KL2 Mentored Career Development Award Program

Call for Applications flowchart.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award-linked KL2 Mentored Career Development Award (MCDA) Program offers research mentoring, career and professional development and funding to outstanding junior faculty and senior fellows transitioning to independent faculty positions.

This mentored career development award is funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number KL2TR001413 to the University at Buffalo.

A. Overview

The Clinical and Translational Science Award-linked KL2 Mentored Career Development Award (KL2-MCDA) offers funding to outstanding junior faculty and senior fellows transitioning to junior faculty. This program is funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers UL1TR001412 and KL2TR001413 to the University at Buffalo.

The overall goal of the KL2-MCDA is training, mentoring and development of an interprofessional, interdisciplinary, and ethnically/racially/culturally diverse clinical and translational workforce with skills to meet the healthcare and research needs of our communities, the region and the nation. The program engages talented, motivated scholars from different health science and clinical disciplines (e.g., medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, dental, bioengineering, and others), to join the clinical and translational science workforce to develop new treatments for diseases and innovative methods to mitigate or eliminate health disparities.

The KL2-MCDA program will provide research training and mentoring in clinical and translational science to outstanding junior faculty in health science disciplines. Specifically, the KL2-MCDA program will facilitate the development of Scholars’ professional skills and the transition to their next career level within the clinical and translational workforce pipeline.

Each KL2 Scholar will receive support to cover partial salary (up to $75,000 plus fringe benefits per year towards 75% protected time), and research, tuition and travel costs ($35,000/year) for up to two years. Scholars may receive federal/non-federal funds to cover the additional 25% salary support. Please note that if the funds being used for the remaining 25% are from other supporting grant(s) (federal and/or non-federal), it is required that the Specific Aims of these grants differ from the aims proposed in the KL2 award. 

Scholars are encouraged to apply for individual K awards or equivalent mentored awards, or appropriate R type awards during the two-year program. Scholars will have the opportunity to apply for an additional third year of funding, which may be granted upon objective review based on productivity, future plans and availability of funding.

Note:  These guidelines follow the NIH instructions for K-awards applications to facilitate transition from the KL2 Scholars award to other individual NIH K-awards. Please refer to the (Funding Opportunity Announcement) FOA for K01, K08, K23 or others as apply to your research and career goals, for recommended content on career development plans, letters of support, research plans and other parts of the application.

B. Program Requirements

1. Applicants must define and conduct a clinical or translational research project.

2. Applicants must identify a multidisciplinary mentoring team with extensive clinical and/or translational research experience where one of the members is willing to serve as the primary research mentor

  • The primary research mentor should have sufficient independent research support in an area related to the KL2 Scholar’s research proposal to cover the costs of the proposed research project that exceed the Scholar’s research funds provided by the KL2 award. If the mentor does not have sufficient funding and/or is awaiting award of a competitive renewal, a letter from the Department Chair or School Dean that commits to covering excess costs will be acceptable

3. Applicants must commit 75% (nine calendar months) of full-time effort on research and career development activities associated with the KL2-MCDA program. The remaining three months’ effort can be devoted to clinical, teaching and/or research activities consistent with the Scholar’s departmental responsibilities.

  • Note: Scholars in specific clinical specialties (e.g., surgery) may commit less than 75% effort - but no less than 50% effort - if sufficiently justified by the need to maintain critical clinical skills. Salary support will be prorated as appropriate.

4. Preference for funding will be given to outstanding applicants who bring novel approaches towards reducing health disparities in clinical populations and/or applicants with experiences and/or attributes aimed at increasing diversity in the clinical and translational workforce. This includes, but is not limited to having lived or worked in diverse and/or socioeconomic disadvantaged environments, overcoming physical impairments, bringing new and alternative perspectives and approaches to increase educational outcomes and excellence in clinical and translational science, and/or being a member of group(s) traditionally underrepresented in this discipline.

C. Applicant Eligibility

  1. Applicant must have a research or health professional doctoral degree or its equivalent, i.e.: MD, MD/PhD, DO, DDS, DMD, PharmD, DNP or PhD. 
  2. All candidates must be US citizens, naturalized citizens or permanent residents. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
  3. Postdoctoral, or senior research fellows, must include a letter from the division chief/department chair/dean agreeing to appoint the KL2 Scholar as faculty member on or before the award start date.
  4. Applicants are not eligible for the Scholar award if they:

    a.)      Have simultaneously submitted or have a pending application for any other PHS mentored career development award (e.g.: K07, K08, K12, K22, K23, other) that duplicates any of the provisions of the KL2 MCDA program.

    b.)      Have been or are a current principal investigator (PI) on any NIH research project grant (this does not include NIH Small Grants (R03) or Exploratory/ Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents), or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 direct costs per year. Current/former PIs on any NIH research project grants or non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are $100,000 or less direct costs per year (one time) are still eligible to apply. Please note that startup funds do not count towards the $100,000 threshold.

    c.)      Have been or are project leaders on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (P50, P60, US54).

    d.)      Have been or are currently PI on an NIH individual mentored career development award (e.g.: K01, K07, K08, K23, K99 award or equivalent).

  5. Applicants are still eligible for the Scholar award if they had support on an NRSA grant (F or T) or have been PI of an NIH small grant (R03 or R21).
  6. Funding from the Scholar award will be for a maximum of two years. After the two-year period Scholars must have salary support from an individual K award, R01, R21 or equivalent, from the department, school, mentor or a combination. The letter from the Department Chair and/or the Dean must indicate the plans to support the scholar after completion of the two years of KL2 funding.
  7. A third year of support by institutional funds could be granted upon objective review of progress/future plans with priority given to Scholars with a K or R grant under submission, and in the process of completing an Advanced CTSI Certification or master’s degree.
  8. Appointed Scholars are strongly encouraged to apply for individual mentored K awards (e.g.: K07, K08, K22 and K23) or R awards (R01, R21, R03) during the first year. Any plans to submit such an application between the KL2 award application date and potential start date must be disclosed. If successful in obtaining a K or R award the KL2 Scholar appointment and funding will be terminated once individual funding is initiated. 

D. Application Materials

D1. Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent (LOI) must include the following items (one page):

1.    Name of Applicant and affiliation [attach new NIH-style Biosketch].

2.    Name of Primary Research Mentor and affiliation [attach new NIH-style Biosketch].    

3.    Title of mentored award research project.

4.    Brief description of expected career and professional development goals.

5.    Research project: overall hypothesis, specific aims and relevance to health disparities.

6.    Signed Eligibility Statement: “I attest that I comply with the grant award eligibility conditions described under C4a-d” (not included in page limit).

  • Submit the LOI as a single PDF via email to Ashley Regling (scholar1@buffalo.edu) by               2:00 pm on February 3, 2020.
  • LOIs will be reviewed and select candidates will be invited to submit a full application the week of February 10, 2020.

D2. Complete Full Application Components

Applications must be assembled in the order described below, compliant with stated page limits, and submitted in a single PDF via email to:

Ashley Regling (scholar1@buffalo.edu) by 5:00 pm on March 20, 2020.

1.    Cover Page: Include the name of the applicant, title of proposal, names of primary research mentors, and a list of all individuals providing letters of support (e.g., research mentor, quantitative mentor, other mentors, department chairs, institute directors, etc.). Cover letter must be endorsed by the applicant’s Department Chair/School Dean.

2.    NIH Biosketch: An NIH-style Biosketch in the new format must be provided including a section on “Other Support”, outlining both past and present other support.

3.    Proof of US citizenship or permanent residency.

4.    Photocopy of doctoral degree.

5.    Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development: This section should be maximum six pages, in Arial 11-point font with 0.5-inch margins (left, right, top and bottom). State reasons for pursuing a career in clinical and translational research. Describe background, interests and experiences that prepare the candidate for the award; specific plans and timeline for meeting educational and career development goals during the award; plans to interact with mentors; how the research project and career/educational plan will facilitate overall long term career development goals. Please complete the attached Individual Development Plan (IDP), a tool to stay on course towards achieving your career development goals and to focus discussions with your mentors (IDP template linked under "Post Award").

6.    Research Plan: Arial 11-point font with 0.5-inch margins (left, right, top and bottom). The research approach to be completed within the two-years of the award. The work is expected to generate sufficient data to allow the KL2-MCDA award recipient to submit an externally funded career development or independent research project award application.

a.    Research Abstract: (1 page). Summarize the research project and career goals.

b.    Research Strategy

  • Specific Aims, including hypotheses and significance (1 page)
  • Research Plan (6 pages)

                    -Background, significance and innovation

                    -Preliminary Studies (if available):  

                    -Research Design and Methods (including strengths and limitations)

  • Training in Responsible Conduct of Research (1 page)
  • Human Subjects (not included in page limit)

                -Note: Although the IRB protocol can be listed as pending, no research funds will be released until the full IRB for your study is approved.

  • Vertebrate Subjects (not included in page limit)

                -Note: Although the IACUC protocol can be listed as pending, no research funds will be released until the full IACUC for your study is approved.

  • Literature Cited (not included in page limit).

7.    Diversity Statement (1 page): Include statement(s) indicating planned efforts to increase workforce diversity and inclusion, excellence in educational outcomes and in translational and clinical research and/or in bringing new perspectives and experiences to accelerate research to reduce health disparities gaps.

8.    Budget: A separate budget for each of the two years detailing your research expenses using the budget form provided. The budget form and instructions will be made available to those applicants selected to submit a full application.

9.    Budget Justification: Provide a budget justification explaining in detail each item included in the budget.

10. Grant Support: List all current sources of grant support past, present and pending. Use the NIH-type “Other Support Form” and include total direct costs for each year, total period of support, effort, description of scope of the grant, your role in the project.

11. Timeline (maximum 1 page): Timeline for research and career development activity during the two years award period.

12. Letters: The following letters are required:

a.    Letters of Commitment from: (Please attach to the application)

       i.    Current Research Mentor and Co-Mentors (if identified) and their commitment to mentoring and research support to the candidate. Please include NIH style Bio-sketches.

       ii.   Collaborators if any.

       iii.   Department Chair stating commitment to faculty appointment at the time of award.

b.    Letters of recommendation from two previous mentors. Please have letters sent directly to Ashley Regling (scholar1@buffalo.edu) by March 20, 2020 (no exceptions will be made). 

E. Criteria For Review, Selection and Appointment Process

1.    Candidate Review: Applications are reviewed and ranked by members of the KL2 Steering Committee and specially appointed consultants with expertise in the area of research proposed by the candidate. All applications are reviewed using strict NIH guidelines, with attention to confidentially practices.

  • Clinical and translational research focus, and potential to promote diversity, inclusion and research in health disparities within the CTSA workforce (see above).
  • Research potential, previous and current commitment to research as evidenced in publications, presentations and letters of support.
  • Likelihood of developing into an independent, extramurally funded investigator.
  • Scientific quality, innovation and significance of the research plan and career goals.
  • Excellence of academic, training and research records of the candidate.
  • Qualifications of the mentors, commitment and financial support to the candidate by the primary research mentor and/or department chair/school dean.

2.    Candidate Selection: The Program Lead in conjunction with the KL2 Steering Committee recommendations will make the final selection. Members of the KL2 Steering Committee, including the Program Lead and Associate Program Lead will interview selected eligible candidates in person. The selected pool of finalists will present their research and career plans, discuss career goals, and answer questions from the committee. The KL2 Steering Committee will rank the top candidates based on qualifications and interview feedback.

3.    Candidate Appointment: The Program Lead will make offers. Upon acceptance into the program, additional letters will be required from the School Dean and the Chair of the home department confirming that a minimum of 75% of the KL2 Scholar’s time will be devoted to mentored research and professional development activities.

Individual Scholar’s funding for the second year is contingent on demonstration of satisfactory progress towards Scholars’ research career goals. A third year of funding may be granted upon objective review, demonstration of significant productivity and availability of funding.

F. Post Award

1.    Structure and Components of the Program: The KL2-MCDA program comprises research, educational, mentoring, teaching and professional development components. Completion of certificates and/or degrees is optional and will be incorporated in the Scholar’s training program in consultation with and approval by the Scholar's Mentoring Committee and KL2 Steering Committee (see attached Clinical and Translational Research Competencies). The Scholar will be required to attend bi-monthly meetings on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00–5:00 pm (or other day TBD) during the Fall and Spring semesters to complete the program requirements.  

2.    Scholar Mentoring and Professional Development Plan

a.    Mentoring Team. Each Scholar will identify a Primary Scientific Mentor ideally from the KL2 mentor pool, with expertise in the area of research described in the KL2 application. The Mentoring Team will include the Primary Scientific Mentor, a KL2 Mentor from the pool, a Quantitative Mentor, and the Scholar acting as his/her own Self-Mentor. Distant or local mentors can be included based on needs.  The KL2 Program Lead could assist in identifying a KL2 Mentor and/or a Quantitative Mentor upon request.

b.    Mentoring Plan. The mentoring and professional development plan will be developed at the beginning of the two-year program by the Scholar, mentoring team, the Program Lead, and the Associate Program Lead. The plan will be also reviewed and approved by the KL2 Steering Committee. The KL2 Scholar will complete a report of activities three times per year and present his/her research progress and career developmental plans to the Steering Committee once a year. The Program Lead will communicate feedback from the committee to the KL2 Scholar and mentors. When necessary, the KL2 Scholar will provide a revised research plan to the KL2 Program Lead and KL2 Steering Committee for a second review. The final research and mentoring plan will be shared with the Scholar’s Department Chair as appropriate.

KL2 Scholars are required to submit the following every six months to the KL2 Program Lead:

  • Updated CV
  • Progress Report (template provided, signed by Scholar and his/her mentors)
  • Scholar’s Individual Developmental Plan Certification (IDP) of completion as well accomplishments and changes implemented to the original IDP.
  • Completed required surveys

c.    Mentor Training Workshop Series. The Scholar and mentor are required to complete the Mentor Training Workshop Series offered annually using face-to-face interactive modules.

d.    Community Advisors: Each Scholar will be matched with a community advisor specializing in the Scholar’s area of research. The goal is for the Scholar and community advisor to develop a lasting partnership. The community advisor will participate in Scholar’s annual Steering Committee meeting evaluations and attend other KL2 and CTSI events throughout the year.

3.    Core Curriculum (all required)

Scholars completing the basic curriculum will be awarded a CTSI Basic Certificate, and will also be eligible for the award of micro-credentials for completion of specific groups of Core Competency Workshop Series.

a.    Ethics. To meet the NIH ethics training requirement Scholars are required to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online training every three years, and the core competency workshop series on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Scholars conducting research involving human subjects will be also required  to complete the core competency workshop series on Good Clinical Practice (GCP), and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Best Practices in Social and Behavioral Research (SBR) e-Learning Course when appropriate.

b.    Work-In-Progress Sessions. The Scholars are required to give an oral presentation annually on the current state of their research. Scholars receive feedback from their peers, the KL2 Leadership Team and Community of Scholars.

c.    Advanced K to R Grant Writing Workshop Series. Scholars are required to participate and complete the Advanced K to R Grant Writing Workshop Series prior to submission of an individual K or R grant award.

d.    Professional Development Workshop Series. Scholars will attend monthly Professional Development workshops aimed at enhancing professional development, career success and job satisfaction.

e.    CTSI Cores Presentations. During the first year of the program, the Scholars are required to attend presentations by the CTSI core leaders focused on how the Scholar may utilize the cores to enhance research.

f.     CTSI Core Competency Workshop Series. The Scholars are required to complete four out of the ten CTSI Core Competency Workshop Series as listed below. In addition, they will also complete optional CTSI Core Competency Workshop Series selected based on the mentoring plan discussed with mentors and KL2 Program Lead at the beginning of the program.  

  • Leadership
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Scientific Communication
  • Statistical Research Boot Camp (part of the Statistics workshop series)
  • Translational Teamwork

g.    Courses. The Scholars will be required to complete the following online courses:

  • Introduction to Translational Science offered by the University at Rochester CTSA hub
  • Fundamentals of Clinical and Translational Research (FaCToR) offered by the Harvard University CTSA hub.

h.    Annual CTSI Forum: The Scholars will be required to attend and will be invited to present during the CTSI Annual Forum.

i.     CTSI Distinguished Seminar Series. The Scholar will be required to attend seminars hosted by the CTSI in conjunction with the University at Buffalo health science schools.

j.     Community of Scholars (COS): All Scholars will become members of the Community of Scholars (COS) and will assist in the leadership and organization of events, including:

  • COS Seminar Series: These seminars feature world-renowned speakers focused on providing career and professional development advice.
  • Dialogues in the Discipline: Focused on community outreach within the Buffalo community to reduce the impact of health disparities and increase access to healthcare.

4.    Optional Curriculum

Scholars will have the option to complete course work and short internships towards the award of CTSI Advance Certifications in various disciplines which could result in a master’s degree upon completion of additional course work.   Specific tracks are:

  • Applied Biostatistics
  • Clinical Investigations
  • Preclinical Bench Research
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Community Engagement

a.    Additional CTSI Core Competency Workshop Series: Scholars will complete optional Core Competency Workshop Series aimed to enhance appropriate professional development skills based on the mentoring plans discussed with mentors and the KL2 Program Lead at the beginning of the program. These optional CTSI Core Competency Workshop Series are:

  • Teaching Effectiveness
  • Good Clinical Practices
  • Statistics
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Community-University Collaborations in Research
  • Research Implementation

b.    Teaching and Mentoring: The Scholar will be encouraged to participate in research teaching and mentoring of high school, undergraduate, undergraduate summer students and/or MD and PhD students.

c.    Outreach: The Scholar will participate in outreach activities to enhance and promote careers in science among K-12 students.

d.    Scholar Exchange Program. The Scholar will have the opportunity to visit the University of Rochester CTSA hub to deliver a research seminar, meet with students and faculty, and participate in a mock job interview.

e.    Team Science Video Game. The Scholar will be invited to participate in an interactive team science video game developed by the University of California San Diego CTSA hub designed to enhance his/her team science skills.

5.    Contacts

Principal Investigator and Program Lead:           

Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD    (mdubo@buffalo.edu)

Co-Investigator and Associate Program Lead

Oscar G. Gomez, MD, PhD        (oscargom@buffalo.edu)

Scientific Workforce Specialist

Ashley Regling, MA                    (scholar1@buffalo.edu or 716-829-4718)

6.    Website

KL2 Mentored Career Development Program  


7.    Attachments

8.    Submission Instructions

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) due:         February 3, 2020 (2:00 pm)
  • Full Application due:                    March 20, 2020 (5:00 pm)

Submit the Letter of intent (LOI) and the Full Application each as a single PDF by email to Ashley Regling (scholar1@buffalo.edu)

           Email Subject LineKL2 Scholar Award – 2020

9.    Funding

This program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers UL1TR001412 and KL2TR001413 to the University at Buffalo, and the Buffalo Translational Consortium Funds. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

10.    Timeline for KL2 Applications

RFA Timeline.

11.    Future Call for KL2-MCDA Applications

The next call for KL2 Mentored Career Development Award applications will be in January 2022 with a start date of July 1, 2022.