Path to Discovery

CRISPR-CAS9 gene editing, precision medicine, RNA-based therapeutics. Some of the biggest breakthroughs in health and medicine over the past decade were supported by major grants from large funding agencies.

Yet, the journey from graduate student, to new faculty member, and eventually, lead or principal investigator on a large-scale study that will make a meaningful impact on people’s health and well-being can seem daunting.

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions is working to ensure early career faculty have the resources they need to move innovative ideas from brainchild, to pilot testing and ultimately, on to large studies that lead to the next significant advancements in health.

A major goal for many health scientists is to receive a National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, also known as the R01, during their careers. It is the NIH’s oldest funding mechanism and provides substantial funding over multiple years, said Adam J. Woods, Ph.D., PHHP’s associate dean for research and a professor of clinical and health psychology.

“These grants are the source of most of the big scientific discoveries,” Woods said. “They signal to the research community that your research idea has the potential to have a major impact and that you are a well-recognized expert in your field.”