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NIAID Career Transition Award (K22)

Applicant Profile

To apply, you must be a biomedical or behavioral postdoctoral scientist with a research doctorate (Ph.D.) and/or clinical doctorate (e.g., M.D., D.V.M.), with no more than five years of postdoctoral training experience at the time of K22 submission or resubmission with plans to transition to a full-time assistant professorship (tenure-track or equivalent) at an U.S. academic institution.

The following circumstances are not considered part of the five-year eligibility limit:

  • Parental leave or other well-justified leave for personal or family situations (e.g., family care responsibilities, disability or illness, active military duty) of generally less than 12 months duration.
    • NIAID will grant a 1-year extension due to childbirth during the eligibility period. 
  • Time spent conducting postgraduate clinical training or other well-justified training that does not involve research.
  • Time spent gaining select agent approval and completing biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) training.

Applicants beyond the five year limit on postdoctoral eligibility: Email to seek approval to submit a proposal beyond the five-year postdoctoral eligibility. Approval is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Note: If you are not affiliated with an organization, you may still apply to the NIAID K22 program. Read NIH’s Special Registration Instructions for Unaffiliated/Independent Applicants PDF.

Notices of Funding Opportunities

Search for NIAID K22 Funding Opportunities to get a current list. 


The K22 is a biphasic program.

Phase I

In Phase I, submit a K22 application that includes your Career Development Plan, Research Plan, current environment and institutional support, and letters of recommendation.

The research plan should include a description of the research conducted and to be completed during the candidate's tenure as a postdoctoral researcher (Phase I) and a detailed description of the research planned after the activation of the K22 award when the candidate secures an independent research position (Phase II).

Within a year of receiving an approval letter from NIAID, you must obtain an offer of a tenure-track (or equivalent) assistant professorship at an eligible academic institution. Having the K22 can help with this—it shows your ability to obtain NIAID funding for an independent research project.

Note that you will become ineligible for Phase II of the K22 if you accept an offer for an independent position prior to receiving an approval letter for Phase I of the K22 from NIAID. 

You must submit the following updated information to NIAID to activate the Phase II award: 

  •  A detailed budget, resources, and career development plan. 
  • Phase II qualifications: Position offer is for a tenure-track (or equivalent) assistant professorship, space, facilities, resources, and other support needed to conduct the proposed research, including 75% protected research time. 

Candidates are encouraged to reach out to their NIAID Program Officer and Grants Specialist to discuss their Phase II package prior to submission.

NIAID will not accept K22 applications proposing an independent clinical trial. Learn more at Clinical Trials and NIAID Research Career Development (K) Opportunities.

Also check our Application Advice for Research Career Development (K) Awards.

Award Specifics

Phase II

Duration of two years, not renewable.

Direct costs of $150,000 in the first year and $100,000 in the second year. Up to $50,000 of the award can be spent on the PI's salary each year (exclusive of fringe benefits); the remainder is at the PI’s discretion to use the award per the research described in the application. (Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistants, and the like is not allowed). If funds are not needed for the PI’s salary support, they may be used for research expenses.

Facilities and administrative costs based on eight percent of modified total direct costs.

Minimum nine person months (or 75 percent) effort required each year. Learn more about Percent Effort and Concurrent Salary Support for Research Career Development (K) Awards.

More Information

Learn more on the NIAID Research Career Development (K) Awards main page.

Email your questions to

Our Office of Research Training and Special Programs staff can advise you on your eligibility for a particular K program and whether your proposed research aligns with NIAID. Send us your NIH-formatted biosketch and Specific Aims page. Learn more at Create Biosketches and Draft Specific Aims.

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