Institutional K Award Application

Applications are due by 8:00 am on January 31, 2018.

The same application should be used to apply for the Gene Orringer Junior Faculty Career Development Program (TraCS KL2), the BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health) and the Oncology K12 Programs.

Applicant Eligibility

  • KL2 scholars must have a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent;
  • Not be or have been a PD/PI on an R01, R29 or subproject of a Program Project (P01), Center (P50, P60, U54) grant, independent mentored career development (K-series) grants, or other equivalent research grant awards; except for R03 and R21;
  • Only U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals, or an individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence who possesses an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551), or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident prior to appointment, are eligible to accept a KL2 appointment. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
NOTE: Beginning with the 2014 application cycle, applicants who wish to propose work that is done in an international setting are not eligible to be funded by the KL2 Program. This includes "performance of any significant scientific element or segment outside of a project outside of the United States, either by the grantee or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended." Activities that would meet this definition include, but are not limited to:
  1. The involvement of human subjects or animals
  2. Extensive foreign travel by grantee project staff for the purpose of data collection, surveying, sampling, and similar activities, or
  3. Any activity of the grantee that may have an impact on U.S. foreign policy through involvement in the affairs or environment of a foreign country. Examples of other grant-related activities that may be significant are:
    • Collaborations with investigators at a foreign site anticipated to result in co-authorship;
    • Use of facilities or instrumentation at a foreign site; or
    • Receipt of financial support or resources from a foreign entity

Appointments to the KL2 Program usually start either May 1 or July 1; however, applicants may be appointed at other times if current scholars transition off the KL2 to their own funding. Appointments to the BIRCWH and Oncology K12 are usually July 1.

*Applicants who wish to request reduced research time must include a justification with their application and must scale their training and research plans to fit the reduced time. KL2 reviewers will be instructed to evaluate whether they agree that the goals of the applicant may be achieved with reduced time. This will be reflected in the overall score of the application. If an applicant requesting reduced research time is in the fundable range for the KL2 the application with justification must first be sent to NIH for final approval before appointment to the KL2 can begin.

Instructions for Application Submission

A short letter of intent to apply is required by December 19, 2017 to be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should include:

    1. Name
    2. Department
    3. Mentors
    4. A paragraph or less description of the research in the proposal including a statement about methods (laboratory-based, patient-oriented/clinical, health services/existing data, etc.)
    5. The name of your Chair or Division chief (the person who will guarantee protected time for KL2 activities)

Applications will NOT be accepted in January if a letter of intent was not submitted.

The application can be used for the KL2, the BIRCWH K12 and the Paul Calabresi K12 in Clinical Oncology. Applicants will be asked to note which program(s) they wish to be considered for on the application.

Page limitations have been noted for certain sections. Please adhere to them as one of the criteria for KL2/BIRCWH review (and NIH review) is the ability to describe your research plan within the page limits.

Instructions for budget

You may submit a budget for up to $10,000 - $15,000 per year for 3 years. If the proposed research and training exceeds this amount, applicants should identify other sources of funding within the text of the proposal and/or letters of support. Thus, applicants are encouraged to identify other sources of support (e.g. mentor's grants, departmental funds) that are available to the scholar for the proposed project. These could be mentioned in the text of the proposal and/or in letters of support.

Evaluation Considerations

All applications will be reviewed by our Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee using a process analogous to an NIH review of individual K-awards. Some important factors that this committee considers are:

  • The potential for the applicant to be a successful independent investigator based on research and academic productivity to date
  • The feasibility and rigor of the proposed research
  • The likelihood of the applicant having sufficient preliminary data to submit a grant by the end of the second year or earlier. This may be an investigator initiated research grant or a career development grant to NIH or another organization
  • The training plan, including a clear rationale for why additional training is needed
  • The quality of the mentoring team
  • The support from the Department/Division Chief

The review process will include an evaluation of feasibility of the proposed work and the likelihood that it will result in sufficient preliminary data to support a grant proposal sometime in year 2 or early year 3. Applicants should be aware that feasibility includes the following factors:

  • Overall scope of the project: Given the applicant will also be pursuing training during KL2 funding, are the research aims too broad, or the research plan too ambitious, that the work is unlikely to yield sufficient data within the timeframe needed for next grant submission?
  • If the project budget will exceed $10,000 per year, applicants should explain other sources of funding to support the research. Commitments for additional funding should be reflected in letters of support and/or the Biosketch when applicable.
  • Whenever possible, applicants are encouraged to address feasibility within the application. Examples include: providing past research subject enrollment data or patient demographics of the population of interest; identification of resources the applicant has access to through other affiliations such as availability of existing datasets; or description of regulatory approval status (IRB, FDA, etc.).

Mentors should also comment on feasibility in their letters of support.

Please note that, per NIH rules, applicants who have a potentially fundable score for the KL2 but who also have an individual K award awaiting scoring and/or funding decision from the NIH cannot be appointed to the KL2 until the status of the individual K award is final.
Download Application

Applications must be assembled into a single PDF file except for letters of support which can be emailed separately. Application materials should be emailed to Susan Pusek This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the January 31 deadline.

Following Application Submission

Once the application is submitted, two members of the Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee will be assigned as reviewers. There will be NO interviews with reviewers this cycle.

All UNC and external applicants will meet the faculty from the Education, Training and Career Development Core. The purpose of this meeting is to answer questions from applicants regarding the review process, program requirements or logistics. Meetings will be arranged by Susan Pusek and will occur in January.

Selection of Scholars

The meeting to select Scholars will be held approximately one month after applications are due. You will be notified as soon as possible after the meeting of your status.

Questions about the application process can be submitted to Susan Pusek by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 919.966.0128.

More Information

KL2 Program Components