K02 Independent Scientist Award

For support of early to mid-career clinician-scientists in need of additional protected time committed to research.

Program Announcements
NINDS K02 - No Independent Clinical Trials - PA-24-179 

NINDS K02 - Clinical Trial Required - PA-24-178

NINDS K02 - Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required - PA-24-180

Due Dates for New/Resubmission Applications
February/March 12,  June/July 12,  October/November 12

PD/PI Eligibility
Research doctorate holders; clinical doctorate holders; licensed to practice clinically

Additional Information
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.

Applicants must be licensed to practice clinically in the U.S. Although the award is primarily targeted to candidates holding an MD or equivalent degree, it will also support individuals holding other health professional degrees. Applicants must have completed postgraduate clinical training prior to application and hold a primary appointment in a clinical department. By the time of award, applicants must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents (i.e. possess a valid "green card").

Effort Requirement (non-neurosurgeons) 
Except for neurosurgeons (see below), candidates must devote a minimum of 75% full time professional effort to the proposed research and career development activities. 

Effort Requirement (neurosurgeons) 
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 Support
In years 1 - 3 of the K02 award, NINDS will provide up to $150,000 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 Commitment 
Please pay careful attention to specific issues that must be addressed in a statement of institutional commitment for the K02(pdf, 87 KB).

Not sure whether your research qualifies as a clinical trial or basic experimental study with humans? 
Applicants are strongly advised to consult with NINDS program staff prior to submitting an application with human subjects to determine the appropriate funding opportunity. See the NIH definition of a clinical trial and NIH guidance for basic experimental studies with humans for more information. 



Stephen Korn, Ph.D. | Director, Office of Training & Workforce Development 



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