Mentored Career Development Awards (K series)

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					NIH Mentored Career Development
       Awards (K Series)
             Part 1

            Thomas Mitchell, MPH
   Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
     University of California San Francisco
       Types of Mentored Career
         Development Awards
   There are a number of different mentored
    K awards that individuals with a research
    or health professional doctorate should

   Most of these awards support individuals
    after they have completed training and are
    transitioning to a faculty position.
              Key Features of
             Mentored K Awards
   3 – 5 years in length
   Provide substantial salary support but limited
    research funding.
   Contain both a training plan and a research
   Includes a team of mentors, co-mentors,
    advisors, etc.
   Goal: transition to research “independence”.
    Selected NIH K Award
Mentored   Independent   Mid-Career
  K01          K02          K24
  K08          K22
  K07          R00
         Types of Mentored Career
           Development Awards
   K01
       Mentored Research Scientist Development
        Award: provides for an intensive, supervised
        career development experience in the
        biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences
        leading to research independence.
          Some NIH institutes use this award for individuals
           who propose to train in a new field.
          Other NIH institutes use this award to increase
           research workforce in particular types of research.
         Types of Mentored Career
        Development Awards (cont’d)
   K22 (example for NIAID*)
       Career Transition Award: Provides 2 years of
        funding, once the candidate (postdoctoral
        fellow) has attained a full-time faculty position
        (to be achieved within 12 months of the

*K22s differ widely across NIH Institutes
         Types of Mentored Career
        Development Awards (cont’d)
   K08
       Mentored Clinical Scientist Development
        Award: development of the independent
        clinical research scientist.
   K12
       Mentored Clinical Scientist Development
        Program Award: support for an institution for
        the development of independent clinical
         Types of Mentored Career
        Development Awards (cont’d)
   K23
       Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career
        Development Award: Development of the
        independent research scientist in a clinical arena.
   K25
       Mentored Quantitative Research Development
        Award: To foster interdisciplinary collaboration in
        biomedical research by supporting career
        development experiences for scientists with
        quantitative and engineering backgrounds.
      Newest Types of Mentored
     Career Development Awards
   K99/R00
       NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award:
        Provides an opportunity for promising post-
        doctoral scientists to receive both mentored
        and independent research support from the
        same award.
Amount of    K01      K08      K23
 per year
  Salary    $50K -   $75K -   $75K -
 Support    $150K    $105K    $180K
            ($75K)   ($75K)   ($75K)
Research/   $20K -   $20K -   $25K -
 Training    $50K     $90K     $50K
            ($25K)   ($25K)   ($25K)
         General Tips on Mentored
                K Awards
   Understand the intent of the mentored K
       To help promising new investigators achieve
        research independence (i.e., to compete
        successfully for R01 funding).
       Therefore, preparing for the R01 grant
        application you will submit at the end of the K
        award should be the organizing principle of
        the K grant application.
         General Tips on Mentored
            K Awards (cont’d)
   Make a compelling argument why you need a K
       Explain exactly how additional training and mentored
        research experience will enable you to compete
        successfully for R01 funding.
       Be specific: give concrete examples of areas where
        you need additional training or experience in order to
        conduct the proposed research or areas where you
        are deficient that are directly related to your research
        career goals.
         General Tips on Mentored
            K Awards (cont’d)
   Develop a career development training plan that
    is uniquely suited to you.
       Given your previous training and research
        experience, and your short- and long-term career
        goals, propose a mix of didactic training and “hands-
        on” research experience that make perfect sense for
        you (and only you).
       Degree-granting programs (e.g., MPH, MAS) are
        appropriate for candidates with little or no previous
        formal training in research, but even these programs
        should be “customized” whenever possible.
       General Tips on Mentored
          K Awards (cont’d)
   For candidates with substantial previous
    formal training in research, a plan that
    emphasizes “hands-on” research
    experience is appropriate.
   Reviewers expect you to fully exploit the
    training resources available to you.
    Writing a competitive mentored
      K award grant application
   4 main sections of the grant application:
     The Candidate
     Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and
     Environment and Institutional Commitment to
     Research Plan

    Plus: 3-5 letters of recommendation
                   The Candidate
   2. Candidate’s background
   3. Career goals and objectives
   4. Career development activities
       during award period
   5. Training in the responsible conduct of
       Suggested length: 2-3 pages – remember, Sections 2
        – 5 plus the Research Strategy section (Section 11)
        combined cannot exceed 12 pages.
The Candidate: Review Criteria
   Quality of the candidate’s academic and
    clinical record.
   Potential to develop as an outstanding
    independent researcher.
   Likelihood that the career development
    plan will contribute substantially to the
    scientific development of the candidate.
Review Criteria (cont’d)
   Appropriateness of the content and
    duration of the proposed didactic and
    research phases of the award.

   Consistency of the career development
    plan with the candidate’s career goals and
    prior research experience.
2. Candidate’s Background
   Suggested length: Less than 1 page.
   Using your NIH biosketch as your guide, provide
    a personal narrative of your professional career.
   Explain why you made key career choices (e.g.,
    to pursue specific kinds of training opportunities
    or research projects).
   OK to use 1st person (“I”).
2. Candidate’s Background
   Give examples of the opportunities you’ve had
    to engage in research (basic or clinical), as
    evidence of your long-standing commitment to
   Highlight early evidence of productivity (e.g.,
    pursuing a specific question, analyzing data,
    presenting or publishing your results).
   Describe any formal research training (e.g.,
    TICR, MPH).
2. Candidate’s Background
   Tip: Begin this section with a summary statement regarding your
    long-term research career goals.

   Example: “ My goal is to become an independent clinical investigator
    and leader in the study of diffuse lung disease. To continue my
    progress towards this goal, I am proposing an observational
    prospective study addressing specific hypothesis surrounding the
    role of gastroesophageal reflux in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
    (IPF), a timely and important topic. Specifically, I am interested in
    studying 3 primary topics: (1) the clinical characteristics of reflux in
    patients with IPF, (2) the biomarkers of reflux and microaspiration in
    patients with IPF, and (3) the impact of reflux and microaspiration on
    outcomes in patients with IPF. The knowledge and experience
    gained from this proposal will allow me to successfully compete for
    R01 funding to validate these findings in a multicenter trial utilizing
    the resources of the NIH-funded IPFNet.
3. Career Goals and Objectives

   Suggested length: 1 - 2 paragraphs
   The research plan you propose should include
    some specific “challenges,” for which you need
    additional training and/or experience to
    accomplish successfully.
   These “deficits” in your training/experience then
    become the focus of your career development
    training plan.
3. Career Goals and Objectives
   Describe the specific areas where you have deficiencies
    (e.g., primary data collection, biostatistics, qualitative
    research methods).

   Example: I have made progress in developing my clinical research
    skills, but there are three important areas where I require additional
    training, mentoring, and experience: (1) multi-disciplinary
    collaboration with clinical and basic scientists, (2) the design and
    implementation of prospective study design with involvement in the
    IPFnet, and (3) advanced study design and biostatistical
    methodology. In the following section, I present a detailed career
    development plan designed to enable me to acquire the additional
    training and mentored research experience I need to address these
    deficiencies and compete successfully for R01 funding, thereby
    achieving independence as a clinical investigator.
4. Career Development Activities
   During Award Period

   Suggested length: 1 - 2 pages.
   List the specific training areas you will pursue to acquire
    the new set of skills you need.
   Explain why gaining additional training and mentored
    research experience in these areas will be critical to
    achieving your short-term and long-term career
    development goals.
   Describe in detail how you will gain this training, such as
    through specific courses, individualized tutorials, or
    practical experience gained from conducting the
   See Examples 1 and 2.
    5.    Training in the Responsible Conduct of
   Example:

    “As part of my Master’s degree in clinical research, I took a course
    in the Responsible Conduct of Research (Epi 201) taught by Dr.
    Bernard Lo at UCSF. This course is designed to address the
    requirements of NIH for education of investigators about ethical
    issues in human subject research. It consists of 7 hours of lecture
    during which trainees learn through case discussions how to identify
    and resolve common ethical dilemmas that arise in clinical research,
    how research on human subjects is regulated by the federal
    government, and what constitutes research misconduct. In addition
    to this course, I will complete on-line training modules of the Health
    Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as it applies to research
    as well as the UCSF Committee on Human Research’s human
    subjects training. I will continue to update my training in research
    ethics annually.“

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