Opportunity for Early-Stage Investigators To Shift Research Direction

Funding News Edition: January 21, 2021
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If you’re an Early-Stage Investigator (ESI) and wish to change the direction of your research, how can you get funding without preliminary data?

Consider a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) PAR-21-038, Stephen I. Katz Early-Stage Investigator Research Project Grant (R01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed). NIAID and many other NIH institute and center (IC) sponsors will fund innovative projects that represent a change of research direction for ESIs and for which preliminary data do not exist. 

Note that NIAID does not participate in the companion FOA PAR-21-039. This article covers only PAR-21-038.

When You Apply

Be sure to follow the FOA’s detailed rules for data and research direction carefully. Otherwise, NIH may automatically withdraw your application. Clinical trials are not allowed.

Data. Your application must not include preliminary data—defined as data not yet published.

You should support the logical basis and premise for your proposed work using published data or data from preprints that have a Digital Object Identifier. You must present these data unmodified from the original published format. Label and cite these data at every occurrence in your application. 

Research Direction. As required by the FOA, you must include an application attachment titled “New Research Directions.”

  • This attachment is limited to one page. If your application has Multiple Principal Investigators, the limit is one page for each principal investigator.
  • Explain how your proposal represents a meaningful change in direction from your previous research focus or training experience.

If preliminary data do exist or you wish to propose a project consistent with your past work or training, you should instead apply through the Parent R01 or other Opportunities that allow preliminary data.

Refer to the FOA’s Frequently Asked Questions page for additional guidance, including answers to questions like “Given that there is no preliminary data, how will reviewers evaluate the proposed project?”

Award and Contact Information

Choose a project period appropriate to your scope. You may request up to five years of support.

Your application budget is not limited but must reflect the actual needs of your proposed project. If you plan to request $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year, use the contact information below and follow NIAID’s Big Grants SOP at least six weeks before you apply.  

The first due date is January 26, 2021, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. Find additional due dates through 2023 in the FOA.

For applications to NIAID, we recommend that you discuss your plans with the scientific/research contact most relevant to your area of science:

For applications to other NIH institutes and centers (ICs), check the FOA’s IC-Specific Information, Requirements, and Staff Contacts.

Contact Us

Email us at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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