New and Early Stage Investigators

Entry of new investigators into the ranks of independent, NIH-funded researchers is essential to the health of this country’s biomedical research enterprise. In general, a Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is considered a New Investigator if he/she has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award, and PD/PI is considered an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) if he/she is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent).

Helping investigators transition to independence is a high priority for NIH and an important funding consideration for NINDS. NINDS will fund additional R01 applications from early stage investigators with scores beyond the percentile payline with the aim of supporting these early career scientists at a success rate equivalent to that of established investigators submitting new R01 applications. 

Special awards for new and early-stage Investigators include: Pathway to Independence Award (K99-R00), PA-16-077; the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2); and the NIH Director’s Early Independence award (DP5). Learn more about New and Early Stage Investigator Policies.