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MERIT Award (R37)

Credit: National Cancer Institute

The Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT)(R37) Award provides longer term grant support to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs)* beginning with new, competing awards issued in FY 2018. Eligible investigators may obtain up to seven years of support in two segments:  an initial award of up to five years and an opportunity for an extension of up to two additional years, based on an expedited NCI review of the accomplishments during the initial funding segment.


Investigators may not apply for an ESI MERIT Award. ESI R01 applications that receive a score within the NCI payline for experienced and new investigators are eligible for consideration to be converted to an ESI MERIT Award if all PIs have ESI status at the time of award.

Extension Request Process

The institutional Signing Official or the Authorized Organization Representative will submit the ESI Merit Award extension request to the NCI 18 months prior to the end of the initial project period. The extension request will be reviewed by NCI staff and submitted to NCAB for review and recommendation. If an extension is granted, the ESI MERIT awardee will be notified of the length of time of the extension and the approved budget. If a proposed award does not receive an extension, the ESI MERIT awardee may submit a competing renewal or new research grant application.

ESI MERIT awardees can find more information about the requirements for an ESI MERIT Award Extension Request in the most recent Notice of Award.  

* An Early Stage Investigator is a program director /principal investigator (PD/PI) who has completed his or her terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award. 

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