Bringing In The Research Dollars! (BiRD)

Exploratory Research for Technology Development (R21)

Deadline: Standard NIH Deadlines

Amount: Application budgets are limited to a total of $275,000 Direct Costs over the two-year project period. No more than $200,000 may be requested in any single year.


This NIH-NIGMS initiative will support exploratory research leading to the development of innovative technologies for biomedical research. The program will recognize and reward high risk approaches with potential for significant impact.  Projects will entail a high degree of risk or novelty, which will be offset by a correspondingly high potential impact. However, the possible impact is likely to be far off. Application of the proposed technology to specific biomedical questions is considered beyond the scope of the program, and should not be included. Preliminary data demonstrating feasibility of the proposed approach indicates that the project is beyond the scope of this program and therefore unsuitable for this funding opportunity.


Defining Characteristics of Exploratory Research for Technology Development

  • Projects should be justified on the basis of a strong potential to advance biomedical research if successful. This rationale should justify the investment of resources in the proposed technology in terms of its potential as an enabling tool for research. The rationale should be broad. Technologies specific to a single organism, system, or disease are not appropriate for this FOA.
  • Project aims should focus on either: (a) exploratory research to differentiate possible technical approaches to determine the one most likely to be successful, or (b) demonstrating feasibility of a specific proposed approach.
  • Projects should have a high risk of failure. Feasibility of a project should not be supported by preliminary data. Projects with preliminary data should be submitted under the Focused Technology Research and Development program.
  • Projects should be focused on technical questions regarding the development of a novel research tool. Projects sufficiently mature to include application to biomedical research problems are inappropriate for this program and should be submitted under the Parent R01 FOA (PA-16-160).
  • Companion funding opportunity: NIGMS PAR-17-046 (R21)

Please refer to the full FOA for full details of allowable projects for submission. For the purpose of this FOA, technology refers to tools that enable research. This includes laboratory instruments and other devices, algorithms and software, chemical reagents and processes by which biomedically related molecules are produced and modified, and the manipulation of biological systems to produce or become research tools.

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