The intent of the Independent Scientist Award (K02) is to support health professionals who are committed to a career in neuroscience research and who have recently achieved independent scientist status. This program normally follows a K08 or K23 award and supports the continued career development of independent clinician-scientists so that they can be more successful in obtaining an R01 or equivalent grant. The award provides salary and research costs for the first three years, and continued salary support for years four and five, with the last two years of support contingent on successful competition for an R01 or equivalent award. In contrast to requirements of other institutes, applicants are not eligible for this award if they have a major, independent, peer-reviewed research grant (R01, subproject on a P01, or equivalent) prior to receiving the K02 award. Awardees are encouraged to apply for R01 support at any time after they've received the K02 award. The K02 is intended for physician-scientists who are missing one or more components that would make them competitive for an R01, so applicants should not submit an R01 application simultaneously with a K02 application.
The candidates must hold a clinical doctoral degree, have completed postgraduate clinical training prior to application, and hold a primary appointment in a clinical department. The candidate must also devote a minimum of 75% effort to the proposed award activities.
Special Note: To accommodate neurosurgeons, who need significant clinical activity to maintain their surgical skills, NINDS will accept 50% time commitment to the award.
Salary and Research Costs: Salary and Research Costs: In years 1 - 3 of the K02 award, NINDS will provide up to $105,000 of the awardee's salary per year, plus the applicable fringe benefit rate, plus up to $50,000 per year toward research costs. Once an applicant receives an R01 or equivalent award, the applicant may obtain up to 80% of their institutional base salary from the K02, commensurate with their effort on the K02. Once an R01 or equivalent is obtained, research costs will no longer be provided through the K02 award.
For a more detailed explanation of the K02 award structure, see the change in policy guidance for this mechanism.
For questions regarding this new funding strategy for K02 awards, contact the NINDS Director of Training and Workforce Development.
Institutional Support: Please pay careful attention to specific issues that must be addressed in a statement of institutional support for the K02.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is continuing to make a special effort to stimulate research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced training for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1985, Congressional appropriations for the NIH have included funds for this initiative, which NIH has implemented through the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program. Based on the expectation that funds will continue to be available each year, the NIH invites applications for AREA grants (R15) through a standing, an ongoing Program Announcement (PA). AREA funds are intended to support new ("type 1") and continuing ("renewal" or "competing continuation" or "type 2") health-related research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible schools and components of domestic institutions. The AREA will enable qualified scientists to receive support for small-scale research projects. These grants are intended to create a research opportunity for scientists and institutions otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH programs to support the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research effort. It is anticipated that investigators supported under the AREA program will benefit from the opportunity to conduct independent research; that the grantee institution will benefit from a research environment strengthened through AREA grants and furthered by participation in the diverse extramural programs of the NIH; and that students will benefit from exposure to and participation in research and be encouraged to pursue graduate studies in the health sciences.
NINDS support for R15 program relies on both the evaluation of scientific merit and programmatic considerations for funding determination. NINDS will not support projects, regardless of the results of scientific merit review, if they do not fulfill current programmatic priorities at NINDS. A critical component of programmatic concern for NINDS is the quality and extent of undergraduate student engagement in the proposed research. The review criteria, published in the FOA, include: If funded, will the AREA award have a substantial effect on the school/academic component in terms of strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research? Does the application provide sufficient evidence that the project can stimulate the interests of students so that they consider a career in the biomedical or behavioral science? Does the application provide sufficient evidence that students have in the past or are likely to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral sciences?
Salary and Research Costs: NINDS will provide up to a maximum of $300,000 in direct costs plus facilities and administrative costs for a period of up to three years. Allowable direct costs include salaries for the principal investigator and other research personnel (including students), supplies, equipment, travel, and other items specifically associated with the proposed research project.