NIH Announces New Transformative R01
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) intends to invest more
than $250 million over the next five years to foster bold and creative
investigator-initiated research through a new transformative R01
(T-R01) Program. While R01 grants support the bulk of mainstream
NIH investigator-initiated efforts, the structure and review of
R01 proposals can discourage submission of the most bold, creative,
and risky research proposals. In response to these challenges,
the NIH has created the T-R01 Program.
"The T-R01 Program will pilot novel approaches to peer review
to facilitate identification and support of the most ground-breaking,
high impact research and augment the existing Pioneer and New Innovator
Awards programs," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
The purpose of the T-R01 Program is to support exceptionally innovative,
original or unconventional research that will allow investigators
to seize unexpected opportunities and cultivate bold ideas regardless
of the anticipated risk. T-R01 funding will support inventive and
innovative studies intended to transform current paradigms in biomedical
or behavioral sciences. The TR01 program is a trans-NIH effort
coordinated by the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives
(OPASI) as part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
"The new TR01s follow years of discussion as to how to encourage
thinking outside of the box. This new mechanism is designed to
encourage the generation of new scientific paradigms or the disruption
of old ones," said Alan Krensky, MD, director of OPASI.
The NIH aims to achieve T-R01 program goals by supporting original
studies that will:
- Forge the synthesis of new paradigms for biomedical or behavioral
- Reflect an exceptional level of creativity in proposing bold
and ground-breaking approaches to fundamental problems.
- Promote radical changes in a field of study with a profound
impact in other scientific areas.
- Be evaluated by new procedures being piloted by the NIH Center
for Scientific Review (CSR) (http://cms.csr.nih.gov)
that are distinct from the traditional NIH peer review process.
"Conventional wisdom says that R01 applications of this sort
are 'dead on arrival.' The hope is that the T-R01 Program will
liberate scientists to unveil extraordinary ideas and approaches,
and that novel review and support procedures will select the best
for funding," offered Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD, University of
California, San Francisco, and co-chair of the Advisory Committee
to the Director Working Group on Enhancing Peer Review (http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov)
The NIH encourages T-R01 applications from scientists from all
disciplines relevant to the NIH mission, including the biological,
behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational,
engineering, and mathematical sciences. Areas of highlighted need
that have been identified through an NIH strategic planning process
- Science of Behavior Change
- Protein Capture
- Functional Variation in Mitochondria
- Complex 3-D Tissue Models
- Acute to Chronic Pain Transition
Applications for new five-year grants are now being accepted.
Review criteria will focus on a project’s transformative potential.
The NIH plans to fund the first cohort of T-R01 awards in 2009,
and hopes to announce the T-R01 program again in 2010 if funds
are available. Additional information about the Transformative
R01 Program is available at: http://www.nihroadmap.nih.gov/grants/index.asp
The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, launched in 2004, is a series
of initiatives designed to address fundamental knowledge gaps,
develop transformative tools and technologies, and/or foster innovative
approaches to complex problems. Funded through the NIH Common Fund,
these programs cut across the missions of individual NIH Institutes
and Centers (ICs) and are intended to accelerate the translation
of research to improvements in public health. OPASI, in collaboration
with all NIH ICs, oversees programs funded by the Common Fund.
Additional information about the NIH Roadmap and Common Fund can
be found at http://nihroadmap.nih.gov.
Additional information about OPASI can be found at (http://opasi.nih.gov).
The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible
for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers.
This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs
and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director
also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating
specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information
is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.