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NIA New and Early Stage Investigators

An Early Stage Investigator (ESI) is an investigator who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training—whichever date is later—within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as a Principal Investigator for a substantial, NIH independent research award such as an R01 or R01-equivalent. See the list of NIH grants that an investigator can hold and still be considered an ESI. A New Investigator (NI) is an investigator who has not yet competed successfully for a substantial, independent NIH research award, but who does not meet the other requirements to be considered an Early Stage Investigator (ESI).

R01 applications from ESIs/NIs will be considered among NIA's highest priorities in the use of discretionary funds to make awards selectively. ESIs/NIs should examine our funding policy to determine their relative advantage in competition for R01s. First time R01 applicants should register themselves in NIH eRA before submitting their R01 to track an application as well as confirm ESI or NI status. For detailed information, visit the NIH Early Stage Investigator Policies.

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Funding Opportunities for Early Career Investigators

In addition to ESI/NI status considerations for R01 awards, NIA offers a variety of mechanisms specifically for junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows to advance their research and career training in aging. These include the K-series Research Career Development Awards (e.g., K01, K08, K23), and the following opportunities:

Funding Opportunities for Early Career Investigators
Number Title Description
R03 Small Research Grant Program for the Next Generation of Researchers in Alzheimer's Disease Supports innovative projects to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and/or care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD) in three focus areas:
R03 Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists' Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) An award for early-career physician-scientists trained in medical or surgical specialties or early-career dentist-scientists to launch careers as future leaders in aging-or geriatric-focused research.
R21 Early Stage Investigator Research Using Nonhuman Primate (NHP) Models Supports research using nonhuman primate (NHP) models performed by early stage investigators (ESI) who have at least two years of postdoctoral experience.
R21 NIBIB Trailblazer Award for New and Early Stage Investigators An award for new and early-stage investigators that supports exploratory research that integrates engineering and the physical sciences with the life or biomedical sciences.
K76 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging An award for early stage investigators (ESI) who have begun to establish research programs and who, through this award, will be ready to assume leadership roles in their field of expertise.
Katz ESI R01 Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant Supports an innovative project in an area of science that represents a change in research direction for an early stage investigator (ESI) and for which no preliminary data exist.
New and At-Risk R01 Research Opportunities for New and "At-Risk" Investigators to Promote Workforce Diversity An R01 research award supporting diverse new investigators (who have not yet received significant NIH funding) and at-risk investigators (who have prior substantial funding from NIH but who, unless successful in securing a substantial research grant award in the current fiscal year, will have no substantial research grant funding in the following fiscal year).
DP2 NIH Director's New Innovator Award Supports exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects in the biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences within the NIH mission.
DP5 NIH Director's Early Independence Award Supports outstanding junior scientists to bypass traditional postdoctoral training and launch independent research careers.
R43/R44 and R41/R42 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs Largest source of early-stage funding for aging-related research and development (R&D).
L30 and L60 NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) Repay up to $50,000 annually of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research.
N/A Butler-Williams Scholars Program Unique opportunity for junior faculty and researchers new to the field of aging to gain insight about aging research.

Extension of Early Stage Investigator Status

ESI status extensions may be requested for circumstances including childbirth, medical leave, and research impacts of COVID-19. For more information and step-by-step instructions, please visit the NIH ESI FAQs webpage.

Administrative Supplements to Promote Research Continuity During Critical Life Events

Administrative Supplements supporting research continuity and retention of faculty members are available for recipients of mentored K awards (NOT-OD-23-031) and for first-time recipients of R01s and similar research grants (NOT-OD-23-032). For PIs who have experienced a critical life event, including for instance childbirth, serious illness, or primary caregiving responsibilities, this supplement can provide up to $70,000 in additional funding to support the PI's research. Read more about the continuity and retention supplements.

NIH Family Friendly Initiatives

Being able to balance work and family life is important for everyone, including biomedical and behavioral researchers. Explore how NIH helps grantee institutions foster family-friendly environments for the NIH-supported workforce.

Events and Educational Opportunities

Explore past NIA events, trainings, and more for early career researchers.

NIA Webinar for Early-Career Researchers

NIA held a webinar in June 2022 for early-career researchers. The webinar provided an overview of NIA, its mission, and organizational structure; insights into the research priorities of NIA's scientific and programmatic divisions; information on NIA training and career development opportunities; and a question-and-answer segment with NIA leaders.

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