Washington Update

NIH Issues New Childcare Support Notice, Revision of Extension for ESIs

By: Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm
Thursday, October 14, 2021

National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a notice indicating that childcare cost support for full-time predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees funded through a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grant is anticipated to begin in fiscal year (FY) 2022. Eligible trainees may receive up to $2,500 per budget period for childcare costs provided by a licensed childcare provider. This effort aligns institutional NRSA awardees with individual NRSA fellows that began receiving this childcare cost support in FY 2021.

Additionally, NIH recently revised limitations for extension requests of early-stage investigator (ESI) status. Formerly, NIH would not approve ESI extensions requested during a previous extension period. However, with recognition that life, and potential disruption, does not happen sequentially, NIH updated this policy. Now, those who are already on an extension may request an additional extension should circumstances require. The official ESI FAQ has been updated to reflect this revision. Common extension request reasons include childbirth, medical concerns, family care responsibilities, natural disasters, military service, extended periods of clinical training, and disability. A one-year extension for childbirth within the ESI period is automatically approved; all other ESI extension requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.