BOX 2-3 Guidelines for Reviewers of New Investigator R01s

“New investigators are important to the future of biomedical research. In order to provide new investigators maximum freedom in identifying the level and period of support needed for the work they are planning and thus enhance their opportunities to establish careers in research, NIH has announced a new policy. Under this policy, new investigators are encouraged to submit traditional research project grant (R01) applications, which will be identified as being from new investigators. First Independent Research and Transition (FIRST; R29) award applications are no longer accepted (effective June 1998). A new investigator is one who has not previously served as such on any PHS-supported research project other than a small grant (R03), an Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15), an exploratory/developmental grant (R21), or certain research career awards directed principally to physicians, dentists, or veterinarians at the beginning of their research career (K01, K08, K22, and K23). Current or past recipients of Independent Scientist and other nonmentored career awards (K02 and K04) are not considered new investigators.

New investigators are typically less experienced in the preparation of applications and expression of their research plans. To ensure fair reviews for new investigators, the NIH has revised application forms to allow new investigators to indicate this status and thus ensure that reviewers can readily identify applications that are submitted by new investigators. The biosketch should also be used to identify new investigators. All applicants should be evaluated in a manner appropriate for the present stage in their careers.

IMPLEMENTATION: When reviewing these applications, reviewers should keep in mind the experience of and the resources available to the new investigator. When considering an application from a new investigator the five new review criteria must be evaluated in a manner appropriate to the expectations for and problems likely to be faced by a new investigator. Specifically, when considering:

Approach: more emphasis should be placed on demonstrating that the techniques/approaches are feasible than on preliminary results.

Investigator: more emphasis should be placed on their training and their research potential than on their track record and number of publications.

Environment: there should be some evidence of institutional commitment in terms of space and time to perform the research.”


From: 2, Where Are We Now?

Cover of Bridges to Independence
Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research.
National Research Council (US) Committee on Bridges to Independence: Identifying Opportunities for and Challenges to Fostering the Independence of Young Investigators in the Life Sciences.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005.
Copyright © 2005, National Academy of Sciences.

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