K99/R00 awards and the NIH New Innovator Award-UPDATED

So, I was exploring the options for the New Innovator Award pre-application, and saw the following text in the 'Eligibility' section that gave me some concern:

"PDs/PIs must meet the definition of “new investigator.”... Current or past recipients of K awards are eligible except for the following: K99/R00 or other Independent Scientist and other non-mentored career awards (K02, K04, K05, K24, and K26)."

This concerned me a lot, because while they said we'll still be considered 'new investigators,' one of the the things I have been worried about is that this won't really turn out to be the case, and the K99/R00 might be secretly/under-the-table causing us to be considered 'well-funded' in that against-the-rules kind of way. This seemed like an affirmation of that potential shift in attitude about it, and that worried me.

BUT it turns out that after more discussion, they at NIH decided that they had gone the wrong way on that issue. I emailed the program director of the New Innovator award, and got a really reassuring response: they changed their minds on that and they will be updating the PA soon. So apply away this Dec/Jan, Kangarooers!

UPDATE: It's official! http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-RM-09-004.html

BTW: There are finally some metrics showing up on these awards, some discussion here. They also totally stole some of my assertions about how good a K99/R00 application can be for you even if you don't get it! 😛 Heh.

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