The University of Maryland's Les Costello writes at The Scientist that NIH's initiative to support new investigators at the same rates as established investigators is a form of age discrimination. "As young investigators, I and my colleagues successfully competed with established researchers based on merit, without preferential treatment," he writes. "NIH states that in recent years young investigators have not competed successfully with established investigators, hence the need to downgrade the quality of science funded through the R01 research grant mechanism."
NIH has re-issued the call for the Director's Pioneer Awards and New Innovators Awards, The Scientist also reports. These awards for riskier research will provide $2.5 million to about 15 scientists and $1.5 million to over 30 researchers, respectively. The New Innovators Awards specifically target researchers who have yet to receive an R01 grant.