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NCCIH Research Blog

New NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Funding Opportunities on SARS-CoV-2

June 11, 2020

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.


Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is partnering with all sectors to ensure that safe, effective treatments and vaccines are available to help prevent devastating loss of life related to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. I would like to bring to your attention two time-sensitive and important SARS-CoV-2 specific funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) issued by the High-Risk, High-Reward Research (HRHR) Program of the NIH Common Fund:

  • NIH Director’s Emergency Transformative Research Award (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-RM-20-020)
  • NIH Director’s Emergency Early Independence Award (DP5 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-RM-20-021).

Research areas to be supported by these funding opportunities that would be of great interest to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) include groundbreaking, exceptionally innovative, original, and/or unconventional research related to natural products and/or mind and body interventions and with the potential to create new scientific paradigms, establish entirely new and improved clinical approaches, or develop transformative technologies to address the prevention of, preparation for, or response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. To learn more about NCCIH’s research objectives and strategies, please visit the NCCIH website.

Application deadlines are September 30, 2020 (RFA-RM-20-020) and September 4, 2020 (RFA-RM-20-021), respectively, by 5:00 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. The earliest start date of funded projects will be September 2021.


  1. All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must also be followed.
  2. Please read RFA-RM-20-020 and RFA-RM-20-021 for additional information.
  3. Please review key administrative aspects for the FOAs by checking the interactive table at Comparison of High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awards, which lists requirements for eligibility, review format, effort, and more.
  4. The review and selection process will follow a multi-phase editorial board format, including anonymized review for Transformative Research Award applications.
  5. Updated information, including details about pre-application webinars, will be provided at the Transformative Research Award website and Early Independence Award website.

For questions specific to the NIH HRHR program, please reach out to Dr. Ravi Basavappa at or Dr. Becky Miller at If you are interested in developing topics of specific interest to NCCIH, please feel free to reach out to the appropriate NCCIH program directors listed at NCCIH Division of Extramural Research Program Directors.

Please feel free to share these important funding opportunities with your colleagues.


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