nav-left cat-right

NIH chief to shift more funds to back the most promising drug researchers

NIH Director Francis Collins plans to start off 2014 with a New Year’s resolution to spend more of the institute’s bucks backing the most promising investigators, shifting some money away from the project grants that dominate its approach to backing high-risk early-stage research.

Nature picked up on the initiative, reporting that Collins was inspired to back a change in strategy after witnessing the success of the NIH’s Pioneer awards. Those awards–which provide a select group of scientists $500,000 each, per year, over a period of 5 years–spawned a higher rate of highly cited research papers when compared to the standard R01 grant, which provides project support of $250,000 a year for three to 5 years.