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Institutional Support For Mentored K Awards


Applicant institutions should demonstrate a commitment to providing the environment and resources needed to successfully prepare junior investigators for careers as independent academic researchers in neuroscience.

Awardees will enter the program participating in mentored research and, as a result of the experience, they are expected to have developed the competencies, skills and publication record needed to apply for independent funding. As part of the application process, institutions must define the resources and environment that will promote this level of competence, and provide concrete evidence of their commitment to providing these resources. Under this award, institutions are not asked to confer an academic title that signifies independence, but they must commit to a program for training that allows awardees to successfully compete for such a position. It is anticipated that awardees will apply for independent funding during the course of their award. Institutions sponsoring them must provide the resources and title required to do so.

Institutions should consider carefully each candidate’s scientific background, especially the extent to which they have been engaged in prior research training. Resources in support of career development should be tailored to the individual candidate, taking into account special strengths and needs. Unique features of the environment, the resources to be provided and institutional/departmental track record in mentoring prior trainees should be specifically detailed.

The level of institutional commitment will be considered during review, and will contribute to the overall score of the application. The extent to which this commitment will be honored if the application is not successful will also be considered and will contribute to the overall score.

Institutions should address the following commitments to the candidate:

  • An academic title consistent with the candidate’s participation in a research intensive program in which mentoring leading to independence is the primary objective; this appointment should enable the candidate to apply for independent funding;
  • The protection of a candidate’s time for research. Awardees are required to devote at least 75% of full time professional effort to the research project proposed in the K award application, so other commitments must not require in excess of 25% full time professional effort. Effort is calculated as follows: ½ day =10% effort, 1 month = 8% effort, on call is NOT protected for research. The Chair should, in his/her letter, specify all non-research commitments in terms of this formula;
  • The provisions for ensuring that the candidate will obtain the entire protected time required by this award, and that all supervisors will be made aware of this requirement for protected research time.
  • Provision of adequate funds and space for the research program outlined. The mentored K award comes with limited funds for research costs. The application should describe the cost of the research proposed, and if funds in excess of those provided by the K award are necessary, the person or persons committing the additional necessary funds should provide a statement to that effect;
  • A plan for ensuring regular academic supervision in addition to that provided by the mentor;
  • Evidence that this additional institutional supervision will include independent review of a candidate’s progress toward the goal of independence; employ metrics to judge progress; define and eliminate any deficiencies in program design, and, communicate to the mentor, whose yearly report of progress will be countersigned; and
  • The assurance that a candidate may consult directly with the institutional official(s) responsible for committing the resources for the career development experience.

Last updated May 17, 2012