K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award

The purpose of the mentored K awards for clinicians (K08, K23)  is to provide scholars with the skills, education and protected time that will enable them to launch an independent research career.

Program Announcements
NINDS K23 - No Independent Clinical Trials - PA-24-185
NINDS K23 - Clinical Trial Required - PA-24-184
NINDS K23 - Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required - PA-24-186

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

PD/PI Eligibility
Research and/or clinical doctorate holders that are licensed to practice clinically

Before applying please see these important documents:
The importance of project originality and project ownership by the candidate(pdf, 141 KB)
Information on institutional commitment(pdf, 132 KB)
Suggestions for a Good Career Development Plan(pdf, 152 KB)
NINDS Encourages Clinicians with Excellent Pre-residency Research Publication Records to Apply for a K23 without Waiting for Post-residency Publication (NOT-NS-15-048)

Additional Information
The Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) is designed to provide "protected time" for clinically trained individuals to receive intensive, supervised research training in biomedical research related to neurological disorders. The award supports a period of supervised research and research career development to prepare the candidate to successfully obtain an NIH R01 or equivalent major research award by the end of the K award period. NINDS mentored K awards may be for either 4 or 5 years (NINDS will not make K23 awards lasting only 3 years).

The mentored Ks (K08, K23) are intended for physician-scientists who require additional mentored training, in addition to the development of an outstanding research project, in order to achieve research independence (e.g. be competitive for an R01 or equivalent award). Thus, in a mentored K application the applicant is representing that 4-5 years of additional mentored training is required. In an R01 or equivalent application, the applicant is representing that no additional mentorship is required – the applicant is capable of overseeing the research as an independent scientist. Consequently, applicants should not submit an R01 application simultaneously with a mentored K application (or similarly, have one of each pending simultaneously).

Once an individual has received a mentored K award from NINDS, he/she may apply for, and receive, an R01 or equivalent award. If awarded, the applicant may keep both the K and the R awards.

Candidates Who Have Been Supported by Institutional K Awards
Applicants may request up to 5 years of K23 funding subsequent to up to 3 years of prior institutional K (e.g. K12, KL2) support. Thus, applicants to NINDS may receive up to a maximum of 8 years of mentored K support. However, applicants who have been supported on an institutional K grant should clearly explain, in their application, the career development needs that justify additional mentored K support. Potential applicants who have been supported on an institutional K award may want to consider the NINDS K02 award for independent investigators as an appropriate alternative.

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 that are beyond 5 years post clinical training (i.e. post consecutive residency and clinical fellowship training) must obtain prior written approval from the Director, Office of Training & Workforce Development to be eligible for this program. 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. See Information on institutional commitment(pdf, 132 KB) for additional critical information, including what information MUST be provided in the Letter of Institutional Commitment for an award to be considered.

Effort Requirement (neurosurgeons)
NINDS will accept 50% full time professional effort for research and career development activities associated with the K award. See Information on institutional commitment(pdf, 132 KB) for additional critical information.

Salary Support
NINDS will provide up to $125,000 salary, plus appropriate fringe, per year (see NOT-NS-23-005). This policy applies to new (Type 1) applications submitted on or after February 12, 2016, and non-competing continuations (Type 5 applications) with start dates on or after October 1, 2016.

Research Support
NINDS will provide up to $51,000 per year. See NOT-NS-13-028 for important additional information.

Institutional Commitment
Please pay careful attention to specific issues that must be addressed in a statement of institutional support for K23 awards (see Information on institutional commitment(pdf, 132 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. 

Relevant Policy Notices

NOT-NS-09-015: NINDS encourages K23 award recipients to apply for independent research awards while the K23 is active.

NOT-NS-15-048NINDS Encourages Clinicians with Excellent Pre-residency Research Publication Records to Apply for a K23 without Waiting for Post-residency Publications.



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



K23 Award Information from NIH

Suggestions for a Good Career Development Plan

NIH Definition of a Clinical Trial

Loan Repayment Program

Training Outcomes Data

Administrative Supplements to Promote Research Continuity and Retention of NIH Mentored Career Development (K) Award Recipients

Institutional Support for Mentored K Awards

NINDS Diversity Career Development (K) Award OPEN Conversations Webinar