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History of NIH Support for Early Career Investigators

October 2011
October 2010
NIH announced the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (DP5) that allows highly promising candidates to launch an independent research career without a period of postdoctoral training.
August 2009
NIH encouraged New and Early Stage Investigators to keep their Commons Profiles up to date.
December 2008
NIH established a way to extend the Early Stage Investigator period to accommodate illness, parental responsibilities, military service and other factors that might result in time away from research.
November 2008
NIH fully implemented the Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Policy and created the ability to identify New Investigator and ESI using data in eRA Commons Profiles.
October 2008
NIH clarified New and Early Stage Investigator policies and established comparable success rates for New and Established investigators on Type 1 (new) R01 Equivalent applications. It also indicated that half of the New Investigator pool each year should be Early Stage Investigators. Compliance was encouraged by developing and sending frequent status reports to the funding NIH institutes and centers during the course of each fiscal year. This also ended the period of using a five-year rolling average of New Investigators as the New Investigator target for future years.
September 2008
NIH modified the New Investigator Policy to identify Early Stage Investigators (ESI) based on the eligibility criteria associated with the Director’s New Innovator Awards.
February 2007
NIH announced a Request for Applications for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards (DP2) and a follow-on funding opportunity announcement was released in March, 2007. Awards were restricted to New Investigators who are within 10 years of completing their terminal research degree or their medical residency. Awards were for 5 years and up to $300,000 direct costs per year.
December 2006
NIH articulated a policy that had been in place for several years that created a numerical target for the number of New Investigators based on the average number of New Investigators with awards over the last five years.
November 2006
NIH established the Multiple Principal Investigator policy to support team science projects. An application in which all Multiple Principal Investigators are identified as New Investigator is treated as a New Investigator application.
January 2006
NIH launched the Pathway to Independence Award program (K99/R00) that includes a period of postdoctoral research support followed by up to three years of independent research support upon finding a suitable position.
November 2005
Launched a pilot study to shorten review cycle for New Investigator R01 applications to permit submission of an amended application by the next submission date. The policy was fully implemented by August, 2007.
December 2004
The definition of New Investigator was modified to include anyone who has not previously competed successfully for an NIH grant similar to an R01. Previously, it had been restricted to those who had not previously served as a principal investigator on an R01. NIH establishes a website for New Investigators.
November 1998
The NIH created a check box on the face page of the NIH grant application to identify R01 applications submitted by New Investigators.
December 1997
Transition to a New NIH Policy on New Investigators – A transition period was described during which R29 applications were phased out and New Investigators were advised to submit R01 applications that were marked to indicate that the PD/PI was a New Investigator.
November 1997
Elimination of NIH FIRST (R29) Award – Based on a report the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director eliminated the FIRST award and New Investigators were encouraged to apply for R01s asking for a level and period of support necessary for their project.
August 1986
First Independent Research Support and Transition (FIRST) Award - FIRST Awards (R29) had a direct cost limit of $100,000 in any year and were limited to $350,000 direct costs over the five year award period. FIRST awards were used between 1986 and 1997. (PDF - 792 KB)
June 1977
New Investigator Research Awards (NIRA) - NIRA awards (R23) had direct cost amounts up to $35,000 for up to three years. These awards were used between 1977 and 1986. (PDF - 396 KB)