Questions and Answers for PAR-20-259, NIAID New Innovators Awards (DP2 Clinical Trial Not Allowed

NIH published this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in an August 14, 2020 Guide announcement.

Table of Contents

Questions and Answers for All Applicants

What is the NIAID New Innovators Award?

The purpose of the NIAID New Innovators program is to provide support for Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) proposing creative, novel, and high-impact research concepts that may be risky or at a stage too early to fare well in traditional peer review. The program is designed to facilitate the movement of talented postdoctoral fellows into independent positions and to support talented newly independent investigators.

I noticed NIAID recently reissued the DP2 Funding Opportunity. What has changed?

The focus of the original NIAID New Innovators Program was on postdoctoral fellows.  The program has now been expanded to include newly independent researchers (within one year of an independent position at the time of application submission). Additionally, all applicants must be early stage investigators (ESIs) to be eligible to apply.

How often will NIAID compete this award?

Once per year.

What is the definition of an early stage investigator?

An early stage investigator (ESI) is a Principal Director (PD) or Principal Investigator (PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award. Check the NIH List of Smaller Grants and Awards that Maintain ESI Status.  

How can I ensure I have early stage investigator status?

To ensure that NIH recognizes you as an early stage investigator, you must update your eRA Commons profile to reflect the date of completion of your terminal research degree. If you are not identified as an early stage investigator in the eRA Commons, this may result in your application not being reviewed.

Are there circumstances that would allow me to extend my early stage investigator status?

Yes. After you have entered the date of your terminal research degree and/or the date of clinical training completion in your eRA Commons profile, the system will calculate the end date of your early stage investigator status.

You may request an extension to that date if there has been a lapse in your research during the ten-year period after your terminal research degree or the end of clinical training. In addition, NIH will approve an ESI extension of one year for childbirth within the ESI period.

NIH will consider requests to extend the early stage investigator period for reasons that can include medical concerns, disability, family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, natural disasters, and active duty military service.

NIH considers extension requests on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about Requesting an Extension of ESI Status.

Will I lose my new investigator (NI) or early stage investigator (ESI) status if I get a DP2 award?

Yes. The DP2 is a R01-like mechanism for independent research, so you would lose your NI or ESI status upon award.

Can I apply to other funding opportunities at the same time as the NIAID New Innovator Award?

Yes, you can apply to multiple funding opportunities. However, you may not submit essentially the same project at the same time as dictated by NIH’s Evaluation of Overlapping Applications policy. If you accept an NIH R01 or equivalent grant before the NIAID New Innovator Award is made, NIAID will not award the NIAID New Innovators Award.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, there are no citizenship or residency requirements. Foreign postdoctoral or newly independent researchers are eligible if they apply from a U.S.-based institution.

May I apply from a foreign institution?

No, you may apply only if you are at an institution in the United States or its territories. This applies to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.

Can I revise and resubmit if my application is not funded?

Resubmission applications (A1) are not allowed. However, you may submit substantially the same idea or a refinement of the idea as a new application.

Although NIAID encourages you to take the reviewers’ comments into account when writing your new application, do not mark your changes from the earlier version, include an introduction to the application, or otherwise refer to the previous submission in your new application.

Your new application must stand on its own and not be structured as a resubmission.

How do I upload the Bibliography for my NIAID application? 

Do not attach the Bibliography & References Cited in the default SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information section. If you do, this may cause processing errors for your application.

Instead, you must attach the Bibliography & References Cited in the Other Attachments section. Use the following filename: Bibliography_References_Cited.pdf

Do I need to attach a Current and Pending support document to my Key Personnel profile?

Yes. You must attach a list of Current and Pending Support from all sources, including current year direct costs and percent effort devoted to each project.

Do I need a Specific Aims page?

Yes. You may not necessarily have a formal Specific Aims page as in an R01 application, but you are allowed one page to outline your major project plan. The Specific Aims page is a one page only separate attachment. It is not part of the 10-page Research Strategy attachment.

How do I complete the Budget section?

Please enter only the five-year total ($1.5 million) in the fields for "Total Federal Funds Requested" and "Total Federal & Non-Federal Funds" in the “Estimated Project Funding” section of the SF424 (R&R) Form.

Your Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs will be determined at the time of award and should not be included in the budget request. You are not required to provide a detailed budget, budget forms, or budget justification at the time of submission.

If your application is selected for funding, NIAID will request detailed budgets and applicable F&A as part of the Just-in-Time process.

Do I need to have a faculty position lined up when I apply?

If you are applying as a postdoctoral fellow, NIAID does not expect you to have a faculty position or equivalent arranged at your institution or at any other U.S. based institution. In addition, you are not obligated to stay at your current U.S. based institution.

If you are applying as a newly independent investigator, NIAID expects you to have a faculty position or equivalent at a U.S. based institution at the time of application submission.

What should I do if I have difficulty uploading my application?

Submit a web ticket to the eRA Service Desk. NIAID recommends submitting your application early to allow time to make any necessary corrections before the submission deadline.

Why not give the entire funding upfront like the NIH DP2 program?

Unlike the NIH DP2 program, the NIAID DP2 program provides incremental funding to allow for five full years of support with the opportunity for a no-cost extension.

Are these grants renewable?

No, these grants are not renewable. The expectation is that you would apply for an R01 or a similar award type after the DP2 award has ended.

How will the review take place?

The NIAID Scientific Review Program will convene a special emphasis panel (SEP) to review applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Are clinical trials allowed?

No, clinical trials are not allowed. However, human subjects and clinical research is acceptable.

Will NIAID accept multiple applications from a single applicant?

Yes, this is allowed. However, the research you propose must be distinct (of different scope) from application to application.

If awarded, do I need to prepare a Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) each year?

Yes, an annual RPPR is required as part of the non-competing award process.

Will these grants get percentiled against R01s and abide by NIAID’s payline?

No. Grants will be selected for funding based on priority score the availability of funds.

May a physician in residency apply? Are physician-scientists eligible?

Yes, NIAID encourages physician-scientists to apply to this FOA. You must have a research or clinical doctorate (including Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.C., N.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., Sc.D., D.N.S., Pharm.D., or equivalent doctoral degree), or combined research and clinical doctoral degree.

Are multiple PIs allowed?

No, the DP2 mechanism does not permit multiple PDs/PIs.

Is preliminary data required?

No, preliminary data are not required. However, a discussion and strong rationale supporting the likelihood of success of the proposed concepts is encouraged.  Preliminary data or unpublished results may be included in summary form at the discretion of the applicant. 

May I apply for a research career development (K) award at the same time as the DP2?

If the science does not overlap, you may apply for both. However, NIAID New Innovator awardees are not eligible for concurrent research career development awards.

If I already have a K award when I get the DP2, must I relinquish the K?

Yes. NIAID New Innovator awardees are not eligible for concurrent or subsequent research career development awards of any type.

What is the difference between the DP2 and K22 programs?

There are some similarities between the longstanding NIAID Career Transition Award (K22)  award and this new NIAID DP2 program. Both target postdoctoral investigators, but each program has different intent.

The K22 program is geared towards a more traditional career trajectory of a postdoctoral phase (national average of five or six years) and a transition to a faculty position. This is a two-year award.

The NIAID DP2 program is geared towards a more exceptional type of postdoctoral and newly independent investigators with a highly innovative research idea, someone who is ready to start their own research group and conduct research with significant impact. This is a five-year award.

For both award types, the candidate will need to secure a faculty position in order to activate the award.

Whom do I contact for more information on this FOA?

Find NIAID’s scientific/research contact for your area of science in Section VII. Agency Contacts of the FOA.

Questions and Answers Specific to Postdoctoral Applicants

If I apply as a postdoctoral fellow, what happens if I obtain a faculty position before I get the DP2 award?

You will be eligible for the DP2 award.

I have been a postdoctoral investigator for more than 10 years. Am I still eligible to apply for the DP2 as a postdoctoral fellow?

The NIAID New Innovator Awardees are limited to early stage investigators who have completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years, so it is likely that you no longer qualify as an ESI.  However, there are circumstances that can allow an extension of ESI status. Refer to Are there circumstances that would allow me to extend my early stage investigator status? above.

My institution does not use the postdoctoral designation. Am I still eligible to apply as a postdoctoral fellow?

We recognize that some institutions appoint postdoctoral fellows in positions with other titles although they are still in eligible non-independent, mentored training positions.

We highly encourage applicants to check with their institution to confirm that their position conforms with the eligibility requirements of the FOA. We also encourage candidates in such positions to confirm their eligibility with the NIAID scientific/research contact (Section VII. Agency Contacts) for their area of science before they begin to prepare their applications.

It is incumbent upon the candidate to provide evidence that his or her position complies with the intent of this eligibility requirement. If a potential applicant is in a position that is not clearly identifiable as a postdoctoral training position, the request for an exception must be accompanied by an official statement of the institution’s policy (e.g., published position description in an official institutional document) which documents the position as a mentored postdoctoral training position.

If I apply as a postdoctoral fellow, how much time do I have to secure a U.S. based institution faculty position and activate my grant?

You have 12 months from the time of receiving the approval letter to secure an independent tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position at an U.S. based institution to activate your grant award.

Applying as a postdoctoral fellow, do I need to include a commitment from my institution that I will have a secured independent position? 

No, you do not need a commitment for a position when you apply. You will have time to secure an independent position after submitting your application and you will provide this information at the time of funding.

Successful applicants (i.e., one whose application has received a fundable overall impact score) will receive an approval letter from NIAID that will include the terms and conditions to activate the award. 

To activate the DP2 award, you must secure an independent, tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position at an U.S. based institution within a year of the receipt of the approval letter.

Once you secure your position, you will submit updated information about the DP2 application with the support of the sponsoring institution. 

If I have a letter that verifies my status as a mentored dependent position (postdoctoral), what should I do with it?

NIAID requests that you add such letters to the “Letters of Support” section of your application.

Whom do I contact for more information on this FOA?

Find NIAID’s scientific/research contact for your area of science in Section VII. Agency Contacts of the FOA.

Content last reviewed on