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Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)

Applicant Profile

NIAID makes very few awards for the Parent K99/R00 and the Physician-Scientist (PS) K99/R00. Therefore, you may want to consider applying for a Career Transition Award (K22) instead if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

To qualify for a K99/R00, you must have plans to apply for a tenure-track (or equivalent) assistant professorship at a U.S. academic institution. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident.  

You must have a degree appropriate to your chosen opportunity:

  • Parent K99/R00: research (Ph.D.) or clinical (M.D., D.O., D.D.S, D.M.D., D.V.M., V.M.D., Pharm.D.) or be a nurse with a research doctoral degree) degree
  • Physician-Scientist K99/R00: clinical doctorate degree (M.D., D.O., D.D.S, D.M.D., D.V.M., V.M.D.) or be a nurse with a research doctoral degree who proposes at least one clinical or translational research aim on the proposal.  Note:  At this time, individuals with a Pharm.D. degree are not eligible to participate in the NIAID PS K99/R00 program.

For both opportunities, you must have no more than four years of postdoctoral research training as of the relevant new or resubmission application due date. Only time dedicated to research activities counts toward the four-year limit.

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

  • Parental or other well-justified leave.
  • 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 four-year limit. Approval is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Notices of Funding Opportunities

Search for NIAID K99/R00 Funding Opportunities to get a current list. 

The title of each opportunity announcement indicates whether independent clinical trials are allowed or required. If you are considering a clinical trial opportunity, learn more at Clinical Trials and NIAID Research Career Development (K) Opportunities.

Award Specifics

NIAID encourages applications requesting up to two years for the K99 and two years of support for the independent R00 phase of the award. These awards are not renewable.

Salary up to $75,000 (if institutional base salary is equivalent or more) plus fringe benefits.

Research development costs up to $25,000 each year.

For K99 phase, facilities and administrative costs based on eight percent of modified total direct costs.

Minimum nine person months (or 75 percent) effort required each year for the Parent K99/R00. Learn more about Percent Effort and Concurrent Salary Support for Research Career Development (K) Awards.

Minimum six person months (or 50 percent) effort required each year for the NIAID PS K99/R00. 


When you apply, include a career development plan, Research Plan with a description of the project you will pursue in the R00 phase, and at least three letters of reference.

For the PS K99/R00, at least one Specific Aim must be in clinical or translational research.

NIAID will not accept Parent K99/R00 applications proposing an independent clinical trial. However, the Institute will accept PS K99/R00 applications proposing an independent clinical trial. Learn more at Clinical Trials and NIAID Research Career Development (K) Opportunities.

During the initial mentored (K99) phase, you must secure a tenure-track, full-time assistant professor position at an academic institution.

To qualify for the independent investigator (R00) phase, the chair of the division or department where you have secured a faculty position must submit a letter demonstrating the institution's commitment to provide you with protected research time, space, facilities, and other support needed to conduct the proposed research as a tenure-track faculty (or equivalent) member.

Learn more in our Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP.

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

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

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