Spotlight on the DP1

By Bouvier Grant Group

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The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, known by the activity code DP1, is one of the four High-Risk, High-Reward grants issued by the NIH Office of the Director. The purpose of the DP1 is to support investigators “with outstanding records of creativity pursuing new research directions to develop pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical, social science, and behavioral research.”

DP1 awards are open to investigators of all career stages (the New Innovator Award, DP2, is for ESIs only). Application content for DP1s must focus on a new scientific direction and the idea must be substantially different from the line of research being pursued by the investigator and elsewhere. No preliminary data are required.  The award provides funding of $700,000 direct costs per year for up to 5 years. Awardees must dedicate a minimum of 51% research effort in the first 3 years.

The DP1 mechanism is quite different from the R-series grants with which investigators may be more familiar. No detailed experimental plan or detailed budget is expected. Instead of a research strategy, the application requires a five-page essay describing the project, including its innovation and significance, the investigator’s history of being highly innovative, and why the proposed project fits the award. Additionally, 3 Letters of Reference are required.

The DP1 mechanism does not follow the standard NIH schedule of deadlines. Interested applicants can check the DP1 page for the next deadline.

If you’re interested in exploring other projects funded under the DP1 mechanism, use NIH RePORTer’s Advanced Search feature. Under Project Number/Application ID, enter “DP1” as the Activity Code to see funded DP1 awards.

Dr. Meg Bouvier

Margaret Bouvier received her PhD in 1995 in Biomedical Sciences from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After an NINDS post-doctoral fellowship, she worked as a staff writer for long-standing NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in the Office of Press, Policy, and Communications for the Human Genome Project and NHGRI. Since 2007, Meg has specialized in editing and advising on NIH submissions, and began offering virtual courses in 2015. She's recently worked with more than 40% of the nation's highest-performing hospitals*, four of the top 10 cancer hospitals, three of the top five medical schools for research, and 14 NCI-designated cancer centers. Her experience at NIH as both a bench scientist and staff writer greatly informs her approach to NIH grantwriting. She has helped clients land over half a billion in federal funding. Bouvier Grant Group is a woman-owned small business.

*Our clients include 9 of the top 22 hospitals as recognized by the 2023/24 US News & World Report honor roll

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