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Nicole KingMore than 300 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, widely known for their creativity and productivity, are pushing the bounds of knowledge in biomedical research.

HHMI investigators are based at host institutions across the United States. This arrangement currently represents collaborative partnerships with more than 60 research institutions. Investigators continue to participate in educational and administrative activities at their host institutions and receive additional research support from a variety of sources.


Through periodic competitions, HHMI accepts applications from researchers at more than 200 research institutions across the United States, with the aim of identifying individuals who have the potential to make significant contributions to science. Investigators continue to be based at their host institutions; however, HHMI investigators and some of their laboratory personnel are Institute employees and are supported by HHMI field offices throughout the country. Each investigator receives his or her full salary, benefits, and a research budget from HHMI. Appointment is for a seven-year term (previously five years, prior to February, 2017), which may be renewed after an exacting review process.


HHMI investigators include some of the nation’s most innovative plant scientists, appointed to the Institute through a partnership between HHMI and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF). Despite the central role plants play in maintaining human health and in healthcare, basic research in the plant sciences has long been underfunded in the United States. HHMI and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation are collaborating to support creative plant biologists as HHMI investigators to pursue bold research that could result in large contributions to science and society. These 14 HHMI-GBMF investigators are conducting research on a variety of plants, such as wheat, maize, tomato, Arabidopsis, moss, and algae.


HHMI’s Collaborative Innovation Awards (HCIA) support interdisciplinary teams of scientists, each headed by an HHMI investigator, in pursuing potentially transformative research projects. They are intended to encourage HHMI investigators to collaborate with scientists, both inside and outside of HHMI, to undertake projects that are new and so large in scope that they require a team with a range of expertise. Collaborators receive funds from HHMI to cover their research budget for the HCIA project over four years, along with the flexibility to pursue their best ideas. HHMI began the program in 2008 and made a second round of awards in 2012, selecting awardees after inviting HHMI investigators to propose collaborations.