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Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) National Institutes of Health  •  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Transformative R01 Program


Transformative R01 Program

The Transformative R01 (T-R01) program has been specifically created under the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research to support exceptionally innovative, high risk, original and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to profoundly impact a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. To facilitate submission and review of the most bold, creative and high impact proposals, the T-R01 program will pilot novel approaches to peer review and program management. A high degree of risk in these proposals is expected and welcomed.

Transformative projects in any area of NIH interest are encouraged and will be considered responsive to T-R01 funding opportunities. Areas of highlighted need that have been identified through a strategic planning process for the current initiative include:

  • Understanding and Facilitating Human Behavior Change
  • Complex 3-Dimensional Tissue Models – October 24 Meeting
  • Functional Variation in Mitochondria in Human Disease
  • Transitions from Acute to Chronic Pain
  • Formulation of Novel Protein Capture Reagents
  • Providing an Evidence Base for Pharmacogenomics

The current T-R01 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is expected to be published in September 2008 with an application receipt date in January 2009.

Application Process

Detailed application instructions are provided in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. For more information please also see the Frequently Asked Questions at

The application may be submitted beginning December 29, 2008, and must be successfully received by no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on January 29, 2009.

Selection Process

Completed applications that are consistent with FOA guidelines will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary group of outside experts. Those proposals judged to be of high transformative potential will be assigned priority scores and forwarded to appropriate NIH councils for second-level review. The Director, NIH, will make the final selection of awardees based on the evaluations provided by the outside experts and NIH council recommendations. Final selections will be announced and awards will made by the end of September 2009.

Review Criteria

Standard NIH review criteria will be used, with Significance and Innovation used as primary determinants of overall scientific merit. In particular, reviewers will evaluate:

  • Significance: Does the study address an important problem? Does the study have clear transformative potential? Is the proposed research exceptional, in terms of the magnitude of the potential impact and size of the community affected? Is the paradigm being tested central to the field?
  • Innovation: Does the project challenge existing paradigms? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies? Is the hypothesis and/or proposed methodology unconventional and exceptionally innovative?

Special Requirements

Transformative R01 awardees will be expected to participate in an annual symposium on the NIH campus. This symposium will allow awardees to share their ideas, progress, and experience with each other, the research community, and NIH staff.


For more information about the Transformative R01 program, see the Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to

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This page last reviewed: October 29, 2008