General Principles for Extending the Period of ESI Status
In general, ESI status will be applied to New Investigators who have had less than 10 years of research or research training experience after the completion of their terminal research degree or medical residency. Some new investigators will experience a lapse in their research or research training or they will experience periods of less than full-time effort during the 10 year ESI period. In order to accommodate such lapses, the NIH will consider requests to extend the ESI period for reasons that can include medical concerns, disability, family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, natural disasters, and active duty military service. In general, the NIH will extend the period of ESI status for a period equivalent to the time away from research or research training. Extensions related to periods of part-time status normally will be prorated to reflect the actual time away from research and normally will be considered only when the appointment is reduced by 50% or more for a sustained period of time.
Evaluating a Request for Extension – Factors to be Considered
Family Care Responsibilities: Investigators, both male and female, may request an extension of ESI status equivalent to the amount of time away from research because of family care responsibilities that have occurred during the ten year period after the terminal research degree or the end of medical residency. Family care responsibilities can include the birth or adoption of a child, or the direct care of sick, injured, or disabled children or other close family members.
Extended Periods of Clinical Training: Clinicians often engage in a period of extended post-residency training associated with preparation for practice in specialty or subspecialty fields. The NIH will consider ESI extensions for those segments of post-residency clinical training that are exclusively devoted to training in clinical care. Those parts of post-residency training that involve research in clinical or laboratory settings should not be included in the period of time requested to extend ESI status. Those requesting extensions of the ESI period should carefully describe the duration of those sections of their fellowship training that involved clinical training.
Extended Periods of Additional (non-degree) Research Training: Research training in a formal (non-degree) NIH-relevant, training program that involves periods of didactic instruction and limits the time available for research or research training may be considered. Those requesting extensions on this basis should describe (and prepare to document) the period of training including course work and other non-research activities. Formal research training programs during the post doctoral period that result in a master’s or other degree in a field that substantially expands or advances an individual’s skills related to the NIH mission, should be entered as a new terminal research degree, as stated above.
Disability or Illness: New Investigators who have had a hiatus in their career because of illness or disability within the first ten years after completing their research degree or their residency may request an extension of the ESI period equivalent to the time away from research.
Active Duty Military Service: New Investigators who have interrupted their research or research training for active duty military service within the first ten years after completing their research degree or their residency may request an extension of the period of ESI status equivalent to the period of active service. This is not restricted to the United States military.
Clinical Loan Repayment Requirements: Some federal loan repayment programs require a period of clinical practice following completion of clinical training. New investigators who have interrupted their research or research training within the first ten years after completing their research degree or their residency to satisfy a service obligation associated with a federal loan may request an extension of the period of ESI status equivalent to the period of obligation.
Natural or Other Disaster: Early Stage Investigators who have had major interruptions in research due to a catastrophic event (hurricane, flood, fire, etc.) that led to a laboratory shut down or relocation may request an extension of the period of ESI status equivalent to the time of closure or relocation/set-up.
Frequently Asked Questions
A set of Frequently Asked Questions will become available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm. Investigators are encouraged to check this site regularly.
The information described in the request for an ESI extension will be considered confidential, and will be maintained under the Privacy Act record system 09-25-0036, “Extramural Awards” which can be found at http://oma.od.nih.gov/ms/privacy/pa-files/0036.htm. The individual submitting a request for ESI extension will be responsible for providing true, accurate, and complete information.
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