Back By Popular Demand…EUREKA!

We’re once again soliciting applications for exceptionally innovative research projects whose outcome, if successful, could have a major impact on a broad swath of the scientific community. NIGMS is the lead institute for the EUREKA initiative, and eight other NIH institutes are also participating this year.

If you’ve got an idea that could change the world, and your research interests mesh with those of any of the participating institutes, you should consider applying for a EUREKA grant. In general, we’re looking for projects that can be started and completed during the term of the award. The exceptionally innovative component can be the hypothesis that you’re testing—a novel, unconventional idea that challenges prevailing wisdom—or a clever solution to a technological or conceptual problem that’s impeding progress in your field.

Interested? Check out the funding opportunity announcement in the NIH Guide. You can apply for up to $250,000 (direct costs) per year for a maximum of four years. NIGMS has set aside $6 million for EUREKA awards in fiscal year 2010.

When you look at the application instructions, you’ll see that EUREKA applications are very different from conventional R01s. In your biosketch, you’ll be citing up to 10 publications, patents and meeting abstracts that demonstrate your ability to use innovative approaches to challenge conventional wisdom or solve difficult problems, rather than simply listing your most recent publications. In the research plan, which is only seven pages long, you’ll be answering questions that are designed to focus your attention on the importance of the problem, the novelty of your hypothesis or approach and the magnitude of the potential impact, rather than on experimental details. It’s not as formidable as it sounds. Many of the investigators who applied for EUREKAs in past years have told me that they enjoyed writing their applications—not a comment that we hear very often from the scientific community!

The receipt deadline for EUREKA applications is November 24, 2009. This is a special receipt date, so you won’t be able to get an extension for personal reasons or study section service. We’ll be reviewing applications in March or April 2010, and plan to make awards (around 20) in the summer of 2010.

For more information about EUREKA, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (Link no longer active).

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