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Career Development (K) Awards Offered by the NIH – Navigating the Options and Eligibility Requirements

Release Date: December 7, 2016
Category: Scientific Grant Writing
Author: Michelle S., Ph.D., E.L.S.

The K awards constitute a series of opportunities for researchers at various points in their professional careers to obtain funding for all kinds of biomedical, behavioral, and translational research. The purpose and eligibility for these awards is wide ranging; opportunities for career development (K) funding are available for researchers from early-career stages (graduate school and postdoctoral fellowship) into midcareer transitions. Thus, it can be challenging to determine which award is the best fit for your career stage and goals.

We have assembled the most pertinent information for all the different K awards in the table below. K awards that have many participating NIH institutions have a parent announcement, which is added to the table as a link. However, not all K-series fellowships have Parent Announcements. Particularly, those fellowships that have only a few participating institutes do not have Parent Announcements (e.g., K07). Some types of K awards do not have current funding availability, and we have indicated these in gray shading. With all K awards, we encourage you to follow-up on the award that seems most applicable to ensure your eligibility:

Award Title Description Degree/Eligibility Funding/Length Participating Institutes/Agencies
F99/K00 – The NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award To support outstanding, late-stage graduate students with demonstrated potential and interest in a career as an independent researcher by facilitating the successful transition to their postdoctoral position. U.S. citizen or permanent resident; 3rd or 4th year in a mentored PhD or research degree program; No clinical, health-professional, or dual-degree programs Stipend/salary + tuition and fees + travel assistance, up to 6 years (2 years F99 + up to 4 years K00) NCI
K01 – Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award To provide support and protected time for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences, leading to research independence. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-190.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Research or clinical doctorate 3 to 5 years NHLBI, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDA, NIMH, NINR, NCCIH, ORIP

Diversity Opportunity with NHLBI
K02 – Independent Research Scientist Development Award To foster the development of outstanding scientists, and expand their potential to make significant contributions to their field. Designed for newly independent scientists with a need for intensive research focus as a means of enhancing their research career. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-045.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Research or clinical doctorate; Peer-reviewed support Supports salary and fringe benefits, award amount varies by institute, max. 5 years NIA, NIAAA, NICHD, NIDCR, NIDA, NIEHS, NINDS, OBSSR, ODS
K05 – Senior Research Scientist Award Salary and protected time to established researchers to devote effort to basic of clinical research and to act as research mentors to early-stage investigators   N/A No funding opportunity announcement currently available
K07 – Academic Career Development Award To increase the pool of individuals with academic and research expertise to become academic researchers and to enhance the educational or research capacity at the sponsoring institution. Supports junior candidates (development for the postdoctorate/resident) and senior individuals (leadership for the established investigator). U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Research or clinical doctoral degree $100,000 salary + $30,000 research costs, max. 5 years NCI, NIA
K08 – Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award To support individuals with a clinical doctoral degree for intensive, supervised research career development in biomedical, behavioral, or translational research. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-046.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Clinical doctorate Supports salary and fringe benefits, award amount varies by institute, max. 5 years NCI, NEI, NHGRI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIDA, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS, NCCIH, OBSSR, ODS
K18 – Research Career Enhancement Award for Established Investigators To support experienced scientists while they augment or redirect their research programs by acquiring new research skills or knowledge. Supports established investigators. U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Research or clinical doctoral degree; Rank of Associate or full Professor Salary, part- or full-time + up to $25,000 research costs NIDCD, NIDCR
K22 – NIAID/NCI Career Transition Award To facilitate the transition of investigators into independent, productive research careers. This award consists of two phases: initial period of mentored research (Phase I) and a period of independent research at an extramural institution (Phase II). Phase II only awards are available. U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Research or clinical doctoral degree Salary + fringe benefits + $50,000/yr research costs Separate announcements NIAID (PAR-16-434), NCI (PAR-16-293)
K23 – Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award To support individuals with a clinical doctorate degree and a commitment to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented research. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-198.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Clinical doctoral degree; Completed clinical training Supports salary and fringe benefits, award amount varies by institute, max. 5 years NCI, NEI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIDA, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS, NINR, NCCIH
K24 – Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research To support midcareer health-professional doctorates or equivalent who are typically at the Associate Professor level. Supports protected time to devote to patient-oriented research and to act as research mentors. Primarily for clinical residents, clinical fellows and/or junior clinical faculty. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-206.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; clinical doctoral degree; Midcareer stage with peer-reviewed support Salary for 3-6 person-months + 50,000/yr for research expenses, travel, and statistical services NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIDCD, NIDDK, NIDA, NIEHS, NIMH, NINR, NCCIH
K25 – Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award To support quantitative researchers who study NIH-relevant research topics by bringing quantitative science and engineering research to questions of healthy and disease. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-194.html U.S. citizen or permanent resident; with advanced degree (e.g., MSEE, PhD) in a quantitative science or engineering field Salary + fringe benefits + research support costs, varies by institute NCI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIDA, NIEHS, NIGMS, OBSSR, ODS
K26 – Midcareer Investigator Award in Biomedical and Behavioral Research To support established, outstanding, biomedical and behavioral investigators by providing protected time for research and mentoring. U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (or equivalent) N/A No funding opportunity announcement currently available
K43 – Emerging Global Leader Award To provide research support and protected time to a research scientist from a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) in a junior faculty position at an LMIC academic or research institution, leading to an independently funded research career. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-15-292.html
LIMC status as defined by the World Bank: http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/country-and-lending-groups
PD/PI must be an LMIC citizen; masters or doctoral degree; Junior faculty appointment Up to $75,000/yr salary + $30,000/yr research costs FIC, NHGRI, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIMH, NINDS, ORWH, NCI
K76 – Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging To develop talented scientists prepared to take active leadership roles in transformative change of health care, to improve health care outcomes. Investigators should be poised to change theory, practice, and health outcomes related to the health of older individuals. U.S. citizen or permanent resident; Health-professional degree *Must have received competitively award research support as a PD/PI at the faculty level and had leadership responsibilities in the clinical or research domains $225,000 max/yr for 5 years – toward salary and research development costs NIA
K99/R00 – Pathway to Independence Award To facilitate the timely transition from postdoctoral researcher or clinician scientist conducting mentored research to an independent, tenure-track (or equivalent), faculty position. This award helps individuals launch competitive, independent research careers. The R00 phase is contingent on obtaining an appropriate extramural position at an eligible institution. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-042.html U.S. citizen or non-citizen; Clinical or research doctorate; No more than 4 years of postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application or resubmission Total cost of R00 phase may not exceed $249,000; Max. 5 years (2 years K99, max 3 years R00) NCI, NEI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIDA, NIEHS, NIMH, NINDS, NINR, NIMHD, NLM, NCCIH, ORIP, OBSSR, ODS

Closing Remarks

With so many options, it can be daunting to select the K-award to apply for. The easiest way to start narrowing down your options is to match your eligibility to the award, particularly the type of degree(s) and the number of years of post-graduate experience you currently have. Next, consider your research project in context with the mission statement(s) for your target institute(s). Reviewing mission statements will help you to find the institute(s) that are most appropriate to fund your project. Next, ensure that the institute/agency to which you plan to submit your project participates in your desired funding mechanism. To assist with that step, review the summary table above, or visit the NIH “K Kiosk” at https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/career-development. This website allows you to select search criteria and narrows the options based on your eligibility.

Best of luck with your pursuit of research funding!

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