my Early Stage Investigator status?

Yes, you can request an extension if there was a lapse in your research during the ten-year period after your terminal research degree or the end of clinical training. In general, the NIH will consider requests to extend the Early Stage Investigator period for reasons that include medical concerns, disability, family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, natural disasters, and active duty military service. Any such request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. More information and the link to request an extension are available here.

4.  What NIH awards will disqualify me from being eligible for this award?

NIH has provided a complete list of acceptable concurrent grant types for New and Early Stage Investigators on its Early Stage Investigator page and provides relevant information on its Grant Application Guide website.

5.  What is meant by “independent research position?”

For the purpose of this award, “independent research position” means a position that automatically confers eligibility, according to the applicant’s institutional policy, for an investigator to apply for R01 grants with appropriate commitment of facilities to be used for the conduct of the proposed research. Investigators still in training or mentored status (such as postdoctoral fellows) are not eligible to apply unless they have a written commitment from the applicant institution of an independent faculty position by September 1 of the fiscal year in which they are applying for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Such certification is implicit by submission of the application from that institution.

6.  Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, there are no citizenship or residency requirements. Foreign scientists are eligible if they apply from a U.S.-based institution.

7.  May I apply from a foreign institution?

No, you may apply only if you are at an institution in the United States or its territories. For the types of eligible domestic institutions, please see the RFA.

8.  Are investigators at small businesses eligible to apply?

Yes, if the small business is a U.S. company and the research is conducted within the United States or its territories.

9.  Are individuals employed by government agencies, non-academic, and/or for-profit organizations eligible?

Individuals from U.S. organizations that can otherwise apply for NIH funding, are willing to abide by the required terms and conditions, and meet other eligibility requirements outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity are eligible.

10.  Are scientists in the NIH intramural program eligible?

No, NIH intramural scientists are not eligible to apply.

11.  Are postdoctoral fellows eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply, you must have an independent research position by September 1 of the year in which you are applying for funding. Since applications are submitted by an institution on behalf of the Principal Investigator, the application must be submitted by the institution where you will conduct the research. This can be done in advance of your actual appointment date if the receipt deadline is before that date. You should consult the sponsored research office at the institution where you will have the appointment as that institution will be responsible for submitting the application. Investigators in postdoctoral training positions are not considered “independent” and are not eligible to apply unless they have accepted their first independent appointment that starts no later than September 1, as confirmed by submission of the application from the institution. If you have not been appointed to an independent research position by September 1, you will not be eligible to receive the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

12.  Should I apply from my current institution or from the institution I will be moving to?

To be eligible to receive a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, you must have an independent research position at an eligible institution by September 1 of the funded year. Since applications are submitted by an institution on behalf of the Principal Investigator, the application must be submitted by the institution where you will hold an independent position and conduct the research. This may be done in advance of your actual appointment date if the receipt deadline is before that date. You should consult the sponsored research office at your new institution about this.

13.  Am I still eligible if I've had a K award?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award if you are or have been the PD/PI of a career development (K) award, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria. For a list of allowable research grants, please see the NIH New and Early Stage Investigator Policies.

14.  Am I still eligible if I had an R01 several years ago but have no R01 now?

No, if you were ever the Principle Investigator (PI) or one of multiple PIs of an awarded R01 (or other substantial NIH grant) that was reviewed with you as a PI, you are not eligible to apply.

15.  Am I still considered an Early Stage Investigator if I took over as the Principal Investigator on an R01 grant awarded to someone else?

Yes, you would still be considered an Early Stage Investigator if you were not the submitting Principal Investigator.

16.  Am I still eligible to apply if I am the PI on an R21 grant?

Yes, a Principle Investigator of an R21 or other allowable research grant (see List of smaller grants & awards that maintain ESI status) does not affect Early Stage Investigator (ESI) status. You would still be eligible to apply if you meet all the other eligibility criteria. However, recipients of an R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award, which combines the review of the R21 and R33 phases of the award, lose their ESI status and are not eligible to apply. Also note, other peer-reviewed grants that support work closely related to this project will be taken into consideration in review and funding decisions.

17.  Am I still eligible if I am awarded an NIH R01 grant after submitting my NIH Director’s New Innovator Award application but before awards are made?

No, if you receive an NIH R01 or other substantial NIH grant that is active before your NIH Director's New Innovator Award can be made, you are no longer eligible for the award.

18.  If awarded an NIH R01 or equivalent grant is active before the NIH Director's New Innovator Awards are made, can I cancel the pending award to accept the NIH Director's New Innovator Award?

No, once you are the Principal Investigator (PI) of an active R01 award for which you were the submitting (applicant) PI, you are ineligible for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

19.  Can I apply to other funding opportunities at the same time as the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

Yes, you can apply to multiple funding opportunities simultaneously. However, you may not submit essentially the same project at the same time as dictated by NIH policy. The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award will not be awarded if you receive an NIH R01 or other substantial NIH grant before the New Innovator Award is made.

20.  Am I still eligible if I'm an Early Stage Investigator but have an R01 application pending?

Yes, you may apply for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award if you have other grant applications pending. However, you may not submit the same, or essentially the same, project to more than one funding opportunity at the same time as prohibited by NIH policy. If the pending grant becomes active before the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, you are no longer eligible for the DP2.

21.  Does the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award remove your Early Stage Investigator status?

Yes, the NIH Director's New Innovator Award is equivalent to an R01 and removes your Early Stage Investigator status.

22.  May I apply to another funding opportunity with the same area of research while the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is pending?

While you may apply to other funding opportunities while your NIH Director’s New Innovator Award application is pending, NIH policy prohibits multiple submissions of the same, or essentially the same, project at the same time. You may either submit applications for different projects concurrently or submit the same project again after receiving the summary statement from the first submission. If you receive an NIH R01 or other substantial NIH grant before the NIH Director's New Innovator Award is made, you are no longer eligible.

23.  Am I eligible if I have significant non-NIH sources of support?

Yes, you are eligible if you have support from sources other than NIH, have never been the Principle Investigator on any NIH grants that would disqualify you as an Early Stage Investigator, and meet other eligibility requirements (including the 25 percent research effort).

24.  Can I apply again to subsequent NIH Director's New Innovator Award funding opportunities?

Yes, you may apply as often as you wish as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. However, all applications will be considered "new" applications. You must not mention any previous submissions or reviews in subsequent applications.

25.  Can two or more Early Stage Investigators apply as a team?

No. Since the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award considers the creativity and potential for innovation of the Principle Investigator (PI) as a very significant part of the application, only one PI is allowed. Co-investigators, collaborators, and consultants are allowed and may be funded with a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

26.  What scientific areas are eligible under the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

The NIH encourages applications from all disciplines of relevance to the NIH mission, including the biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences.

27.  Will technology development be allowed, or just hypothesis-driven research?

Applications proposing hypothesis-driven research and those proposing the development of new tools and technologies are both encouraged. The focus is on innovation and potential impact.

28.  How much time/effort are recipients expected to devote?

Awardees are expected to commit at least 25 percent of their research time/effort to the project supported by the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. Investigators should not apply if they are unable to commit this amount of effort to the project.

29.  Does the effort requirement only apply to research time or total time, which includes teaching, administrative, and clinical duties?

The effort requirement pertains to time devoted to research only. If you spend 50 percent of your time doing research, you would be required to devote at least 25 percent of your research time, or 12.5 percent of your total time, to NIH Director’s New Innovator Award activities.

30.  Can I work with a collaborator in a foreign country, and would I be able conduct research there?

The Principal Investigator of an award must be employed by a U.S. institution, and the performance site must be at that institution. However, there may be circumstances, such as studies involving a foreign population or a collaborative research project, in which the Principal Investigator must conduct part of the research outside the United States. This research is allowable. However, the length of any single foreign research stay should not exceed the time allowable under NIH Grants Policy for a Principle Investigator to be away from their laboratory without appointing a temporary Principal Investigator (i.e., three months). Due to the special nature of the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, appointment of a temporary Principal Investigator is not allowable.

31.  Is research conducted in a foreign country allowed?

The Principal Investigator must be employed by a U.S. institution and the performance site must be at that institution. However, there may be circumstances, such as epidemiologic studies in other countries, in which the Principal Investigator must conduct part of the research outside the United States. This research is allowable. However, the length of any single foreign research stay should not exceed the time allowable under NIH Grants Policy for a Principal Investigator to be away from their laboratory without appointing a temporary Principal Investigator (i.e., three months). Due to the special nature of the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, appointment of a temporary Principal Investigator is not allowable.

APPLICATION & SUBMISSION

1.  What are the important dates for applications?

Applications may be submitted to Grants.gov beginning July 19, 2024, and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the investigator’s institution/organization) on August 19, 2024.

2.  Will late applications be accepted?

Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

3.  Can I receive a submission extension if serving as an NIH peer reviewer or in an NIH Advisory Group?

No extensions will be given, and late applications will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

4.  Is a letter of intent (LOI) required to apply for this award?

Letters of intent are not required or accepted.

5.  What must be done before I submit an application to Grants.gov?

It is important that you check with your sponsored research office to determine whether your institution is registered with Grants.gov. Please note that the registration process could take up to six weeks. The institution’s Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) is responsible for completing the registration process. If your institution is not already registered, it must first register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and then with Grants.gov. Both the institution and the investigator must also complete a one-time registration in the NIH eRA Commons in order to submit applications to NIH. Institutional officials are responsible for registering investigators in the eRA Commons. You should work with your AOR (also known as Signing Official in the eRA Commons) to determine your own institution’s process for registration.

6.  Where can I find help registering for Grants.gov?

For help with the Grants.gov registration process, contact Grants.gov customer support at 1-800-518-4726 (Toll Free) or at support@grants.gov.

7.  Where can I find help in submitting my application to Grants.gov?

For help with the Grants.gov registration process, contact Grants.gov customer support at 1-800-518-4726 (Toll Free) or at support@grants.gov.

8.  Where can I find help in registering for the eRA Commons?

For questions regarding the eRA Commons registration process, contact the eRA Service Desk at 1-866-504-9552 (Toll Free) or 301-402-7469 from Monday–Friday, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM (Eastern Time).

9.  How should documents be formatted?

All documents must be in PDF format and cannot exceed page limits (if documents exceed page limits, the application will be considered non-responsive and will not be evaluated). Specific formatting instructions for each document are in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

10.  Is there a limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by an institution?

There is no limit to the number of applications that an institution can submit. However, an investigator may serve as the Principle Investigator on only one application in response to the funding opportunity.

11.  Can I request Letters of Reference to be submitted?

No. Letters of Reference are not required and will not be accepted.

12.  Can I submit Letters of Support from collaborators?

No. Letters of Support will not be accepted. If you want to discuss the role of collaborators, you may do so in the essay. Names and institutional affiliations of collaborators must be listed in the PHS Assignment Request Form.

13.  What is needed to demonstrate institutional commitment?

Applicants must include a brief statement of the facilities to be used for the conduct of the research. By submitting the application on your behalf, your institution is committing these facilities for the conduct of the research.

14.  What is the purpose of designating two Areas of Science?

The Area of Science designations are to assist in assigning applications to reviewers. To select the most appropriate science area codes for your application, you should consider whether reviewers who are knowledgeable in one or another Area of Science would be most likely to appreciate the significance of the project, the innovativeness of its approaches, and its potential impact.

15.  Where do I designate the Areas of Science for my application?

Two Areas of Science should be designated on the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide Agency Routing Identifier Field (Field 4b). The Areas of Science (one-digit code and abbreviation) must also be included at the top of the Essay.

16.  What are the Areas of Science?

Code & AbbreviationScience Area
1 BSSBehavioral and Social Science
2 CBChemical Biology
3 CTRClinical and Translational Research
4 IDIInfectious Diseases and Immunology
5 IEInstrumentation and Engineering
6 MCBMolecular and Cellular Biology
7 NSNeuroscience
8 HIBHigh-Throughput and Integrative Biology
9 BCBBioinformatics and Computational Biology

17.  May I designate more than two Areas of Science?

No, only two areas may be designated. One of these would be the primary science and the other would be the secondary.

18.  Can someone at the NIH help me select my Areas of Science?

The designation of scientific areas by applicants is used solely to aid in selection of the most appropriate group of Mail Reviewers in Phase 1 of initial peer review (see FAQ 1 under the “Review and Selection” section). All nine scientific areas are considered as programmatically equivalent and compete for a single source of funds. NIH staff cannot advise you on the specific selection of Areas of Science for your project. We understand that for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects, more than two Areas of Science might be appropriate. To select the most appropriate Areas of Science for your proposed research (by selection of two of the nine options), you should consider whether reviewers with expertise in one or another Area of Science would be most likely to appreciate the significance of the project, the innovativeness of its approaches, and its potential impact.

19.  Are detailed budgets required?

Annual budgets are required, but only very limited itemized budget information is accepted. See the funding opportunity for more information.

20.  Does the 10-page essay replace the traditional “Research Strategy" section?

The 10-page essay replaces the traditional “Research Strategy” section required for most other NIH research grant applications. The requirements for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award application are very different from those for most other NIH research grants. Carefully read the application instructions and review criteria in the funding opportunity.

21.  How should I structure the 10-page essay, and should I include Specific Aims?

The essay should include the following sections (in order) to facilitate the review: Project Description, Innovativeness, and Investigator Qualifications. To focus the essay on the goals of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and the specific review criteria, presentation of the proposed research as a series of specific aims is discouraged (also a traditional Specific Aims page is not used). As indicated in the funding opportunity, the description of the scientific project in the essay should be written with a level of detail appropriate for reviewers who are broadly knowledgeable but who may not be directly involved in the proposed area of research.

22.  Are citations (references) allowed?

Yes, you should include what you consider to be critical citations in the essay. They must fit within the 10-page limit. The citations may be in any format. There is no separate “Bibliography & References Cited” section in the application.

23.  Are figures and illustrations allowed in the essay?

Yes, you may include figures and illustrations in the essay as long as they fit within the 10-page limit.

24.  May I include movies, either as a link to a website or as a CD, with my application?

No. Applications must be self-contained within the specified page limitations. Internet website addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review. However, applicants can list published articles that include movies/links to movies as citations in the essay. We cannot guarantee that reviewers will refer to citations, so any information critical to the evaluation of the research proposal should be included in the essay.

25.  Where should the effort commitment statement be provided?

The statement should be placed in the Research Strategy essay.

26.  May I include additional information in an appendix?

Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

27.  May I submit new data after submitting my application?

NIH accepts limited information between the time of initial submission of the application and the time of initial peer review as outlined in post-submission policies.

28.  Are post-submission materials allowed?

NIH accepts limited information between the time of initial submission of the application and the time of initial peer review as outlined in post-submission policies.

29.  What documents are needed for the application?

All documents and instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed along with additional instructions listed in the funding opportunity, which supersede SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions. For example, if you are using key biological and/or chemical resources, then you must include the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” application component. If you are using human subjects or vertebrate animals, then you must include the corresponding justification application components. Note: All documents must be in PDF format and must comply with prescribed page limits. No documents that are not required should be uploaded to the application, and applications containing additional materials may not be reviewed.

30.  Can I revise and resubmit if my application is not funded?

Resubmission applications (A1) are not allowed. You may submit the same idea or a refinement of the idea as a new application in response to a subsequent NIH Director’s New Innovator Award funding opportunity. In such an application, no reference must be made of any previous submission or review. Or you may be able to incorporate some elements of your proposal into a conventional R01 or R21 application.

31.  Does my application require a Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan?

Yes. All applicants planning research (funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH) that results in the generation of scientific data are required to comply with the instructions for the Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan. See Notice OD-22-198, DMS website, and DMS FAQ page for more information.

32.  My application should not result in a large amount of data. Do I still need a Data Management and Sharing Plan?

Yes. All applicants planning research (funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH) that results in the generation of scientific data are required to comply with the instructions for the Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan. See Notice OD-22-198, DMS website, and DMS FAQ page for more information.

33.  I have a Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Plan for my application. Can that substitute for a Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan?

No. For proposed studies of human genomic data subject to the GDS Policy, applicants should complete the DMS Plan anticipating sharing according to the criteria in the Institutional Certification.

34.  Can I see a Sample Data Management and Sharing Plan?

Yes. There are sample plans available on the DMS website.

35.  How do I submit the Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan?

DMS Plans should be included within the “Other Plan(s)” field on the PHS 398 Research Plan Form as indicated in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. See the DMS website for more details on developing and formatting Plans.

36.  Can I ask for additional funds for Data Sharing and Management?

No. The budget for the New Innovator Award should be flexible enough to manage data sharing. No additional funds should be added.

BUDGET

1.  How is the budget request for this award mechanism different from other NIH grants?

Although annual budgets are required, the funding will be in two multi-year segments. The first segment spans years 1, 2, and 3 of the project period and cannot be more than $900,000 in direct costs. The second segment spans years 4 and 5 and cannot be more than $600,000 in direct costs. Itemized budget information beyond equipment is not required and will not be accepted. Refer to the funding opportunity for additional details.

2.  How much can be requested?

The funding will be split into two multi-year segments. The first segment spans years 1, 2, and 3 of the project period and cannot be more than $900,000 in direct costs. The second segment spans years 4 and 5 and cannot be more than $600,000 in direct costs.

3.  Does the budget description mean I can request $900,000 per year for the first 3 years and $600,000 per year for the final 2 years?

No. The first segment of years 1, 2, and 3 of the project period cannot be more than $900,000 in direct costs for all 3 years. The second segment spans years 4 and 5 and cannot be more than $600,000 in direct costs for those 2 years.

4.  How do I put together a budget request?

The funding will be split into two multi-year segments. The first segment spans years 1, 2, and 3 of the project period and cannot be more than $900,000 in direct costs. The second segment spans years 4 and 5 and cannot be more than $600,000 in direct costs. Itemized budget information beyond equipment is not required and will not be accepted.
 
Each of the five annual budget periods requires:

  1. Selection of the appropriate budget type.
  2. Budget Period Start Date and End Date (September 1 to August 31 of the next calendar year, respectively).
  3. Summation of Direct Costs plus Indirect Costs (F&A) for the project.
  4. In Section A: Senior/Key Person, a PD/PI with the appropriate level of effort and $0 for Requested Salary and $0 for Fringe Benefits. Entering $0 does not imply that the PD/PI will not receive any salary or fringe benefit support from the grant.
  5. In Section C: Equipment Description, the budget request for equipment and a justification in the Budget Justification.
  6. In Section F: Other Direct Costs, a line item titled ‘Requested Direct Costs’ and the total Direct Cost request for that budget period. If equipment is requested in Section C, do not add the equipment budget in Section F. If consortium/contractual costs are requested, include only the Direct Costs (do not include associated F&A).
  7. The project period years 1, 2, and 3 do not sum over $900,000 in Direct Costs, and years 4 and 5 do not sum over $600,000 in Direct Costs.
  8. The budget justification only includes the justification for requested equipment (provide a description of the equipment and its intended use in the research project) and any modifications to the F&A cost, such as exclusions for equipment or additions for consortium/contractual costs.

Refer to the funding opportunity for additional details.

5.  Do NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards provide indirect costs?

Yes, Indirect Costs (F&A) are allowed, are separate from Direct Costs, and should be included in the budget form.

6.  May my collaborator be funded on my NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

Yes, collaborators, contractors, and consultants may be funded on a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, either directly or by a subcontract. Collaborators need not meet the definition of an "Early Stage Investigator." If you want to discuss the role of collaborators, consultants and/or your access to resources, you may do so in the essay. The application does not have a place to list key personnel other than the Principle Investigator. There is also no place for letters of collaboration or other biographical sketches, and these will not be accepted. Names and affiliations of collaborators should be listed in the PHS Assignment Request form in the application.

7.   Can the project period be for less than five years?

The project period will be for five years.

8.  What is multi-year funding?

Multi-year funded (MYF) awards are where the project period and budget period are the same and are longer than one year. For the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, funding will be split into two multi-year segments. The first segment spans years 1, 2, and 3 of the project period and cannot be more than $900,000 in direct costs. The second segment spans years 4 and 5 and cannot be more than $600,000 in direct costs.

9.  Why has the budget period changed from one multi-year award for the entire project period to two multi-year funded segments?

The change to two multi-year funded segments has been implemented to conform to recent HHS and NIH policy changes. One result is that no-cost extensions will be allowed using the procedure described here at the end of the fifth year. Budget carryover will be allowed between the two funding segments. For awards made prior to FY2021, which were made as a single 5-year segment, no-cost extensions will not be allowed.

10.  Are NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards renewable?

No, competing renewal applications for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award will not be allowed. At the end of the 5-year project period, awardees are expected to seek support to continue their research through traditional routes, such as an R01.

11.  Can awards be transferred if I change institutions?

Yes, the award may be transferred to another eligible institution according to the same policies and procedures as for traditional research grants. Please note, however, that awards may not be transferred to foreign institutions.

12.  I’ve submitted my application, but I forgot to add the Indirect Costs to my budget. What do I do?

If an award is to be made, NIH will work with your institution to ensure the budget is complete and accurate.

REVIEW & SELECTION

1.  How will awardees be selected?

Applications will be reviewed in two phases by a multidisciplinary scientific review group of outside experts. In the first phase, applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by so called "Mail Reviewers," who do not meet to discuss the applications but instead submit their written critique(s), criterion scores and impact score(s) by electronic mail. In the second phase, an editorial-style panel will consider the applications and comments of the Mail Reviewers to select those applications they deem to be the most meritorious. This editorial board meets and discusses and scores this subset of applications. The Council of Councils will conduct the final level of review. The Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director, NIH, will select awardees based on the outcomes of the scientific peer review, the recommendations of the Council level review, programmatic considerations, availability of funds, and in consultations with NIH Institute and Center Directors.

2.  Will the reviewers be experts in the topic of my application?

The review occurs in two phases. In the first phase, experts in the broad area of the topic review the application. In the second phase, applications are reviewed by a panel chosen for their breadth of knowledge and expertise. The description of the scientific project in the essay should be written with a level of detail appropriate for reviewers who are broadly knowledgeable but who may not be directly involved in the proposed area of research.

3.  What criteria will be used to evaluate applications?

The reviewers are looking for convincing evidence that the applicant is an exceptionally creative Early Stage Investigator who is proposing a bold new approach that has the potential to produce a major impact on a broad area of research relevant to NIH. They will also assess the appropriateness of the application for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award rather than the standard grant mechanisms. Please see the detailed description of research criteria in the funding opportunity.

4.  Which review criteria will be emphasized?

All standard review criteria will be used in determining the final impact score. Particular emphasis will be given to the investigator's creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the project, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important problem relevant to the mission of NIH.

5.  Will I receive a summary statement or other comments?

Yes. Summary statements for applications not selected for discussion will contain brief comments from the Mail Reviewers but will not contain an overall impact score. Applications selected for discussion will contain brief comments from assigned panelists, a resume and summary of discussion, and an overall impact score.

6.  What does my priority score mean, and why haven’t I received a percentile?

It is difficult to interpret priority scores for NIH Director’s New Innovator applications because there is no strict pay line and scores are not percentiled. Priority scores for these applications are not percentiled because they are in response to an RFA. Funding decisions are made in consultation with the component institutes of NIH and depend upon the results of peer review, the availability of funds, and programmatic considerations.

7.  Will the outside expert peer reviewer roster be posted on the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award website?

Yes, the roster of the first and second phase reviewers will be posted on the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award website.

8.  May I request to exclude a specific reviewer with whom I have a conflict of interest?

Yes. Use the PHS Assignment Request form in your application to list and explain why certain individuals should not be assigned as reviewers of your application. The Scientific Review Officer will make the final decision regarding assignment.

9.  When will the awards be announced?

Awardees will be unofficially notified by late August. News of the awards are embargoed until the Common Fund issues a press release in early October. New awardees are expected to attend the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium to be held the following summer.

10.  Can the review be appealed?

No. As stated in the funding opportunity, there is no appeal process.

AWARD ADMINISTRATION

1.  What requirements must I fulfill during the term of the award?

You will be required to submit a two- to five-page annual report of your activities during the year. Multi-Year Funded Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) must be completed for years one and two. In year three, a PHS 2590 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report (Type 4, not a Multi-Year Funded RPPR) must be submitted. Administrative review will be conducted prior to issuing a Type 4 award for years four and five of the project period. A Multi-Year Funded RPPR must be completed for year four, and a final RPPR for year five.
 
Awardees are expected to attend the annual High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium in Bethesda, MD. In addition, to help NIH evaluate this program, you may be contacted and asked about your experiences and outcomes.

2.  How will the award be administered?

Awards will be administered by an NIH Institute/Center best matching the proposal topic. However, Dr. Trish Labosky from the Office of the Director will also serve as a program officer to coordinate administration of all NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards.

3.  Who is supporting my award?

The Common Fund, housed in the Office of the Director, funds the majority of New Innovator Awards. However, NIH Institutes and Centers may support applications that they deem meritorious and that align with their missions. You can find out which NIH Institute or Center is funding your award on your Notice of Award or by searching for your grant on NIH RePORTER.

4.  Do I need to submit an annual progress report?

Yes, as described in the Notice of Award that is posted in your NIH eRA Commons account, a progress report is due annually. Multi-Year Funded Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) must be completed for years one and two. In year three, a PHS 2590 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report (Type 4, not a Multi-Year Funded RPPR) must be submitted. Administrative review will be conducted prior to issuing a Type 4 award for years four and five of the project period. A Multi-Year Funded RPPR must be completed for year four, and a final RPPR for year five. Information on the content of the progress report and instructions on how to submit the report is found on eRA Commons. It is important that you follow these specific instructions when preparing your progress report.

5.  Should I mention support from the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in journal articles?

Yes, please be sure to identify yourself as an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award recipient in journal articles, oral or poster presentations, news releases, interviews with reporters, and other communications related to your research funded by this award. Although citing NIH support is always important, it is even more so in the case of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, which is a component of the NIH Common Fund. In journal articles, please cite the grant number as well as the name of the program. An example of how this might be worded is: "This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, DP2-IC######."

6.  Should I notify the NIH of any note-worthy publications or media coverage of my research?

Yes, please notify us at NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov of any significant publications or media coverage. We may be able to highlight your research on our website. You should also notify the Program Officer named in your Notice of Award.

7.  Am I required to submit my journal manuscripts to PubMed Central?

As required by Federal legislation, the NIH Public Access Policy requires NIH funded scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central. Please visit the NIH Public Access site for additional information about the process of submitting your accepted publications.

8.  Are there annual meetings I am required to attend?

Yes. As an awardee, you are expected to attend the annual High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium held in Bethesda, Maryland in the summer.

9.  Are the awards renewable?

No, these awards are intended to provide funds to initiate important new directions in research over a five-year time frame. Funding to support continued research in these directions may be pursued through other NIH funding opportunities.

10.  Is it possible to request a no-cost extension at the end of the grant period if there are unexpended funds?

For DP2 awards that started prior to FY2021, when DP2 awards were funded in one multi-year payment, it is NOT possible to request a no-cost extension. All funds should be used before the end of the grant period, or they are returned to the US Treasury.
 
Awards that begin in FY2021 or later will be funded in a 3-year segment followed by a 2-year segment. For these awards, carry over of funds is permitted between segments and a no-cost extension is permitted beyond the second segment per NIH policy.

11.  Is the award transferable if I change institutions?

Yes, the award may be transferred to another eligible institution according to the same policies and procedures used for traditional research grants. Awards may not be transferred to foreign institutions.

This page last reviewed on February 16, 2024