NIDA MERIT Awards for Early Stage Investigators (ESI)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 23, 2024

Related Announcements

April 23, 2024 - Phase-out and Termination of NIDA MERIT Awards for Established Investigators, See Notice NOT-DA-24-016

Issued by

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


Through this Notice, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announces its use of the Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) (R37) Award to provide longer term grant support to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) to give them flexibility and opportunity for creativity and innovation, and additional time to successfully launch their careers before having to submit renewal applications.

The objective of NIDA's ESI MERIT Award is to allow eligible investigators the opportunity to obtain up to 7 years of support in two segments, with the first being an initial four to five year award and the second an extension of up to two additional years, based on an expedited NIDA review of the accomplishments during the initial funding segment and the proposed research for the two additional years.

Investigators should have ESI status at the time of award. ESIs who have submitted a single-Principal Investigator (PI) R01 application that received a priority score or 24 or better in one of the two previous review cycles are eligible for consideration for the MERIT award. For Multiple PI awards, all PIs must have ESI status at the time of award. Investigators may not apply for an ESI MERIT award. NIDA program staff members will identify eligible candidate applications for the ESI MERIT award and submit them to the members of the National Advisory Board on Drug Abuse (NACDA) for consideration. If recommended by the NACDA and approved by NIDA leadership, the ESI R01 will be converted to an ESI MERIT (R37) for the initial four or five year funding segment.

The ESI MERIT award extension application will be submitted to NIDA 18 months prior to the end of the initial four- or five-year project period. The extension application will be reviewed by NIDA staff and submitted to the NACDA for concurrence. If an extension is granted, the ESI MERIT award recipient will be notified of the length of time of the extension and the approved budget. If a proposed award does not receive an extension, the recipient may submit an application for review as a regular competing research grant application.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Gillain Acca, PhD
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Phone: 301-827-5863