NIH Director's Pioneer Award Program



Drug Therapies Scientists Uncover How Tuberculosis “Pumps-Up” Tolerance To Drug Therapies

NIH Director’s Pioneer Award recipient Dr. Lalita Ramakrishnan and colleagues at the University of Washington and University of Pennsylvania are taking steps to improve the treatment of tuberculosis (TB).

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Novel Blood TestNovel Blood Test May Improve Diagnosis of Many Diseases

Dr. Thomas Kodadek and colleagues at The Scripps Research Institute are developing a new blood test to improve disease diagnoses.

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Neurons Scientists Uncover New Process Regulating Electrical Firing Properties of Neurons

NIH Director’s Pioneer Award recipient Dr. James Eberwine and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and Sequenom, Inc. have discovered a novel method by which neurons selectively express proteins that control their electrical properties.

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Archived Program Highlights..

Program Description

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award program complements NIH’s traditional, investigator-initiated grant programs by supporting 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 2013 Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to

Tele-medical Device

Program Highlights

Tele-medical Device Wins Top Honors

Dr. Aydogan Ozcan, an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award recipient, and colleagues the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) garner place in The Scientist magazine, “Top Ten Innovations of 2011” competition.

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Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives  •  National Institutes of Health  •  Bethesda, Maryland 20892