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 Seeking Proposals for 2013 Director’s Transformative Research Awards

July 9th, 2012 / in big science, research horizons, resources / by Erwin Gianchandani

The NIH Common Fund [image courtesy NIH].The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a new solicitation for its 2013 Director’s Transformative Research Awards, which will support “exceptionally innovative, original, and/or unconventional research with the potential to create new scientific paradigms, establish largely new and improved clinical approaches, or develop transformative technologies.” Unlike many other NIH R01 competitions, “little or no preliminary data [are] expected.” The Transformative Research Awards are funded through NIH’s Common Fund, which includes among its broad themes “computational and informatics challenges.”

According to the solicitation (following the link; emphasis added):

The goal of the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Awards initiative is to provide support for collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose transformative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. To be considered transformative, projects must have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms through the use of novel approaches, to transform the way research is conducted through the development of novel tools or technologies, or to lead to major improvements in health through the development of highly innovative therapies, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies. Consistent with this focus, applications supported under the Transformative Research Awards initiative will reflect ideas substantially different from mainstream concepts.


Several key features of this FOA have been designed to emphasize to applicants and peer reviewers that these applications are very different from conventional, investigator-initiated research awards. The application format, through its page limitations for sub-topics and requirements for explicitly addressing specific issues, focuses attention on the importance of the problem, the novelty of the hypothesis and/or the proposed methodology, and the magnitude of the potential impact rather than on experimental details. Reviewers will be instructed to emphasize significance and innovation in their evaluations, and these criteria will be the primary basis for funding decisions. These features are intended to steer applicants and reviewers, at each step of the process, toward the goal of this initiative, which is to solicit and fund unusually bold and potentially transformative research.


Projects in any area of NIH interest, including basic, clinical, translational and behavioral studies, are encouraged and will be considered responsive to this FOA.

The application deadline for the 2013 competition is 5pm local time on Sept. 21, 2012. Letters of intent are due a month earlier — Aug. 21, 2012.

Read the full solicitation here — and see the 2011 recipients of the Director’s Transformative Research Awards, including a number of projects with computing-related emphases, here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

NIH Seeking Proposals for 2013 Director’s Transformative Research Awards

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