In October 1983, the U.S. Congress established the Senator Jacob Javits Awards in the Neurosciences, in honor of the late Senator Javits (R-NY), to be administered by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (now the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS). Senator Javits, who was himself afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was a strong advocate for support of research in a wide variety of disorders of the brain and nervous system. The Javits Award (R37) is a conditional, seven-year research grant given to scientists for their superior competence and outstanding productivity. Javits Awards provide long-term support to investigators with a history of exceptional talent, imagination, and preeminent scientific achievement. The award is initially for a period of four years, after which, based on an administrative review, an additional project period of three years may be awarded. Since the program’s inception in fiscal year 1984, more than 600 Javits Investigator Awards have been made.
Investigators do not apply for a Javits Award. Nominations for this award are made by NINDS staff and by members of the NANDS Council. These nominations are then reviewed by the Director, NINDS and the NANDS Council. All Javits nominations must be approved by the NANDS Council prior to their award.
R01 applications on any topic relevant to the mission of the NINDS will be considered for Javits Awards; no deliberate effort will be made to maintain subject matter, institutional, or geographical balance. Competitive R01s judged by the initial review group to be highly meritorious are automatically eligible for consideration, provided they exemplify the investigator’s body of work. Because the Javits award is intended to recognize a body of work from an investigator with a history of exceptional performance, most selections will be competing continuation (Type 2) applications. Under rare circumstances, new (Type 1) applications may be considered.
When nominating investigators for Javits awards, staff and Council consider R01 applications with scores within the NINDS percentile payline. These applications are generally from PIs with at least two consecutive cycles (i.e. 10 years) of continuous NINDS R01 (or equivalent) support. Staff and Council choose applications from investigators who have made substantial, cutting-edge contributions to neuroscience or neurology and have a record of conducting rigorous, transparent research. A Javits investigator is recognized as a leader in their field who can be expected to continue to be highly productive during the seven-year award period. In addition, Javits nominees must have a record of service to NINDS or NIH (e.g. study section service, steering committee participation) and of contributions to the community (e.g. mentoring, outreach, leadership in organizations). In choosing Javits candidates, NINDS values diversity of scientific perspectives and backgrounds.