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Career Development Grants

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Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

General Questions

Progress Reporting

Mentored Awards (K01, K08, K23, K25)

NIAID Career Transition Awards (K22)

Midcareer Investigator Awards in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)

Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00)

General Questions

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Where can I find basic information about career awards?

Find information and advice on our Training and Career portal and Advice on Research Training and Career Awards tutorial.

Should I submit my application electronically?

Yes. See the Career Development Grants SOP for more information. Also read the next question.

Who submits my reference letters to the eRA Commons?

People writing your reference letters submit them to the eRA Commons. As the applicant, you can check the status of letters, but you may not read them since they are confidential.

For further details, including information you should give to those writing your reference letters, read the supplemental instructions for K awards in part 7 of the SF 424 Application Guide.

Can foreign investigators apply for career development grants?

To be eligible for most career development awards, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident See Are there citizenship or residency requirements for any of these awards? on Training and Career Awards and Fellowships questions and answers.

Can I get a career development grant to continue my postdoc in a foreign country?

No. Foreign institutions may not receive funding for career development awards.

However, you may qualify for an NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32), which allows for training abroad if you can't get comparable training in the U.S. To see if this is an appropriate alternative, read the Fellowships section of our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Office of Research Training and Special Programs at AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov.

Does NIH's public access policy apply to career development awards?

Yes. For more information, read the Public Access of Publications SOP.

Do I need to include a plan for instruction in responsible research conduct?

Yes. Read the Responsible Conduct of Research: Training SOP for more information.

Can I send in materials post-submission?

Yes. Learn more at Sending Materials Post-Submission in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

If my K application is approved for funding, when would be the earliest start date?

This depends on the application submission date. See the Review and Award Cycles table; however, keep in mind this process may take longer.

May I submit an application for a new, independent clinical trial?

No. NIAID will not accept K-series applications proposing to conduct new, independent clinical trials.

May I apply for two Ks simultaneously?

No. NIH allows you to have only one career development application pending peer review at any time. That means you may not apply for two career development grants simultaneously or apply for a career development award while another career development application awaits review.

In the latter case, you have to wait until the review is complete or withdraw the first application before you can submit your next one.

For details, read the eligibility section of the K funding opportunity announcement you're considering.

What does "nine person month minimum effort" mean?

Most K awards require a nine person month time commitment. Thus, you can devote up to three person months of your time to clinical and other duties and get paid for it but not from federal funds. The K24 requires three to six person months of effort.

See Understanding Award Specifics and NIH's Usage of Person Months questions and answers for more information.

Can I reduce my appointment to part-time?

Yes. Read the Career Development Grants SOP for details on this and other adjustments.

Can I have my salary supplemented from other sources if I receive a career award?

Yes. Your institution may supplement the NIH contribution up to a level consistent with its salary scale; however, it cannot use federal funds.

Can I pay for a technician on a career award?

Yes. These expenses are allowed from the research development support costs.

If I move to another institution, can a career award be transferred?

Yes. A career award may be transferred to another institution depending upon the circumstances. First, you must get approval from NIAID. Contact your program officer and grants management specialist as early as possible for instructions on what documents are required to request a transfer.

Progress Reporting

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Do I need to include a sponsor's report in my progress report?

Yes. For mentored awards, your progress report must a Mentor's Report with feedback from your sponsor.

Read more at Progress Reports for Career Development Awards in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

Should I include a budget in my progress report?

No. Career awards do not require a budget.

Do I need to submit an Inclusion Enrollment Form in my progress report?

You must provide the Inclusion Enrollment form only if you participated in research involving human subjects not reported in the progress report of another PHS-supported project.

If you are conducting clinical research, you must report the annual cumulative enrollment of subjects and their distribution by sex/gender and ethnicity/race using the Inclusion Enrollment Report. The Inclusion Enrollment Report is not included in the two-page summary limit.

How do I submit my progress report?

Unless otherwise noted in your Notice of Award, send progress reports through the eRA Commons using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

Learn more at Progress Reports for Career Development Awards in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

Mentored Awards (K01, K08, K23, K25)

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Do you have advice for physician-scientists interested in a mentored K award?

Yes. Read Advice on Mentored Career Development Awards.

Does obtaining a mentored K award have an impact on investigators' careers?

Yes. An NIH evaluation of K01s, K08s, and K23s shows that securing a mentored K award can have positive effects on an investigator's publication record and subsequent receipt of NIH grants. For the full scoop, read the 2011 report NIH Individual Mentored Career Development Awards Program.

Can I apply for and receive an R01 after I receive a K01, K08, K23, or K25? May I then hold these awards simultaneously? What about salary?

In the last two years of your support, you are allowed to hold concurrent salary support from a career award and any peer-reviewed grant from NIH or another federal agency. To learn more, go to Career Development Awards and read Do any career awards allow you to receive a salary from a second NIH-funded grant? in the Salaries and Stipends questions and answers.

If I apply for and receive an R21, am I still eligible to apply for a mentored K award?

Yes. You can apply for a mentored career development award—K01, K08, K23, or K25—if you receive an exploratory/developmental research (R21) grant.

Keep in mind, however, that if you receive a mentored K award, you cannot get a salary from the R21 until the last two years of the K award. In addition, you need to devote nine person months to the research proposed in your career award. For help, see NIH's Usage of Person Months questions and answers.

Can I name more than one sponsor or mentor for my K01, K08, K23, or K25? Who would sign as my sponsor?

Yes. You can name more than one sponsor. Generally, the more senior sponsor should sign as your sponsor.

For a mentored K award (K01, K08, K23, or K25), what determines where my application is assigned: my mentor's field of research or mine?

To assign your application, the Division of Receipt and Referral in NIH's Center for Scientific Review will look at your field of research not your mentor's. That said, you and your mentor should share research interests since your mentor must be an accomplished investigator in your proposed research area.

If your research is related to infectious, immunologic, or allergic diseases, your application would come to NIAID. However, if your focus is on gastroenterology, for example, your application would go to NIDDK.

Another good indication of where your application will be assigned: who provides your mentor's funding. If he or she has grant awards from NIAID, your application will likely be assigned here.

I work in the field of biodefense. Does NIAID award K01s for research in my area?

No. NIAID is providing K01 awards only to investigators in the fields of epidemiology, modeling techniques, and outcomes research.

Is there an age limit to apply for a K01, and must I be within a certain number of years of finishing my Ph.D.?

No. We have no limits for either. However, please note that NIAID supports K01 applications only for research in epidemiology, modeling techniques, and outcomes research. For more information, go to Career Development Awards.

As an associate professor with seven years of postdoctoral experience, am I eligible for a K01?

For the Research Scientist Development Award (K01), you need to be a clinician or Ph.D. in the fields of epidemiology and outcomes research and must have had independent research experience after earning your degree.

Except the K99/R00, all K awards require either U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status (Alien Registration Receipt Card, Form I-551). People on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

For details, go to the following:

For additional information, contact our Office of Research Training and Special Programs at AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov.

I have a clinical assistant supported by a K01. Can I use R01 funding to supplement their salary?

Yes. You may pay for part of a clinical assistant's salary with funds from an R01 grant. However, work performed for the R01 project must be distinct from work performed for the K01, and the total effort for all support must not exceed 12 calendar months.

This is different from the PI requirements. As a PI on a K01 award, you must devote a minimum of 75 percent effort and receive no more than $75,000 plus fringe benefits each year. If your salary is such that $75,000 doesn’t cover 75 percent effort, your institution may supplement the NIH contribution using non-NIH, non-PHS funding. K01 research expenses for technical personnel cannot exceed $25,000.

I currently have a K01. Can I apply for a grant from a private source and still maintain my K award?

Yes, but your effort on the new grant cannot exceed three person months. The K01 requires a minimum of nine person months, meaning you must devote at least 75 percent of your professional time to the K01 project. Also, you will need NIAID approval if you plan to reduce your current effort level.

You cannot receive concurrent salary support from another NIH or other federal agency award until you have only two years remaining on your K award.

What is the amount I can receive for research development support for a K08?

See Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards.

Is human subjects research excluded from K08s?

No. K08s do not exclude humans subjects research. However, if you are interested in patient-oriented research, you may want to consider the Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23).

Is the K08 open to veterinarians?

Yes. Anyone with a clinical doctorate level degree can apply.

For a K08, does NIAID require a professional license to practice in the U.S.?

Yes. For other eligibility requirements, go to Career Development Awards in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards. Note that other institutes may have different requirements.

May I apply for a K23 and an STTR at the same time?

As long as your work for the K23 is different in scope than the STTR, you can apply for both, according to the Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23) program announcement. 

If I'm awarded a K23 grant, when would be the earliest I could apply for an R21?

You may get salary support from an R21 during the final two years of your K23—but since it can take from five to 18 months after the receipt date to get an award (three months less for AIDS applications), consider applying well before then.

Read more about timing your application at Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award and Strategy Timelines in the Strategy for NIH Funding. An R21 has the same timeline as an R01, just a different receipt date.

For a K23 resubmission, must my letters of reference be new?

Those who write your letters may use the originals but should update them. They'll also need to submit them again through the eRA Commons. For more on this aspect, see Who submits my reference letters to the eRA Commons? above.

I am applying for a K23 grant and meet the current training qualifications for responsible conduct of research. Could you tell me if my responsible conduct of research plan for continued training is appropriate?

This is a peer review issue, so we can't comment on what reviewers would determine as acceptable. However, you may want to read the section on Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research in the Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) program announcement.

We cover the points your plan must address in our Responsible Conduct of Research: Training SOP.

If you have additional questions, contact our Office of Research Training and Special Programs at AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov.

Is a medical license required for a K23 award?

Yes, NIAID requires that you have a medical license for a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23).

During a no-cost extension of a K23, what is the requirement for the PI's effort?

Though PIs have done their part leading up to the no-cost extension and won't receive additional salary from us, they must maintain any effort minimum. If they reduce their effort during the no-cost extension, they must receive prior approval from their grants management specialist. For more on this, read the Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP.

NIAID Career Transition Awards (K22)

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Can you apply for a K22 after you've taken a position as an assistant professor?

No. You must be a postdoctoral scientist at the time you apply. For more information, see our Career Development Awards and Advice for Applicants tutorial pages.

I will apply for a K22 from one institution but will work as an assistant professor elsewhere—which institution should send the application?

Your authorized organizational representative at your current institute should submit the application since you'll be a postdoc there when you apply.

Enter your current institution as the institution on your cover sheet.

In the application's resources available section, include information on your assistant professorship. Once you receive a fundable score and submit the phase II application, you'll provide the name of the institution where you will be a faculty member.

If you need guidance on writing your application, read Writing a Career Development Award Application in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards. Also, make sure you know about Details of Career Development Application Changes (PDF).

Who is eligible to apply for a K22?

See Career Development Awards and Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards.

For details, read the NIAID Career Transition Award (K22) funding opportunity announcement.

What is the application process for K22s?

The K22 application process has two steps. For step 1, applicants apply electronically using the K22 Grant Application Package. If an application gets a fundable score, the investigator will receive a letter of conditional commitment for funding and will have one year to search for a suitable faculty position.

After hiring negotiations are complete, the candidate and sponsoring/hiring institution will complete step 2 of the application process, which consists of completing certain items of a PHS 398 application. The overall quality of the package will be carefully assessed. Institutional commitment of resources and protected lab time will be very important factors.

NIAID staff will evaluate the application materials submitted in step 2 of the application process and, if satisfactory, an award will be made. For more information on awards, see Understanding Award Specifics.

For further details on the application process, read about the NIAID Career Transition Award (K22).

Are no-cost extensions allowed for K22s?

Since K22s are awarded under Expanded Authorities and Federal Demonstration Partnership, you can extend the final year once for up to 12 months. For more information, see the No-Cost Extension SOP.

The extension request has to go through your grantee institution's approval process. Any additional extensions require NIAID prior approval.

Is a medical license required for a K22 award?

No, not for a NIAID Career Transition Award (K22).

Midcareer Investigator Awards in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

During the time of my K24, I was promoted to full professor. May I apply for a renewal?

Yes. If you were promoted from associate professor to full professor during the the course of your initial award, you are eligible to apply for a renewal K24.

May I use my K24 award to meet the cost sharing requirement for other federal awards?

It depends on the cost sharing requirements of the other federal agency. Check with the agency that requires the cost sharing to see if there are any restrictions.

Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00)

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

What is the Pathway to Independence Award?

The Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) Award is an NIH program to help promising postdoctoral scientists achieve research independence earlier in their career. The PI Award provides up to five years of support, divided into two phases:

  • Phase I provides one to two years of mentored support under a K99 mechanism.
  • Phase II provides up to three years of independent research support under an R00 mechanism.

Note that NIAID gives preference to applicants requesting three years of support—one year for the K99 and two for the R00—instead of the five years that NIH allows. We also make very few awards.

For more information, see the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00) and read our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards tutorial. Also see our Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP and NIH's Pathway to Independence Award FAQs.

For the K99, what funds are used to support NIH intramural scientists?

Funds will come from the intramural lab in which they'll be conducting research.

By the time I submit my K99/R00 application, I'll have five years and a few days of postdoc experience. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. Though the initial K99 mentored phase requires less than five years' postdoc experience, we may give applicants some leeway if they exceed the limit by a few days. For details, see our Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP and contact AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov for advice before applying.

Note: starting with the February 12, 2014, receipt date, the limit for postdoc experience will be reduced to four years. For further details, including how this change affects resubmissions, see our Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP.

Is travel an allowable expense on an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) application and can the funds allocated for travel be used for research support if travel plans change?

Travel is an allowable expense, and yes, you may reallocate funds if travel plans change.

For more information, see Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00).

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Try our central page for Career Development Awards (K), Advice on Research Training and Career Awards tutorial, Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards tool, and the main Training and Career Awards and Fellowships questions and answers page.

If you still can't find the answer, email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated September 22, 2014

Last Reviewed August 30, 2013