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To address these needs, the federal government could:

  • Establish a program at NIH to promote the conduct of innovative research by scientists transitioning into their first independent positions. These research grants would replace the existing collection of K22 awards and would provide sufficient funding and resources for promising scientists to initiate independent research programs and allow for increased risk-taking during the final phase of these efforts. The program should make 200 grants annually of $500,000 each, payable over 5 years. Each award would provide funding for 2 years of postdoctoral training support while the awardee develops an independent research program and 3 years of support as a fully independent researcher.10

  • Establish and implement uniformly across all the NIH institutes a New Investigator R01 grant. The “preliminary results” section of the application should be replaced with “previous experience” to be appropriate for new investigators and to encourage higher-risk proposals or scientists branching out into new areas. This award should include a full budget and have a 5-year term. NIH should track New Investigator R01 awardees in a uniform manner, including their success on future R01 applications.11

  • Encourage, through DOD funding and policies for university research, participation by younger researchers as principal investigators.12


National Research Council. Bridges to Independence, 2005.




National Research Council. Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research, 2005.

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