New Investigators and Early Stage Investigators
In general, a Project Director or Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is considered a New Investigator if he/she has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a significant NIH independent research award. For example, a PD/PI who has previously received a competing NIH R01 research grant is no longer considered a New Investigator. A complete definition of a New Investigator along with a list of NIH grants that do not disqualify a PD/PI from being considered a New Investigator can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm.
Early Stage Investigator (ESI)
An individual who is classified as a New or First-Time Investigator and is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent) is considered an ESI. For NIH policies and procedures for investigators who wish to request an extension of the NIH-defined ESI classification, and the conditions under which such extensions will be considered, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-09-034.html.
The NIH remains committed to identifying and attracting new biomedical researchers and will continue to explore novel ways to encourage early transition to independence. The NIH intends to support New Investigators at success rates comparable to those for established investigators submitting new applications. ESIs should comprise a majority of the New Investigators supported. Where possible, New Investigator applications will be clustered during review. The applications will be given special consideration during peer review and at the time of funding. Peer reviewers will be instructed to focus more on the proposed approach than on the track record, and to expect less preliminary data than would be provided by an established investigator.
NIH New and Early Stage Investigator Policies are limited to applications for traditional research project grant (R01) support. Accordingly, the NIH strongly encourages New Investigators, particularly ESIs, to apply for R01 grants when seeking first-time NIH funding.
NIH New Investigator Policy highlights
If the PD/PI has successfully competed for grant funding from other organizations (e.g. the European Commission, World Health Organization) they may still be considered a “New Investigator” if they have not yet applied for an NIH grant. New Investigators and ESIs apply equally to both foreign and domestic applicants.
In order for an application to receive the advantages of being reviewed as a New Investigator grant, all PD/PIs on the application must fit the definition of New Investigator. For foreign applicants, this may be especially relevant if you have a U.S. collaborator who has been a PD/PI on an NIH research grant before. If the collaborator is listed as co-Director or multiple PI on your application, your application may not be considered “New Investigator” even if you fit the above definition. If your collaborator is listed as a “consultant” or “other senior/key personnel” however, your application may still be considered “New Investigator.”
NOTE: All New Investigators must update their eRA Commons profile to ensure that they are given appropriate consideration. The degree date information requested in the profile and eventually the date of completion of medical residency will be used to determine ESI eligibility. Once degree and residency completion dates are entered into eRA Commons, individuals who are eligible for ESI or New Investigator status will be notified of their eligibility by email.
New investigators who do not yet have an eRA Commons account should work through the appropriate office at their institution to establish an eRA Commons account. Investigators who already have an account should update degree information at http://commons.era.nih.gov/commons.
NIH’s Fogarty International Center has announced their commitment to providing opportunities to New Investigators to engage in international research and training activities. See http://www.fic.nih.gov/funding/fy_strategy/2009funding.htm#strategy.
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