See the Glossary for more terms.
If you feel you may have a valid reason, apply for an exception.
As promised, NIH announced when and how to request an extension of the ten-year early-stage investigator period.
When You May Ask for an Extension
In some cases, NIH lets you extend your ESI period for the amount of time that you would have spent on research but could not. Here are examples of valid reasons for an ESI extension:
NIH expects to refine its allowed reasons, so consider this list as examples rather than the final word. If you feel you may have a valid reason, apply for an exception.
We anticipate more guidance from NIH on the subject as staff gain experience with requests and start seeing the types of reasons people have for submitting an extension.
How to Request an ESI Extension
To further help you out, NIH posted Frequently Asked Questions About the NIH ESI Policy. Read more details in NIH's December 31, 2008, Guide notice, and send questions to ESINIH@od.nih.gov.
If you are a new investigator, be sure to enter your degree and training completion dates in your eRA Commons profile right away.
NIH needs this information for all new PIs, not just early-stage investigators.
After you enter your dates into your profile, Commons will determine whether you qualify as a new investigator or ESI. NIH will email you the result, which you may be able to appeal.
If you already have a Commons account, update your degree information in your profile. If you do not, work with your sponsored research office to create one.
You can see definitions of new PI and ESI on our Are You “New”? page of the Strategy for NIH Funding and at NIH's New and Early Stage Investigator Policies.
It's out with the old and in with the new.
To reimburse you for honoraria and expenses from participating in peer review meetings, NIH is now using the Secure Payee Reimbursement System (SPRS), which you will access through the eRA Commons. SPRS replaces the U.S. Treasury Central Contract Registration (CCR).
You must register with SPRS. Follow the Registration Instructions (MS DOC) at NIH's Peer Review Policies and Practices.
And be sure to read the January 5, 2009, Guide notice for important points to keep in mind, including canceling your CCR account.
The switch should come as no surprise. We gave you a heads up that a new system was in the works in our July 2, 2008, article "Peer Reviewers Can Wave Goodbye to CCR."
With NIH's new Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) reporting process, anyone can see where NIH spends its research dollars.
Consistency Across NIH
RCDC's new approach replaces institute formulas that often yielded inconsistent results.
It also changes the results of our reported funding:
NIH is using RCDC to report on 208 of the 215 research categories of congressional and public interest it uses. For the remaining seven, which include AIDS and biodefense, NIH and institutes are manually preparing reports. Learn more about how NIH constructed the RCDC categories at Categorization Process.
See an RCDC Report
In January, NIH added the new Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories. You can use it to get official data for any of the 215 research areas covered by RCDC.
On that page, you can find FY 2008 data for all NIH projects—grants, contracts, interagency agreements, and intramural research. For FY 2007, you can compare funding data using RCDC and the former reporting method only. NIH did not go back to recalculate previous funding levels using the new definitions.
NIH's old public search tool, CRISP, has become part of the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) site, although for now the CRISP query looks the same. This spring, RePORTER will replace CRISP, and RCDC terms will replace CRISP search terms. Also expect new features such as better search options and links to publications and patents.
Find More Information
Here are some helpful tips and Web pages for investigators:
In case citations have flown under your radar, we want to put them back in your "cite" line.
Be sure to include the full grant (or contract) number when you cite our support of your research.
When your NIAID-funded work is published in a journal, you must cite our support. But even if you do, data queries do not credit NIH with the support unless you include the number. For a grant, it must include "AI" for NIAID.
Accurate reporting is key to making a case to Congress that the money it gives us is well spent, which helps preserve the flow of funds to grantees. You may want to check the galleys to make sure your number is correct and complete. For a suggested format and other details, see Should I cite NIH when I publish?
On another note, you also need to include a PubMed Central identification number to comply with NIH's public access policy, as you do in your applications and progress reports.
Read our Public Access of Publications SOP for more information, including what to do if a PMC ID is not ready.
If you are applying for a program project grant, check out NIAID's revised review criteria at Review Criteria for Cores and Review Criteria for the Overall Application in our Guidance for Preparing a Multiproject Research Application.
Also new: you can have multiple PIs for P01s that are investigator-initiated or funded through any funding opportunity announcements that allow the approach. Keep in mind that many opportunities don't give you this option, so read the Guide announcement carefully.
Don't forget to read our Advice for Multiproject Grants, which has input from NIAID peer reviewers so you know exactly what they look for when they review your application.
NIH's Center for Scientific Review has updated the descriptions of its chartered study sections making it easier for you to figure out which one might best review your application.
Find out why you should request a study section and institute and how to do it at It’s a Good Idea to Request an Institute and Study Section in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
The new descriptions are more user-friendly, transparent, and reflective of the applications reviewed by each study section.
CSR expects to update these descriptions at least once a year. Find them online at Descriptions of Integrated Review Groups, Study Sections, and Small Business Activities of CSR.
Learn how NIAID can help you jump start your life as a scientific investigator by participating in a training or career grant. Training Grant in Food Allergy Research: The Sweet Taste of Success (MP3) features an investigator who conducted key research in food allergies while undergoing training supported by NIAID.
This special feature is about two-thirds of the way through the podcast linked above. Find this and other podcasts on NIH Research Radio Podcasts.
NIAID supports many types of fellowships, career awards, and training grants. For more information, go to our Training and Career portal.
You can give NIH your ideas about how to improve core research facilities—centralized resources that let you access instruments, technologies, services, and experts—funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) or NIH institutes.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to send your advice by February 20, 2009. NCRR also plans to conduct a public meeting in July on the topic. Read more in the January 6, 2009, Guide notice.
"If I am listed as a key personnel on an NIH grant, will it affect my new investigator status?"—Brian Murphy, University of California, Davis
No. Being one of the key personnel on an NIH grant has no effect on your new investigator status. Technically a PI is one of the key personnel, but we're assuming you're not. As long as you are not the PI and never have been one, you can qualify as a new investigator.
See these and older announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.
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Last Updated August 18, 2011
Last Reviewed January 21, 2009