Check Out Career Development Opportunity for Early-Career Physician-Scientists

Funding News Edition: February 01, 2023
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If you are an early-stage physician-scientist looking to transition from a researcher role into an independent faculty position, you’re in luck. NIAID reissued the pair of funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) NIAID Physician-Scientist Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00, Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed) and NIAID Physician-Scientist Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00, Clinical Trial Required).

The Physician-Scientist Pathway to Independence Award comprises an initial K99 phase and a second R00 phase. The K99 phase provides support for up to 2 years of mentored postdoctoral research training and career development. In the R00 phase, NIAID will provide up to 2 years of independent research support if the investigator achieves satisfactory progress and obtains an approved, independent, tenure-track position at the end of the K99 phase.

NIAID created this program to increase and maintain the field of new and talented independent physician-scientists; and, in doing so, address the lack of highly trained physician-scientists in the biomedical research field.

Whether or not your research will include a clinical trial will determine to which of the two FOAs you should apply. The FOAs provide guidance if you are unsure whether your proposed research would constitute a clinical trial. If you will serve as the lead investigator of an independent clinical trial, a clinical trial feasibility study, or a separate ancillary clinical trial, apply through the “Clinical Trial Required” FOA. If instead you will propose a research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor only, then apply using the “Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed” FOA.


Interested applicants must have a clinical doctorate degree (e.g., M.D., D.O., D.D.S, D.M.D, V.M.D., or nurses with research doctoral degrees) and no more than 4 years of total aggregate postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or subsequent resubmission application.

You must also be in a non-tenure-track or equivalent position, e.g., be a resident, clinical fellow, instructor, or clinical assistant professor. We strongly encourage you to confirm your eligibility before applying by contacting NIAID’s Office of Research Training and Special Programs (ORTSP).

When preparing your application, make sure to follow instructions in both the SF 424 R&R Application Guide and the FOA through which you apply.

Refer to the FOAs for a list of nonresponsive research areas that will cause NIAID to deem an application nonresponsive and return it without review—most notably, applications that do not propose at least one Specific Aim focused on clinical or translational research are nonresponsive.

Not a U.S. Citizen? That’s Okay

These opportunities do not have a citizenship requirement. This means that you may be a citizen or non-citizen national of the United States, have permanent residency status (Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551), or be a non-U.S. citizen.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen with a temporary U.S. visa, your visa status must allow you to remain in this country for the duration of both the K99 and R00 phases.

Select Your Mentor(s) Carefully

Before submitting your application, take time to find a good mentor (or mentors) who can supervise your proposed career development and experience.

Your mentor should have a successful track record of mentoring people at your career stage as peer reviewers will take this into account as part of the review criteria. Find further advice at Know What to Look for When Choosing a Mentor.

Award Information

For the mentored (K99) phase, NIAID will contribute up to $75,000 plus fringe benefits per year toward the salary of the career award recipient. The total cost for the independent (R00) phase may not exceed $249,000 per year, which includes salary, fringe benefits, research costs, and applicable indirect costs.

The total project period may not exceed 4 years.

Application Deadline

Both FOAs follow NIH Standard Due Dates. The first application deadline for non-AIDS related applications is February 12, 2023, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. The first AIDS-related application deadline is May 7, 2023, again by 5 p.m. local time.

Contact Information

For full details, carefully read the FOAs linked above. If you have further questions, contact ORTSP by emailing

For review-related inquiries, contact Dr. James Snyder, NIAID’s peer review contact, at or 240-669-5060.

Contact Us

Email us at for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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