Reminder – Requesting Extensions for Early Career Scientists Whose Career Trajectories Have Been Significantly Impacted by COVID-19
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

February 2, 2021

Related Announcements


Issued by

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)


The COVID-19 pandemic, along with extensive mitigation measures, has adversely affected progress in many biomedical research settings. Evidence from multiple sources, including a survey NIH issued to its extramural research workforce, indicates legitimate concerns about career trajectory for early career scientists. Therefore, within existing constraints of available funding, NIH plans to support early career scientists whose career trajectories have been significantly affected by the pandemic.

Therefore, NIH is providing an opportunity for recipients of NIH Fellowship (“F”) and NIH Career Development (“K”) awards who have been impacted by COVID-19 to request extensions as follows:

No-Cost Extensions

For most NIH awards, recipients may extend the final budget period of the previously approved project period (e.g. no-cost extension) one time, without NIH prior approval. For Fellowships and some career development awards (e.g., K99), the first no-cost extension may be submitted by the Authorized Organization Official (AOR) as a prior approval request to the funding IC(s). Recipients may also submit prior approval requests for second no-cost extensions. These requests must include a justification outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the recipient’s training and career development activities and will be considered by the funding IC(s) on a case by case basis.

Funded Extensions

Recipients, via the AOR, may request a funded extension for F and K awards by contacting the Grants Management and Program Official listed in the Notice of Award. These requests will be considered by each IC on a case-by-case basis using the following considerations:

  • Availability of funds.
  • Justification that the training or career development activities have been significantly hindered over and above lost research productivity that most individuals experienced because of COVID-19 related shutdowns.

Funded extension requests must include the following:

  • Explain how the research training or career development significantly suffered above and beyond lost research productivity that most individuals experienced because of COVID-19 related shutdowns.
  • For predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowships, indicate whether tuition funds are being requested.
  • Provide the training stage (e.g., fourth year postdoctoral fellow) and the amount of time requested (e.g., 3 months).
  • Budget requests are limited to no more than the amount of the current parent award and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.
  • Extensions typically will not exceed the time that the training or career development activities were suspended unless there were significant additional hardships.
  • Requests that will cause individuals to exceed their current limit for NRSA support require a strong justification that highlights the hardships cause by COVID-19.

For additional information on the NIH response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Direct all inquiries and requests for funded extensions to the Grants Management and Program Officials listed on the Notice of Award

For general inquiries about fellowships and career development programs please contact:

Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Office of Extramural Research

For general policy questions please contact:

NIH Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
Division of Grants Policy

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