NIH Director's Pioneer Award

Funding opportunities for exceptionally creative scientists proposing pioneering approaches

NIH Director's Pioneer Award

Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the award supports scientists with outstanding records of creativity pursuing new research directions to develop pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical, social science, and behavioral research.

  • Open to all career stages
  • Single PI only
  • No preliminary data required
  • Must be new scientific research direction
  • $700,000 in direct costs per year for up to 5 years
  • Minimum of 51% research effort in first 3 years
  • 3 Letters of Reference required



Application Information


Funding Opportunities
FY 2021

Closed September 11, 2020

Notice of Clarification for Post-Submission Material Policy During COVID-19 Pandemic

               NIH Director's Pioneer Award FAQs

Q&A Webinar (June 26, 2020)

NIH program and review staff discussed the funding opportunity and answered questions from prospective applicants in a pre-application interactive Q&A webinar. The video and slides of the webinar are now available. An audio described version of the webinar is forthcoming and will be posted when available. If you need assistance before the audio described version is posted, please contact us at

Click to download slides of webinar presentations

Informational Video (May 2020)

Learn more about the eligibility requirements, award cycle, application process, review process, and award requirements for the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in this short 2.5-minute video.


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This page last reviewed on October 22, 2020