NEI Support for New Investigators
The NEI strongly encourages traditional research project grant (R01) applications from new investigators. Our capacity to advance vision research and to improve the vision health of the American people requires the nurturing, education, training, recruitment, and employment of cadres of new investigators. Therefore, NEI staff is encouraged to identify and give special consideration to new investigators in making funding recommendations.
The NIH considers you a new investigator if you have never been a Principal Investigator on a Public Health Service-supported research project other than the following:
R03 Small Grant
R15 Academic Research Enhancement Awards
R21 Exploratory/Developmental Grant
K01, K08, K22, K23, K25.mentored career development awards for persons at the beginning of their research career
When applying for independent grant support, it is to your advantage to identify yourself as a new investigator. This should be done both in the checkbox on section 3 of the application face page and in the Biosketch.
NIH policy requires that applicants be evaluated in a manner appropriate for the stage of their careers. Review guidelines indicate that reviewers should keep in mind the experience of and the resources available to the new investigator. Specifically, when considering:
Approach: more emphasis should be placed on feasibility than on preliminary results
Investigator: more emphasis should be placed on training and research potential than on track record and number of applications
Environment: more emphasis should be placed on evidence of institutional commitment in terms of space and time to perform the research.
The NIH Office of Extramural Research maintains a website which provides updated information regarding policies, resources, and data related to new investigators, and which offers advice in preparing a first application for NIH support. This is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/
Special Initiatives for New Investigators
The NIH Center for Scientific Review has announced a new policy to shorten the review cycle for new investigators who have submitted R01 grant applications. Details regarding this initiative are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-083.html. You may contact any member of the NEI Division of Extramural Research staff at 301-451-2020 with questions.
The NIH has recently announced the NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program. This initiative provides DP2 grant support up to $1.5M direct costs for a five-year period to new investigators of exceptional creativity who propose highly innovative, high impact research. Additional information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-07-009.html
NEI supports two programs designed to facilitate a timely transition from a mentored postdoctoral research position to a stable, independent research position. The NEI Career Transition Award (K22) provides three years of mentored career development training in the NEI Intramural Research Program, followed by two years of research support at an extramural institution. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-04-136.html The NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00) provides one to two years of mentored postdoctoral research at an extramural institution, followed by up to three years of independent support. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-07-297.html