Institutional K Award Application

Letters of intent due by December 10, 2018.
Applications due by 8:00 am on January 28, 2019.

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.
For KL2 and/or BIRCWH applicants proposing research in an international setting:
  1. You can apply to the KL2/BIRCWH with research done in a non-US setting. However, KL2/BIRCWH research money cannot be transferred outside of the US to the global site. This means KL2/BIRCWH research funds cannot be sent outside the US to support: costs for clinic rooms, research coordinators, data entry personnel, subject recruiters or interviewers, subject reimbursements, etc. KL2/BIRCWH funds can support costs for your research that are incurred in the US. Within the KL2 application, you should identify the funds that will be used to support any non-US activities necessary for your project.
  2. Remember the KL2/BIRCWH is a mentored career development award. If you plan to spend time at a non-US research site during the time you are funded, you should plan travel around the required activities of the KL2/BIRCWH program (e.g. K Seminar, Responsible Conduct of Research, Mentor Training, etc.). You should also make sure to discuss whether the travel changes the plan for interactions with your mentor(s) and how you plan to complete the other training you propose. If you plan on-line or other types of virtual or self-paced training as substitutes for in-person training, describe how your mentors will oversee the rigor of the material and that you have obtained the skills.

Appointments to the KL2 Program start July 1—August 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 10, 2018 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.

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..


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