Heather Youngs’s blog

Our ‘Second Chance’ Program for NIH Transformative Research Applicants

As part of getting started in science funding, we’ve explored several different methods of finding high-impact giving opportunities, including scanning published research, networking in fields of interest, and considering proposals sent to us by people we know. We recently announced four grants totalling $10.8 million that represent another approach: piggybacking on a government grant program designed to find transformative research.

The approach, in brief:

  • The National Institutes of Health has a program specifically for higher-risk, high-impact research.
  • The NIH has been able to fund only a small portion of proposals received through that program. Some projects considered worthy by peer review were ultimately rejected.
  • The NIH sent out a notice on our behalf to all unfunded 2016 applicants, and more than half re-submitted their applications to us. We received 120 proposals in three weeks.
  • We viewed this RFP as a way to both identify high-risk, high-reward projects and to test our hypothesis that high-risk, high-reward research is underfunded in general.
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