Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NIH Calling for “2012 Director’s New Innovators”

August 16th, 2011 / in awards, big science, research horizons, resources / by Erwin Gianchandani

NIH Director's New Innovator Award [image courtesy NIH]Last week, the National Institutes of Health announced a call for the 2012 Director’s New Innovator (DP2) Award program, an initiative created in 2007 to stimulate highly innovative research and support promising new investigators.

Many new investigators have exceptionally innovative research ideas, but not the preliminary data required to fare well in the traditional NIH peer review system. As part of NIH’s commitment to increasing opportunities for new scientists, it has created the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award to support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact. This award complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants and other mechanisms.


The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award program is different from traditional NIH grants in several ways. It is designed specifically to support unusually creative new investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required, but may be included. No detailed, annual budget is requested in the application. The procedure for evaluating applicants’ qualifications is distinct from the traditional NIH peer review “study section” process and will emphasize the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the project, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important biomedical or behavioral research problem.

Areas of interest relevant to computing researchers include instrumentation and engineering as well as quantitative and computational biology. For example, a past recipient of the NIH Director’s Award is Ed Boyden, a Professor at the MIT Media Lab who heads MIT’s Synthetic Neurobiology group and is aiming to develop new tools for controlling and observing the computations performed by brain circuits — in the hopes of enabling systematic repair of intractable brain disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain.

Applicants must meet the definition of an Early State Investigator (ESI), typically a new investigator to NIH within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree.

Awardees will receive up to $1.5 million over five years.

The application deadline is 5pm local time on Oct. 14, 2011.

To learn more about the DP2 Award program, click here. And for tips on applying for NIH grants prepared recently by a NIH program manager, click here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

NIH Calling for “2012 Director’s New Innovators”