Extensions for Early Career Scientists Whose Career Trajectories Have Been Significantly Impacted by COVID-19

February 8, 2021

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 supported extramural research workforce last fall, indicates legitimate concerns about career trajectory for early career scientists, including those with caretaker responsibilities. An article by Dr. Erin Gibson and her colleagues argued for a “reset” with focus on early career investigators. One point I took away from this paper is that a reset does not necessarily mean for us to go “back to normal” after the pandemic is over, because that time may have favored certain investigators and disfavored others (something I reflected on in this video and this blog).

Hearing your concerns, NIH issued a Guide Notice last week detailing our approach to support early career scientists whose career trajectories may have been significantly affected by the pandemic as funding will allow). Specifically, NIH is providing an opportunity for recipients in their last year of NIH Fellowship (“F”) and NIH Career Development (“K”) awards who have been impacted by COVID-19 to request extensions. Such extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, within the existing constraints of available funding. We encourage you to read the Guide Notice and if appropriate reach out to NIH staff as directed.

Association Between Receiving an Individual Mentored Career Development (K) Award and Subsequent Research Support

April 2, 2019

NIH’s career development K awards intend to help early career scientists become independent. These awards afford the recipient protected time for research, publishing, and generating new ideas. As part of ongoing efforts to take a data driven approach to managing NIH programs, my colleagues within the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce (DBRW) in the Office of Extramural Research sought to determine whether K awards might be achieving this goal, and published their findings in Academic Medicine last December.