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Career Development Awards (K Series Awards)

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K01 Award: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award

The Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) provides support for a sustained period of “protected time” for intensive research career development under the guidance of an experienced mentor, or sponsor, in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences. The NIDCD uses the K01 Program for the retooling and transition of junior- and midcareer-level scientists and clinicians into two research domains: 1) translational research, i.e., the application of basic research discoveries toward advancing the diagnosis, management, and prevention of deafness and other communication disorders; and 2) clinical research.  The expectation is that through this sustained period of research career development and training, awardees will launch independent research careers and become competitive for new Research Project Grant (R01) funding.

Eligibility and Requirements. Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research and career development activities is invited to work with his/her mentor and sponsoring institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH programs. See the Program Announcement for specific eligibility requirements.

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K02 Award: Independent Scientist Award (ISA)

The Independent Scientist Award (ISA) provides salary support to enhance the research capabilities of highly promising, recently independent scientists who have demonstrated independent research accomplishments but are not yet well-established in the research area of the application. It provides at least 75% protected research time to recently independent scientists having Federal or non-Federal peer-reviewed research grant support (as Principal Investigator) within the NIDCD scientific mission for a period of at least two to three years beyond the anticipated award date of the K02 award. The K02 research plan can comprise an ongoing independent research program, an expansion of one or more research aims of an ongoing grant, or a new research trajectory (if research support is in place); the scope of the research plan should be made clear in the application. 

The award relieves the individual from other duties such as teaching and administrative or other service duties that do not directly enhance the candidate's research career development. The award is not intended for the new investigator or for those already established as independent investigators. Awards are made to individuals at U.S. research and academic institutions.

Eligibility and Requirements. Candidates must have demonstrated independent research accomplishments and have had or currently have funded research support. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or noncitizen nationals or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residency at the time of appointment. Persons on temporary or student visas are ineligible.

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K08 Award: Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (MCSDA)

The purpose of Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Awards (MCSDA) is to foster the research independence of clinically  trained individuals holding positions of junior academic rank (or the equivalent in non-academic research settings) and seeking to integrate both clinical practice and fundamental or translational research trajectories in their careers into independent investigators in the biomedical and behavioral mission areas of the NIDCD. This award provides support for mentored research and special study experience tailored to individual needs.

Eligibility and Requirements. Individuals with an M.D., clinical Ph.D., or other health professional degrees (including individuals with dual clinical/research doctoral degrees) are eligible. Candidates holding positions of senior academic rank are not eligible. The NIDCD requires candidates to have an aggregate of at least two full years of prior research experience.

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K18 Award: NIDCD Research Career Enhancement Award for Established Investigators

The purpose of the K18 program is to enable established, proven investigators to augment or redirect their research programs through the acquisition of new research skills to answer questions relevant to the hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language sciences.  The K18 award provides between six months and two years of advanced mentored research career development and requires a commitment of 25-50% of professional effort.

Eligibility and Requirements. Individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research and career development activities are invited to work with their mentor and sponsoring institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Eligible Project Directors/Principal Investigators include doctoral level investigators holding the rank of Associate Professor or Professor, or the equivalent in nonacademic settings, with documented records of scientific accomplishments and research grant funding.

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K23 Award: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award

The purpose of Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Awards (K23) is to foster the research independence of clinically trained individuals holding positions of junior academic rank (or the equivalent in non-academic research settings) and seeking to integrate both clinical practice and patient-oriented research trajectories in their careers into independent investigators in the biomedical and behavioral mission areas of the NIDCD. This award provides support for mentored research and special study experience tailored to individual needs.

Eligibility and Requirements. Individuals with an M.D., clinical Ph.D., or other health professional degrees (including individuals with dual clinical/research doctoral degrees) are eligible. Candidates holding positions of senior academic rank are not eligible. The NIDCD requires candidates to have an aggregate of at least two full years of prior research experience.

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K24 Award: Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research

The purpose of the Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24) is to provide support to allow outstanding, established clinician-investigators in patient-oriented research (POR) “protected time” to commit 25 to 50% effort to augment their capabilities in POR and to act as mentors for budding and beginning clinician-investigators. The target candidates are outstanding clinical scientists at the Associate Professor or Professor levels, or at the equivalent levels in nonacademic settings, who have a record of independent grant funding in POR. Candidates must demonstrate the need for a period of intensive research focus as a means of enhancing their clinical research careers and must be committed to mentoring the next generation of patient-oriented researchers.

Eligibility and Requirements. Candidates for this award must have a health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent, or the Ph.D. degree in a clinical discipline. Candidates must have a record of patient-oriented research and research mentoring. In addition, candidates for this award must demonstrate the need for protected time for a period of intensive research focus to advance their careers and mentoring activities. Candidates are advised to discuss their eligibility with the contacts listed in the Program Announcement.

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K25 Award: Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award

The Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25) is intended to attract to NIH-relevant research those investigators whose quantitative science and engineering research has thus far not been focused primarily on questions of health and disease. Examples of quantitative scientific and technical backgrounds considered appropriate for this award include, but are not limited to:  mathematics, statistics, economics, computer science, imaging science, informatics, physics, chemistry, and engineering.

The K25 Award will support the career development of such investigators who make a commitment to basic or clinical biomedicine, bioengineering, bioimaging, or behavioral research. This award provides support for a period of supervised study and research for productive professionals with quantitative backgrounds who have the potential to integrate their expertise with NIH-relevant research and develop into productive investigators. It is intended for research-oriented investigators from the junior-stage faculty level to the senior-stage faculty level, or their equivalents in non-academic research settings.

Eligibility and Requirements. The prospective candidate for the K25 Award will require enhanced skills in the experimental, theoretical, and conceptual approaches used in biomedicine, behavioral science, bioimaging, or bioengineering. To satisfy this requirement, the candidate should propose a period of study and career development that is complementary to her or his previous research and experience.

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K99/R00 Award: NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award

The NIH Pathway to Independence Award provides up to five years of support consisting of two phases. The initial mentored phase will provide support for salary and research expenses for up to 2 years for the most promising postdoctoral fellows who have no more than 5 years of postdoctoral research training experience at the time of initial application or subsequent resubmission(s). This initial phase of mentored support will allow the candidate time to “cap-off” his/her mentored training through completing previous research, publishing results, and acquiring new research skills, while searching for an appropriate tenure-track faculty position and bridging to this position.

Following the mentored phase, the individual may request up to 3 years of support to transition, as an independent scientist, to an extramural sponsoring institution/organization to which the individual has been recruited. This support is to allow the individual to continue to work toward establishing his/her own independent research program and prepare an application for regular Research Project Grant support (R01). Support for the independent phase, however, is not automatic and is contingent upon being offered an appropriate tenure-track faculty position  by an extramural institution deemed appropriate by NIH programmatic review.

Eligibility and Requirements. Eligible organizations for the PI award include U.S. domestic for-profit or non-profit institutions/organizations, or public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, and laboratories, and eligible agencies of the federal government, including NIH intramural laboratories. Foreign institutions are not eligible.

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