The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a record-breaking response to its request for Challenge Grant applications with approximately 20,000 applications flooding the agency’s inbox. The Challenge Grants program was recently created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to jump-start 15 broad scientific areas currently facing challenges that need to be overcome. The Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which is in charge of checking and reviewing applications, typically evaluates 16,000 applications in each of three main yearly review rounds.

“These are exciting times for biomedical research and NIH,” said Raynard S. Kington, MD, PhD, acting director of the NIH in an announcement. “We issued the Challenge Grant Request for Applications and received the largest response in our history from the scientific community, both in terms of applications and assistance with the peer review process.”

The CSR will review the applications in a two-phase process, and scores and summary statements will be available in August. The Challenge Grant awards will be issued by September 30.

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