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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

NIH Director’s Pioneer Award


Important: The application process for the 2009 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Program has been changed. Please REAd the Program announcement and RFA carefully.

NIH Director's Pioneer Award

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Program is a unique aspect of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a high-risk research initiative of Research Teams of the Future. Pioneer Awards are designed to support individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming approaches – to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. The term “pioneering” is used to describe highly innovative approaches that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research, and the term “award” is used to mean a grant for conducting research, rather than a reward for past achievements. To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect ideas substantially different from those already being pursued in the investigator’s laboratory or elsewhere. Biomedical and behavioral research is defined broadly in this announcement as encompassing scientific investigations in the biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences.

Awardees are required to commit the major portion (at least 51%) of their research effort to activities supported by the Pioneer Award. Investigators at all career levels are eligible, and those at early to middle stages of their careers and women and members of groups underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research are especially encouraged to apply.


For more information about the Pioneer Award program, see the 2009 Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to

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This page last reviewed: October 27, 2008