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Career Development Awards, K Series

Lead Author: Tom Mitchell

Types of Mentored Career Development Awards

  • There are a number of different mentored K awards that individuals with a research or health professional doctorate should consider.
  • Most of these awards support individuals after they have completed training and are transitioning to a faculty position.


  • Mentored Research Scientist Development Award: provides career development in a new area of research.
  • International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA): provides U.S. scientists with the opportunity to embark/enhance research careers related to global health.

K08 and K12

  • K08: Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award: development of the independent clinical research scientist.
  • K12: Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Program Award: support for an institution for the development of independent clinical scientists.

K23 and K25

  • K23: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award: Development of the independent research scientist in a clinical arena.
  • K25: Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award: To foster interdisciplinary collaboration in biomedical research by supporting career development experiences for scientists with quantitative and engineering backgrounds.


  • K99/R00: NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award: Provides an opportunity for promising post-doctoral scientists to receive both mentored and independent research support from the same award.

General Tips on Mentored K Awards

  • Understand the intent of the mentored K award.
  • To help promising new investigators achieve independence as clinical investigators (i.e., to compete successfully for R01 funding).
  • Therefore, preparing for the R01 grant application that you will submit at the end of the K award should be the organizing principle of the K grant application.

Make a compelling argument as to why you need a K award

  • Explain exactly how additional training and mentored research experience will enable you to compete successfully for R01 funding.
  • Be specific: give concrete examples of areas where you need additional training/experience in order to conduct the proposed research or areas where you are deficient that are directly related to your research career goals.

Develop a career development plan that is uniquely suited to you.

  • Given your previous training and research experience, and your short- and long-term career goals, propose a mix of didactic training and "hands- on" research experience that makes perfect sense for you (and only you).
  • Degree-granting programs (e.g., MPH) are appropriate for candidates with little or no previous formal training in clinical research, but even these programs should be "customized" whenever possible.

General Tips on Mentored K Awards (cont’d)

  • For candidates with substantial previous formal training in clinical research, a plan that emphasizes “hands-on” research experience is appropriate. *Reviewers expect you to fully exploit the training resources available to you.

Parts of a K Grant Application

  • 4 main sections of the grant application:
    • 1) The Candidate (See below)
    • 2) Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and Collaborators (See below)
    • 3) Environment and Institutional Commitment to Candidate (See below)
    • 4) Research Plan (See below)
  • Plus: 3 sealed letters of recommendation

Writing a Competitive Mentored K Award Grant Application

After Submitting

Topic revision: r8 - 01 Aug 2011 - 12:51:59 - MaryBanach

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