NIH Director's New Innovator Award Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

1.  What is the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

2.  What distinguishes this award from traditional NIH grants?

3.  How does the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award program differ from other awards in the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program?

4.  How many awards will be made?

5.  Are women and members of underrepresented minority groups encouraged to apply?

6.  Will another funding opportunity be available next year?

7.  Can someone at NIH review my idea and let me know if it is a good fit for this award?

8.  What is the competition timeline?

Eligibility Requirements

1.  What is the definition of an Early Stage Investigator?

2.  How can I ensure I have Early Stage Investigator status?

3.  Are there exceptions to the 10-year time period that would allow me to extend my Early Stage Investigator status?

4.  What is meant by “independent research position?”

5.  Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

6.  May I apply from a foreign institution?

7.  Are investigators at small businesses eligible to apply?

8.  Are individuals employed by government agencies, non-academic, and/or for-profit organizations eligible?

9.  Are scientists in the NIH intramural program eligible?

10.  Are postdoctoral fellows eligible to apply?

11.  If I begin my first independent research position at a new institution after applications are due, should I apply from my current institution or my new one?

12.  Am I still eligible if I've had a K award?

13.  Am I still eligible if I had an R01 several years ago but have no R01 now?

14.  Am I still considered an Early Stage Investigator if I took over as the Principal Investigator on an R01 grant awarded to someone else?

15.  Am I still eligible to apply if I am the PI on an R21 grant?

16.  Am I still eligible if I am awarded an NIH R01 grant after submitting my NIH Director’s New Innovator Award application but before awards are made?

17.  If awarded an NIH R01 or equivalent grant before the NIH Director's New Innovator Awards are made, can I cancel the pending award to accept the NIH Director's New Innovator Award?

18.  Can I apply to other funding opportunities at the same time as the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

19.  Am I still eligible if I'm an Early Stage Investigator but have an R01 application pending?

20.  Does the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award remove your Early Stage Investigator status?

21.  May I apply to another funding opportunity with the same area of research while the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is pending?

22.  Am I eligible if I have significant non-NIH sources of support?

23.  If I received an RC1, RC2, or GO grant, am I still eligible to apply for a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

24.  Can I apply to other NIH Director's New Innovator Award funding opportunities?

25.  Can two or more Early Stage Investigators apply as a team?

26.  What scientific areas are eligible under the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

27.  Will technology development be allowed or just hypothesis-driven research?

28.  How much time/effort are recipients expected to devote?

29.  Does the effort requirement only apply to research time or total time, which includes teaching, administrative, and clinical duties?

30.  Can I work with a collaborator in a foreign country, and would I be able conduct research there?

31.  Is research conducted in a foreign country allowed?

Application & Submission

1.  What are the important dates for applications?

2.  Will late applications be accepted?

3.  Can I receive a submission extension if serving as an NIH peer reviewer or in an NIH Advisory Group?

4.  Is a letter of intent (LOI) required to apply for this award?

5.  What must be done before I submit an application to

6.  Where can I find help registering for

7.  Where can I find help in submitting my application to

8.  Where can I find help in registering for the eRA Commons?

9.  How should documents be formatted?

10.  Is there a limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by an institution?

11.  Can I submit Letters of Reference?

12.  Can I submit Letters of Support from collaborators?

13.  What is needed to demonstrate institutional commitment?

14.  What is the purpose of designating two Areas of Science?

15.  Where do I designate the Areas of Science for my application?

16.  What are the Areas of Science?

17.  May I designate more than two Areas of Science?

18.  Can someone at the NIH help me select the my Areas of Science?

19.  Are detailed budgets required?

20.  Does the ten-page essay replace the traditional “Research Plan?”

21.  How should I structure the 10-page essay, and should I include Specific Aims?

22.  Are citations (references) allowed?

23.  Are figures and illustrations allowed in the essay?

24.  May I include movies, either as a link to a website or as a CD, with my application?

25.  Where should the effort commitment statement be provided?

26.  May I include additional information in an appendix?

27.  May I submit new data after submitting my application?

28.  What documents are needed for the application?

29.  Can I revise and resubmit if my application is not funded?


1.  How is the budget request for this award mechanism different from other NIH grants?

2.  How much can be requested?

3.  How do I put together a budget request?

4.  Do NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards provide indirect costs?

5.  May my collaborator be funded on my NIH Director’s New Innovator Award?

6.   Can the project period be for less than five years?

8.  Why are the budget period and project period for this grant mechanism the same?

9.  Are NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards renewable?

10.  Can awards be transferred if I change institutions?

Review & Selection

1.  How will awardees be selected?

2.  Will the reviewers be experts in the topic of my application?

3.  What criteria will be used to evaluate applications?

4.  Which review criteria will be emphasized?

5.  Will I receive a summary statement or other comments?

6.  What does my priority score mean, and why haven’t I received a percentile?

7.  Will the outside expert peer reviewer roster be posted on the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award website?

8.  May I request to exclude a specific reviewer with whom I have a conflict of interest?

9.  When will the awardees be announced?

10.  Can the decision of the panel of reviewers be appealed?

Award Administration

1.  What requirements must I fulfill during the term of the award?

2.  How will the award be administered?

3.  Do I need to submit an annual progress report?

4.  Should I mention support from the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in journal articles?

5.  Should I notify the NIH of any note-worthy publications or media coverage of my research?

6.  Am I required to submit my journal manuscripts to PubMed Central?

7.  Are there annual meetings I am required to attend?

8.  Are the awards renewable?

9.  Is it possible to request a no-cost extension at the end of the grant period if there are unexpended funds?

10.  Is the award transferable if I change institutions?

This page last reviewed on September 18, 2017