Writing an Effective Career (K) Application

Course Summary

Receiving a career development (K) award from the NIH is challenging and requires hard work and a firm commitment.  Successful K grant applications require not only a strong idea, strong science and a strong application, but equally importantly critical attention to one’s career stage and goals, career development activities, mentoring plan, and institutional environment, and commitment to training.  An applicant must be prepared to work with mentors and other key collaborators, the NIH Program staff, be well informed of Institute/Center priorities, acquire a firm understanding of the application requirements, the unique features of peer review, and develop a keen understanding of what constitutes a strong K application that will result in increased odds of funding. 
Keeping with the basic theme that Knowledge = Success this presentation is intended to provide K applicants with basic information regarding the application process and the review criteria.  Knowledge gained from this presentation should contribute to an investigator’s success in developing a competitive (i.e., fundable) NIH K application.

Course Outline

1. Introduction

  • Overview of NIH Career Development (K) Award

  • Common Features of K Awards

  • Individual Career Development Awards

  • Career Transition Awards

2. Overview of the Grant Process

  • Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NIH Program Staff Role: Pre-Application

  • What Happens to My Application?

  • NIH Center for Scientific Review: Application Assignment

  • Peer Review Panels

  • NIH Institutes and Centers

  • NIH Program Staff Role: Post-Review

  • Institute or Center National Advisory Council: Program Priorities

3. Writing an Effective K Application

  • Timeline for K Applications

  • Start Early

  • Develop a Strategy

  • Plan Your Application

4. Application Requirement

  • Candidate Qualifications, Career Goals and Objectives

  • Mentor(s), Collaborators, and Consultants

  • Institution’s Environment and Commitment to the Candidate

  • Specific Aims

  • Research Strategy

  • Rigor and Reproducibility

  • Responsible Conduct of Research

5. Career Award Review Criteria

  • Candidate

  • Career Development Plan, Goals and Objectives

  • Research Plan (Includes review of Scientific Premise, rigorous experimental design, biological variables)

  • Mentor(s), Consultants(s), Collaborator(s)

  • Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate