Implementing the Early Stage Investigator Policy: Updating eRA Commons Profiles to Include Degree and Residency Completion Dates

Notice Number: NOT-OD-09-021

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

  • August 12, 2009 - See Notice NOT-OD-09-134 Reminder: Investigators Should Update their eRA Commons Profiles to Include Degree and Residency Completion Dates.
  • December 31, 2008 - See Notice (NOT-OD-09-034) Early Stage Investigator Policies: Requesting an Extension of the ESI Period.

Key Dates
Release Date: November 21, 2008

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

Early Stage Investigator Policy

The NIH recently announced a change in NIH New Investigator policies designed to encourage early transition to independence. Under this policy, New Investigators within ten years of completing their terminal research degree or within ten years of completing their medical residency will be designated Early Stage Investigators (ESIs). Traditional NIH research grant (R01) applications from ESIs will be identified and the career stage of the applicant will be considered at the time of review and award. More information on this policy is available in related notices in the NIH Guide, establishing ESI as a category of new investigators, and revising policies on new investigators and ESIs, and on the New and Early Stage Investigator website at

Need to Establish eRA Commons Profiles and to Update Degree and Residency End Dates

In order to implement this modified policy, all New Investigators must update their eRA Commons profiles to ensure that they are given appropriate consideration for R01 applications for February, 2009 due dates and beyond. The degree date information requested in the profile and eventually the date of completion of medical residency will be used to determine ESI eligibility. Once degree and residency completion dates are entered into eRA Commons, individuals who are eligible for ESI or New Investigator status will be notified of their eligibility by email.

New investigators who do not yet have an eRA Commons account should work through the sponsored research office or its equivalent at their institution to establish an eRA Commons account. Investigators who already have an account should update degree information at The eRA Commons will be ready to accept the completion date of medical residency after January 17, 2009.

It should be noted that an individual will be identified as New Investigator by determining whether he/she has previously competed successfully for a significant NIH research grant. Please see the definition of New Investigator on the New and Early Stage Investigator Website at
The New Investigator Checkbox currently in the PHS398 and Standard Form 424 will be removed.

NIH encourages all investigators to keep information in their Commons profiles as current as possible.

Requests for Extension of ESI Eligibility

Within a few weeks, instructions for requesting an extension of the period of ESI eligibility will be announced in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and will be posted on the New and Early Stage Investigator Website at The NIH will consider extending the period of ESI eligibility to accommodate special circumstances including but not limited to medical concerns, disability, family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, or active duty military service.


Direct inquiries regarding ESI Policies to

If you have questions about data entry or access to the eRA Commons, please look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the eRA Commons at The office of sponsored research at your institution may be helpful or you can contact the eRA Help Desk at or by phone to 1-866-504-9552.