In the recently updated guide in Science Careers on getting an R01 grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH), we noted the rewards and risks of proposing particularly innovative research in your R01 grant application. The same week our R01 guide appeared, NIH issued a new request for applications called "EUREKA
(Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration)" as part of the R01 series.
The EUREKA grants, the NIH announcement
says, encourage "exceptionally innovative research" that can be applied
to the missions of the five participating NIH institutes: the National
Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Institute
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and
the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). For
EUREKA, NIH is looking for proposals "testing novel, unconventional
hypotheses, or are pursuing major methodological or technical
challenges." NIH wants research that makes a big difference, either in
terms of numbers of potential beneficiaries or the size of the impact
on the target community.
grants are not made for pilot projects, and they aren’t renewable. If
the research aims to test a novel hypothesis, NIH wants investigators
to be able to prove or disprove that hypothesis within the funding
period. If the project is developing a technology, the grant recipients
need to develop that technology within the funding period or show that
the technology isn’t feasible.
To emphasize the premium being
put on innovation and to highlight how this program is different from
other R01 announcements, proposal reviewers will receive a different
set of criteria for reviewing applications…
Reviewers will be instructed to focus their evaluations on significance and innovation, and these criteria will be the primary basis for funding decisions. They will be told that unavoidable risk is acceptable, as long as the probability of success is not zero. The PI’s record of overcoming difficult scientific hurdles, appropriate to the career stage of the applicant, may be useful in assessing the likelihood of success, although the focus of this initiative is on the project, rather than the investigator.
difference from the traditional R01: EUREKA applications have one
deadline–24 October 2007–rather than the three standard R01 due dates
during the year. GrantsNet has an overview of the EUREKA grants. The NIH site has the full announcement.
Hat tip: Alison Chandler, AAAS (Facebook registration required).