Updates to NIH Policy on ESI Application Status

Notice Number: NOT-OD-19-072

Key Dates
Release Date : February 07, 2019

Related Announcements

Issued by

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The purpose of this notice is to update the extramural community of upcoming changes to the NIH policy for identifying Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Eligible Applications subsequent to updates or changes in PD/PI ESI status.


NIH remains strongly committed to the Next Generation Researcher Initiative (NGRI) policy to fund more early career investigators and to enhance biomedical research workforce diversity. NIH defines an ESI as a Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who has completed his/her terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past ten years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award.

Since the beginning of NIH’s implementation of the NGRI policy, NIH has encouraged PD/PIs to verify and/or enter the date of their terminal research degree or the end date of their post-graduate clinical training in their eRa Commons Profile prior to submission of an application to ensure the correct identification. The ESI status of the PD/PIs on any R01 or R01 equivalent application is flagged at the time of application submission.

Policy Update:

NIH recognizes there are cases where a PD/PI may need to update and/or request an extension of their ESI status post application submission. Therefore, to minimize the need for manual change requests by applicants after submission of an application, while still allowing consideration of ESI status at the time of a funding decision, effective on the date of this notice, NIH will automatically update the ESI status of an application within eRA Commons as follows:

  • If a PD/PI updates his/her degree or residency information after submission of an R01 or R01-equivalent application, or if an investigator requests and/or receives an extension of ESI status after submitting an R01 or R01-equivalent application, the application will be reviewed with the designation assigned at the time of submission. Within eRA Commons, the status of the pending application will be updated after release of the Summary Statement to acknowledge ESI-application eligibility.
  • If an ESI-eligible application is awarded and the same PD/PI has an R01 or R01-equivalent application pending review, the pending application will be reviewed as an ESI-eligible application. However, the status of the pending application will be updated after release of the Summary Statement to acknowledge the application is no longer ESI-eligible.


ESI’s should use the procedures described in the Extension Request form to request an adjustment to their eligibility period. Investigators must contact the NIH eRA Service Desk if the ESI status contained in his/her eRA Commons Profile is incorrect.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Office of Extramural Research
Website: https://researchtraining.nih.gov
Email: NIHTrain@mail.nih.gov