The Career Development Award Writing Groups assist researchers with the preparation of an NIH K award or other mentored career development award.

Enrollment is open for the next series of TraCS Career Development Award/K Writing Groups.

Career Development Award Writing Groups

The Career Development Award (or "K") Writing Group provides training in the components of a career development award application and feedback from experienced faculty on the application components as they are written.

Requirements & Timeline

Timeline: Participants should target submissions at least 5 months in the future. If your proposed deadline is earlier, please contact us to learn how we can help outside of the group.

Group meetings: Once your materials are submitted and you are approved by faculty, you will be added to the group. Individuals who are accepted for participation will be expected to provide high level feedback on the applications of their peers. Meetings are in-person and will be scheduled at a time convenient for most participants. The group meets throughout the year with a break for a few weeks around July/August.

Eligible application types: External (NIH and other) K/career development awards, resubmission applications and/or internal K awards. Note: If you are considering an external application and submission to the internal K program, contact us to discuss timing and relevant NIH regulations.

Participation Criteria

Readiness to write—Please consider the criteria below to determine if you are ready to join the group. We are here to help; if you have questions, please submit a request to talk to Susan Pusek.

Research focus: Have you done a thorough literature search to identify and justify the gap/problem/question and how your proposed idea builds off prior work?

Your research experience: Have you published any prior research? (Note: the number and type of publications and where you are on the author list will impact how competitive you are as an applicant and the perceived feasibility of the proposed work. Competitiveness can also depend on the grant mechanism and sponsor. We will walk through this in the group.)

Rationale for further training: Have you identified and discussed with mentor(s) an outline of the training and career development you need?

Mentor support: Do you have at least one mentor who will commit to planning the project, provide needed support for the research, and provide detailed reading and editing for sections of the grant application? Have you and your mentor reviewed the eligibility criteria and goals of the funder sponsoring the target grant and confirmed that your research idea is a potential fit?

Department support: If you are a postdoc or clinical fellow who proposes to transition to a faculty position at the time of the funded grant, have you discussed a faculty position with potential departmental leadership at UNC? If you are also considering positions outside of UNC, contact us to discuss how we can help.

Proposed deadline: Have you considered other responsibilities in your timeline that may affect your ability to prepare the grant by the target deadline (e.g., clinical service time, vacation)?


If you are ready to participate, please submit the following in a request to Susan Pusek:

  1. A brief letter of introduction including your current position, school/dept affiliation, award mechanism (e.g. K01) and agency
  2. A list of confirmed mentors and/or mentor expertise you are still seeking
  3. A paragraph describing the proposed research project and the topics for training

Once materials are received, they will be forwarded to the program faculty for review and you will be contacted within 2 weeks regarding next steps.

submit request

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