New and Early Stage Investigators

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.

Learn more about grants application by listening to our Podcast NINDS's Building Up the Nerve.

Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Program FAQ Video Series

Program Director Dr. Glen Nuckolls and Health Program Specialist Dr. Maripierre Surpris answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant in this brief video series.

Dr. Glen Nuckolls introduces the Katz Program Funding Opportunity Announcements, PAR-21-038 and PAR-21-039.


Learn about the requirements for describing how your proposal includes a significant change in research direction.


Your Katz Program application may not include preliminary data. Dr. Nuckolls explains the rules about what can and cannot be included in your application.


Dr. Glen Nuckolls provides guidance on selecting your specific aims and preparing your research plan.

Please visit these links for additional information:


Dr. Maripierre Surpris explains how scientific rigor and transparency should be addressed in your application. For additional information, visit: Guidance: Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications


Dr. Surpris explains budget considerations during review and award process, including modular and non-modular budgets.


Learn about the peer review and award decision process. For additional information, visit these webpages: