Special Consideration of Research that is of High Risk, but Potentially High Reward

Many members of the extramural community have voiced the concern that NIH peer review and funding practices often tend to favor the more conservative research endeavors proposed by the applicant community. The NIBIB, in keeping with its strategic plan, announces its intent to have a visible impact in addressing this concern.

Often, R01 applications that describe groundbreaking ideas or highly innovative approaches, which have the potential to produce an unusually high reward on a scientific field, may suffer somewhat in the review process precisely because of the uncertainties inherent in the research. Specifically, during the review of such applications, these risks may temper reviewers' enthusiasm for the potential for the quantum leap forward, the paradigm shift, or the revolutionary advance in a scientific field. Consequently, while these applications score relatively well, they may often miss an IC's payline.

The NIBIB intends to address this situation by establishing a goal each year to identify and fund two and perhaps more R01 applications that fit this scenario. This will be done as part of the Institute's yearly efforts to identify applications for "select pay," i.e., meritorious applications that miss the established payline.