There has been a lot of focus on early stage investigator (ESI) extension requests in the community recently. And we certainly understand why. The experience of the COVID-19 public health emergency has brought into sharp focus that the effects of the pandemic on careers and life in general may continue for years to come. This fact has led us to revisit our approach to granting ESI extension requests.
Take a few minutes and join us for this NIH All About Grants podcast mini-series on Early Stage Investigators (ESIs). In part 1 of this two-part conversation, we touch on NIH’s interest in supporting ESIs, who is and is not an ESI, the benefits afforded to ESIs, and more. We discuss extending one’s ESI status in part 2.
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.