NIH will consider your career stage if

A New Investigator is someone who has not previously received substantial independent funding from NIH; having received an award for training (such as a fellowship or K award) does not disqualify one for New Investigator status. New Investigators are funded according to the funding institute’s programmatic interests.

An Early Stage Investigator is a New Investigator who is within 10 years of completing the terminal research degree or within 10 years of completing medical residency or equivalent. It is possible to get exceptions for interruptions in your career due to the birth of a child and other situations. ESI applications with meritorious scores will be prioritized for funding.

If you are early in your career you might also be able to participate in our Early Career Reviewer program. Participation can give you insights that are likely to improve your ability to compete for a research grant.