NOT-OD-19-125 serves to inform the extramural community of a change in the procedure for requesting an extension of early stage investigator (ESI) eligibility.

NIH defines ESI as a Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial independent NIH research award.

During the 10 year ESI period, some investigators may experience a lapse in their research/research training or less than full-time effort. NIH will consider requests for extension of the ESI period for reasons such as family care responsibilities, medical concerns, disability, natural disasters, and active duty military service.

Effective August 22, 2019, the ESI Extension request button became available in the Education section of the PD/PI’s eRA Commons Personal Profile. When selected, the system will provide text fields for a justification of the extension and the ability to upload PDFs of supporting documentation. The request will be review by the ESI Extension Committee and if approved, a new ESI end date will appear in the Education section of the PD/PI’s eRA Commons Personal Profile.  With the introduction of the new ESI Extension process, the prior Extension Request form and portal was retired.

Note: other aspects of the ESI Extension process remain unchanged. See Early Stage Investigator FAQs for more information.