Notice of System Change and Procedure for Requesting an Extension to Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Status

Notice Number: NOT-OD-19-125

Key Dates
Release Date:   July 25, 2019

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The purpose of this Notice is to inform the extramural community of a change in the procedure for requesting an extension of early stage investigator (ESI) eligibility.  The new ESI extension request process will be integrated into the eRA Commons for streamlined and secure access.

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 post-graduate clinical training within the past ten years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award.
Some investigators may experience a lapse in their research or research training or 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 family care responsibilities, medical concerns, disability, natural disasters, and active duty military service.

Process Update
Beginning on August 22, 2019, investigators will be able to request an extension to their ESI eligibility period through eRA Commons via an ESI Extension request button in the Education section of their Personal Profile. The system will provide text fields for individuals to provide a justification for the proposed extension, and the ability to upload PDFs of supporting documentation. Once completed and submitted, the request will be reviewed by the ESI Extension Committee. If approved by the Committee, the new ESI end date will appear in the Education section of their Personal Profile.

Coincident with the introduction of the new ESI Extension system, the prior Extension Request form and portal will be retired. All other aspects of the ESI Extension process remain unchanged. See Early Stage Investigator FAQs for additional information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Policy Contact:
Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Office of Extramural Research

Technical Support Contact:
NIH eRA Service Desk