Yes. Be sure to describe the nature of the disruption to your research in your ESI extension request. We suggest you submit the request once you know how much research time was lost, unless your upcoming application deadline is imminent and an ESI extension is urgently needed. In this case you would be able to submit another extension once you know the full extent of the time lost. Check out this handy chart that breaks down what can or cannot impact your ESI status.
In December 2018, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) offered a number of recommendations to NIH on the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative.” Among those: The Committee recommended “special funding consideration for “at-risk” investigators. These are researchers who developed meritorious applications who would not have significant NIH research funding if the application under consideration is not awarded. We plan to draw more attention this year, both inside and outside NIH, to outcomes for at-risk investigators, to ensure those submitting meritorious ideas to NIH are not lost to the system.
NIH recognizes that a lot can happen to interrupt the ten-year eligibility window of your Early Stage Investigator (ESI) status, such as family care responsibilities, military service, medical concerns, and more. While you may currently request an extension of that ten-year period by completing an Extension Request Form, the process for requesting an extension of ESI status will soon be moving to the eRA Commons.