The NIDCD is committed to the Next Generation Researchers Initiative policy to fund more early career investigators and to enhance biomedical research workforce diversity. The NIDCD has procedures and funding policies that allow prioritization of awards to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs). Under these policies, ESIs with a competitive R01 application with a percentile that is outside of, but close to, the NIDCD funding payline are encouraged to provide a written response to the comments in the summary statement. Questions regarding the payline and the letter’s format, page limitations, and content should be directed to the program officer indicated on the summary statement. This written response is reviewed by NIDCD program staff and provided to the NDCD Advisory Council, and the application is considered for special funding within the same review cycle.