National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Transformative Research Awards

Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-RM-24-004

Deadline: September 3, 2024


The NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award supports collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose unusually bold and innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in a broad area of relevance to the NIH. To be considered transformative, projects must have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms through novel concepts or perspectives, transform the way research is conducted through the development of novel tools or technologies, or lead to major improvements in health through the development of highly innovative diagnostic, therapeutic, or preventive strategies.

Several key features of this NOFO are designed to emphasize to applicants and peer reviewers that Transformative Research applications are very different from conventional, investigator-initiated research applications. The Transformative Research application focuses 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 preliminary data or experimental details. Reviewers will be instructed to emphasize the significance and innovation of the application in their evaluations. Applicants and reviewers should keep the goal of the Transformative Research Award initiative in mind throughout the process- to solicit and fund unusually innovative and potentially transformative research.

To support innovative and novel research across the NIH mission, the NIH recognizes the need to foster a diverse research workforce across the nation. Talented researchers from diverse backgrounds (including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women; see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, are strongly encouraged to work with their institutions to develop applications for this funding opportunity. As outstanding research is conducted at a broad spectrum of institutions, applications from the full range of eligible institutions (institutions that provide services to underrepresented or underserved communities, those that may be less research-intensive, and from all domestic geographic locations) are encouraged to apply. Applications are welcome in all research areas broadly relevant to the mission of NIH. These areas include, but are not limited to, the behavioral, medical, natural, social, applied, and formal sciences. Research may be basic, translational, or clinical. The primary requirements are that the research be highly innovative and have the potential for unusually broad impact.

For more information, please see the opportunity webpage.