Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Research Career Development Awards

Research Career Development Awards are available to individuals at a variety of career stages post-terminal degree who wish to become independent investigators.

DMS Plan Update - Individual Career Development Applications submitted for due dates after January 25, 2023, must include a Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan. This plan, typically around two pages long, should describe how scientific data generated under the proposed aims would be managed and shared. Learn more about DMS plans

Mechanisms for Postdoctoral Fellows
Number Title Eligibility Description
K18 HEAL Initiative: Translational Science Career Enhancement Awards Doctoral degree Supports translational science experience for researchers to develop new knowledge and skills in novel, non-addictive pain therapies
K22 NIA Career Transition Award 2-8 years postdoc experience A postdoctoral award that provides funding for the first years of a junior faculty research program.
K99/R00 NIH Pathway to Independence Awards Up to 4 years of experience; no citizenship requirement An early career mechanism for postdoctoral fellows and others with similar standing to facilitate career advancement.
K25 Mentored Qualitative Research Career Development Awards Advanced quantitative or engineering degree An award for scientists trained in quantitative disciplines who wish to develop their careers in biomedical research.
Mechanisms for Junior Faculty
Number Title Eligibility Description
K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Awards Doctoral degree, faculty or equivalent position An early or mid-career award for individuals with some prior postdoctoral research experience.
K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Awards Clinical doctoral degree An award for junior clinicians with little-to-moderate research training who wish to become independent clinician-scientists.
K18 HEAL Initiative: Translational Science Career Enhancement Awards Doctoral degree Supports translational science experience for researchers to develop new knowledge and skills in novel, non-addictive pain therapies
K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Awards Clinical doctoral degree An award for junior clinicians with little-to-moderate research training who wish to become independent clinician-scientists trained in patient-oriented research.
K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Awards Advanced quantitative or engineering degree An award for scientists trained in quantitative disciplines who wish to develop their careers in biomedical research.
K43 Emerging Global Leader Award Doctorate, or master’s degree with research thesis An award for early career scientists holding a junior faculty position at a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) institution.
K76 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging Clinical doctorate; ESI status; already achieved independent funding An award for early-stage investigators who have begun to establish research programs and who, through this award, will be ready to assume leadership roles in their field of expertise.

Note: NIA has specific guidance on the K01 and K23 awards. Click on the 'Title' of each mechanism for details. Salary Caps and Allowable Expenses on NIA Career Awards.

Eligibility for mentored career awards: You are ineligible for the above, mentored career development awards if you have received major independent NIH research funding such as the R01, P01, or P50. If you have already received an R01 or similar, please consider the mechanisms for academic faculty, below. Except for the Beeson K76, you are also ineligible for the above mentored career development awards if you have already received a mentored K award, with the exception of institutional awards such as the K12 or KL2.

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact NIATraining@mail.nih.gov. If you would like feedback on whether your research area is appropriate for the NIA, please include a one-page summary of your Specific Aims.

How to Apply

There are three options available to submit your application to NIH:

  • NIH ASSIST: Use NIH ASSIST to prepare and submit your application, and track its progress through the review process after submission.
  • Grants.gov: Use Grants.gov to prepare and submit your application. (Perform an “Opportunity Number” search using the fellowship’s FOA, or follow the Grants.gov link found in the fellowship’s FOA.) Then, use eRA Commons to track your application’s progress through the review system.
  • System-to-System: Your institution may have a system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability. Then, use eRA Commons to track your application’s progress through the review process.

Which Submission Option is Right for Me?

To choose the submission method that is best for you, consult with your institution’s grant office or read more information from the NIH Office of Extramural Research. Detailed application instructions can be found in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for each award, and in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guides for career development.

Important Dates
Cycle New Application Due Date Resubmission Due Date Initial Review Council Review Earliest Start Date
1 February 12 March 12 June/July August/October September/December
2 June 12 July 12 October/November January April
3 October 12 November 12 February/March May July

Most K awards have three due dates per year. The Beeson K76 has one due date per year in the fall.

Components of a Career Development Application
Application Component Length Limit
Abstract 30 lines of text
Project Narrative 3 sentences
Applicant Biosketch 5 pages
Mentor Biosketch 5 pages
Budget Justification no limit
Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development and Research Strategy 12 pages for combined sections
Specific Aims 1 page
Plans and Statements of Mentor and Co-mentor(s) 6 pages
Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors, and Consultants 6 pages
Institutional Environment 1 page
Institutional Commitment to Candidate Career Development1 1 page
3 Reference Letters2 2 pages each

1 This letter typically comes from a department Chair.

2 Reference letter writers should be separate from co-mentors, collaborators, or advisors. A letter from your predoctoral thesis advisor is not required. For faculty level awards, a letter from your postdoctoral mentor is likewise not required.

Detailed instructions for each application part can be found in the Career Development instructions of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

What Are My Chances of Succeeding?

Find success rates at Success Rates on NIH's RePORT.

What is the ORCID ID Requirement?

As described in this notice, all applicants for career development awards are required to have an ORCID ID, which is a unique digital identifier for an individual researcher. Registration for an ORCID ID takes only a few minutes.

Resubmission

Revising and resubmitting an unfunded application is highly encouraged, and can result in a higher chance of receiving funding. Find tips on resubmission. However, you cannot have two applications active under the same Funding Opportunity Announcement. If you wish to resubmit an application, you will need to wait to receive a summary statement from the original submission.

Other Submission Resources

Continuity and Retention Supplements for Critical Life Events

Recipients of mentored K awards are eligible to apply for an Administrative Supplement to Promote Research Continuity and Retention (NOT-OD-23-031). For awardees who have experienced a critical life event, including for instance childbirth, serious illness, or primary caregiving responsibilities, this supplement can provide up to $70,000 in additional funding to support the awardee's research and career development. Read more about the continuity and retention supplements.

Important Policies and Notices Related to Career Development Awards

Many answers to your K award policy questions can be found in the Career Development section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

nia.nih.gov

An official website of the National Institutes of Health