The Transition to NIH's New Policy on New Investigators
New investigators are important to the future of biomedical research. In order to allow new investigators maximum freedom in identifying the level and period of support needed for the work they are planning and thus enhance their opportunities to establish careers in research, NIH has announced a new policy. Under this policy, new investigators are encouraged to submit traditional research project grant (R01) applications, which will be clearly identified as being from new investigators. At the same time, First Independent Research and Transition (FIRST; R29) award applications will no longer be accepted (effective June 1998.) This notice will address questions that may arise during the period between this announcement and the full implementation of that policy. During this time of transition, NIH will make every effort to ensure that new investigators are not disadvantaged and to accommodate their needs.
For the January - May 1998 receipt dates for grant applications, new and amended R29 applications will be accepted but, in view of the new policy to be implemented in June 1998, new investigators may want to submit these applications as R01s. That is their choice, and they can make their most informed choice by talking with program staff in the relevant Institute or Center. We anticipate most of the questions would center around what to do if a new investigator wishes to resubmit an R29 application that has been reviewed but not funded.
An investigator whose R29 application will not be funded has three choices for the January-May 1998 receipt dates:
- Submit an amended R29, with an Introduction (as indicated in the PHS 398 application form instructions, p.15, C 9, Research Plan) and include letters of recommendation.
- Submit an amended application but change this application from an R29 to an R01; this application also should have an Introduction addressing changes to the application in response to the critiques of the previous review; it should not include letters of recommendation. Whether the amended application is an R29 or an R01, it would receive the same grant application identification number as the original application, with an "A1" or "A2" added to that number. In the review process, the summary statement of the previous review would be included in the review materials considered by the scientific peer review group (according to standard NIH peer review procedures.)
- Make substantial changes in the application and submit it as a new R01; such an application should NOT contain an Introduction and should have a new title (different from the R29 title.) New applications, even when derived from ideas presented in a previous application, are not accompanied by information about any previous reviews of applications by that investigator.
Starting with the June 1998 grant application receipt date, no R29 applications will be accepted, whether new or amended. An investigator who wishes to amend an R29 application has two choices:
- Submit an amended application as an R01; it will have the same grant application identification number as the R29, with an "A1" or "A2" added to that number. This application should contain an Introduction but should not be accompanied by letters of recommendation. The summary statement of the previous review will be provided to the scientific peer review group along with the amended application.
- Submit a new R01 application using ideas derived from the previous R29. In this case, as with all new R01 applications, there should be no Introduction and the title should be one that has not been used before.
For additional guidance on these issues, investigators should speak with their program administrators in the relevant Institutes or Centers.
Change in NIH Policy of Supporting New Investigators, NIH Guide, Vol. 26, No. 38, Nov. 21, 1997.