Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant to provide general guidance. Instructions and procedures outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement and SF424 Application Guide take precedence over any information provided on this page and should be referred to for complete and comprehensive directions.
The New Innovator Award is open to promising Early Stage Investigators with highly innovative research ideas with the potential for unusually high impact. Preliminary data are not required. Any ESI individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their organization to develop an application for support.
In order to support the most innovative and impactful research, the NIH recognizes the need to foster a diverse research workforce across the nation. Applications to this award program should reflect the full diversity of potential PD/PIs, applicant institutions, and research areas relevant to the broad mission of NIH. Researchers from diverse backgrounds (see NOT-OD-20-031), individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women are strongly encouraged to work with their institutions to develop applications for this Funding Opportunity Announcement. Since outstanding research is conducted at a broad spectrum of institutions, it benefits the national scientific enterprise to support exceptionally innovative and impactful science that represents this breadth. Therefore, applications are encouraged from the full range of eligible institutions, including those serving primarily underserved groups, those that may be less research-intensive, and from all domestic geographic locations. Applications are welcome in all research areas broadly relevant to the mission of NIH. These areas include, but are not limited to, the behavioral, medical, natural, social, applied, and formal sciences. Research may be basic, translational, or clinical. The primary requirements are that the research be highly innovative and have the potential for unusually broad impact.
Steps to Determine Your Eligibility
Step 1: Fit NIH Mission and Goals
NIH seeks fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The New Innovator Award welcomes all areas of research relevant to this mission, including (but not limited to) topics in behavioral, medical, natural, social, applied, and formal sciences. Research may be basic, translational, or clinical. The primary requirements are that the research be highly innovative and have the potential for unusually broad impact.
Step 2: Fit the Purpose of the New Innovator Award
The award supports unusually creative early career investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant application. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required but may be included. No detailed, annual budget is requested in the application. The review process emphasizes the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the project, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important biomedical or behavioral research problem.
Step 3: Meet the Eligibility Requirements
Any eligible individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her institution to develop an application for support. NIH recognizes the need to foster a diverse research workforce across the nation and encourages applications from diverse PI/PDs, applicant institutions, and research areas relevant to the broad mission of NIH.
Only single PD/PI applications are allowed.
Early Stage Investigator Status
Applicants must meet the definition of an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) at the time of submission application. An ESI is a new investigator (defined as a PD/PI who has not competed successfully for a significant NIH independent research award) who is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training. See the Office of Extramural Research website for a list of grants that do not disqualify a PD/PI as a new investigator and for frequently asked questions about the NIH ESI policy.
An extension to the 10-year period may be granted under certain circumstances (e.g., childbirth, family care responsibilities, clinical loan repayment requirements, disability or illness, natural or other disaster, etc.). A request can be submitted via the ESI Extension Request link found in the Education section of the PI's Personal Profile in eRA Commons. An online video tutorial is available for more information. It may take several weeks for the review process for the request, so applicants should plan accordingly. Note: If an applicant is not identified as an ESI in the eRA Commons, it may result in the application not being reviewed. Applicants are responsible for reviewing and/or updating their degree information in their eRA Commons account in a timely fashion.
Independent Research Position
Applicants must hold an independent research position at a domestic (U.S.) institution by September 1, 2022. An “independent research position” is a position that automatically confers eligibility to the investigator (based on institutional policy) to apply for R01 grants with appropriate institutional commitment of facilities 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 institution stating they will be in an independent faculty position by September 1, 2022. The commitment is certified by the institution's submission of the application.
Concurrent R01 Submission
Applicants may submit or have an NIH R01 or other equivalent grant application pending concurrently with their New Innovator Award application if it does not overlap substantially with their New Innovator Award application. However, if that pending grant becomes active prior to the New Innovator Award, the applicant is no longer eligible to receive the New Innovator Award.
Awardees are required to commit at least three person-months (25%) of their research effort each year to activities supported by the New Innovator Award.
Step 4: Get Additional Questions Answered
If you still have questions about your eligibility, check out the Frequently Asked Questions section and past Q&A Webinars posted on the website. You can also contact NIH staff at NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov.
More questions? Contact us at NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov.
This page last reviewed on July 29, 2021