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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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, K22 applicants have an extension of eligibility to the normal five-year limit described above. Learn more in NOT-AI-21-062 and the July 21, 2021 NIAID Funding News article “Postdocs—Eligibility Extended for K22 and K99/R00 Due to COVID-19.”

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.
  • 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.

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.

Funding Opportunity Announcement

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

Award Specifics

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.


The K22 is a biphasic program.

In the first phase, submit a K22 application that includes your curriculum vitae detailing your career goals, Research Plan, and three letters of recommendation.

Within a year of receiving a fundable score, you must obtain an offer of a tenure-track (or equivalent) assistant professorship at an eligible academic institution. Just having the K22 can help with this—it shows you can already get NIAID funding on your own.

To qualify for the second phase, you'll need to show that your position offers an assistant professorship, your own laboratory, significant start-up funds, and minimal teaching or other responsibilities.

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

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

More Information

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

Email your questions to

She can also advise you on your eligibility for a particular K program and whether your proposed research aligns with NIAID if you send her your NIH-formatted biosketch and Specific Aims page. Learn more at Create Biosketches and Draft Specific Aims.

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