Published November 3, 2021
The 2022 University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute K Scholar Program, which offers research mentoring, career and professional development, and funding to outstanding junior faculty and senior fellows transitioning to independent faculty positions, will launch with a Request for Proposals (RFP) release on November 15.
Following the release of the RFP, Letters of Intent (LOI) are due on January 3, 2022. An LOI coaching session will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on November 22; register here.
The coaching session will feature CTSI K Scholar Program Lead/KL2 Principal Investigator Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion; Director, CTSI Workforce Development Core, CTSI; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; KL2 Co-Investigator/Associate Program Lead/CTSI K Scholar Program Steering Committee Member Oscar Gomez, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Division Chief, Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Jacobs School; and KL2 Co-Investigator Jessica L. Reynolds, PhD, Associate Director, CTSI Workforce Development Core, and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School.
“We are excited to launch the 2022 K Scholar Program to attract, select, and mentor the next generation of talented junior clinical and translational scientists,” Dubocovich says.
New treatments for disease, strategies to reduce health disparities
The K Scholar program is designed for scholars from health science and clinical disciplines — medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, dental, bioengineering and others — whose research is focused on new treatments for diseases and to improve health, as well as innovative methods and strategies to reduce the detrimental consequences of health disparities. Junior faculty and senior fellows transitioning to junior faculty positions are eligible to apply.
Each 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 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.
The CTSI K Scholar Program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers KL2TR001413 and UL1TR001412 to the University at Buffalo.
An ’extremely valuable’ experience
In an article from 2020, CTSI K Scholar alumni spoke to the positive impact the program has had on their career development and grant applications.
“[It] provided time, mentorship, and training that allowed me to focus on writing papers and grants, and developing my leadership and other crucial skills, resulting in publications, grant submissions, and an academic promotion,” explained Bonnie Vest, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Jacobs School. “Combined with the opportunities to meet scholars from so many disciplines and perspectives — which will hopefully lead to future opportunities and collaborations — this experience was extremely valuable in supporting my career development.” Vest now serves on the CTSI K Scholar Program Leadership Team.
“Several training and career development activities were undertaken over the course of the award, including participation in seminars on grant-writing, teaching effectiveness, and translational teamwork, as well as biostatistics workshops,” added Jason Davies, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Bioinformatics, Jacobs School. “These activities helped to further both the present research enterprise as well as supporting further grant applications.”
The CTSI highlights current and past CTSI K Scholars via its newsletters, website, and social media. Examples include K Scholar alumnus David M. Jacobs, PharmD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who received a $962,000 award from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in June to develop a real-time readmission risk-prediction algorithm to lower hospital readmission rates for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition, outside media stories highlighting K Scholar alumnus Jason Muhitch, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Department of Immunology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, were featured in the Translational Spotlight “Faculty Headlines” section in September 2020 and July 2021.
CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, calls the K Scholar Program “a terrific training experience that is designed specifically to maximize success in transitioning to an independent faculty position and winning major extramural funding. The mentoring and training provided by the program is so important during this point in an academic career.”
Key dates for applicants
Following the RFP release on November 15, the LOI coaching session on November 22, and the LOI deadline on January 3, 2022, applications are reviewed and ranked by members of the CTSI K Scholar 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.
Applicants will be notified by January 17 of their status for the next step — the full application due March 18. An application coaching session is planned for January 25.
Applicant interviews will be held between May 16 and 20, and the Steering Committee will rank the top candidates based on qualifications and interview feedback. CTSI K Scholar appointments will begin on July 1.