Catalyst Award in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases

May 2019 Council

Lead Division/Office


Point(s) of Contact

Kristin M. Abraham, Ph.D.

Executive Summary

Bold, creative ideas that challenge dogma generally do not fare well in peer review. Standard NIH grant mechanisms (e.g., R01) have not been broadly useful for supporting high risk/high reward (HRHR) investigator-initiated research. NIH HRHR grant programs supported by the NIH Office of the Director (NIH-OD), including the Pioneer and New Innovator programs, have been highly successful vehicles for diversifying and strengthening grant portfolios across NIH. The NIH-OD programs are designed to prioritize research that spans the interests of multiple NIH institutes. However, the programs solicited by the Office of the NIH Director that support individual investigator-initiated HRHR research are limited to work that is viewed as cutting across multiple ICs and cannot be used to support IC mission-centric or disease-specific research. As a result, HRHR proposals that focus on the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases (DDEMD) mission areas are underrepresented in OD HRHR portfolios. In 2017, the DDEMD piloted the Catalyst Award in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases (DP1; RFA-DK-17-011) to explore the feasibility of supporting HRHR research targeted to DDEMD’s mission areas.