NIH Policy Supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative

September 14, 2017 by

URL for full policy:

NIH and its stakeholder community have been concerned for many years about the long-term growth and stability of the biomedical research work force. The current hypercompetitive environment is challenging for early stage investigators and early established investigators. Many highly meritorious applications go unfunded.  While scientific workforce diversity supports the NIH mission, expanding the pool of investigators from nationally underrepresented backgrounds in the biomedical research workforce remains an elusive goal.  The Next Generation Researchers policy requires institutes and centers (ICs) to prioritize awards that will fund Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) and Early Established Investigators (EEIs).

Early Stage Investigator (ESI):  An ESI is a Program Director / Principal Investigator (PD/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.  A list of NIH grants that a PD/PI can hold and still be considered an ESI can be found at  ESIs are encouraged to enter the date of their terminal research degree or the end date of their post-graduate clinical training in their eRA Commons profile to ensure their correct identification.

Under the Next Generation Researchers policy, meritorious R01-equivalent applications with ESI PD/PIs will be prioritized for funding. ICs will put this prioritization into effect starting in fiscal year (FY) 2017. The goal for FY 2017 will be to fund approximately 200 more ESI awards than in FY 2016.  R01-equivalent research grant applications with more than one PD/PI (MPI) will be prioritized for funding only if all MPIs have ESI status.

Early Established Investigator (EEI):  An EEI is a PD/PI who is within 10 years of receiving their first substantial, independent competing NIH R01-equivalent research award as an ESI.  A meritorious application with a designated PD/PI EEI may be prioritized for funding if:

  1. The EEI lost or is at risk for losing all NIH research support if not funded by competing awards this year, OR
  2.  The EEI is supported by only one active award.

NIH will identify EEIs in their eRA Commons profile by January 2018.  NIH grant applications with more than one PD/PI (MPI) will be prioritized for funding only if all MPIs have EEI status and meet prioritization criteria.

Filed Under: Funding Opportunities, Research Announcements