The Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)

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The NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) helps outstanding postdoctoral researchers complete needed mentored training and transition in a timely manner to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions.

NCI will accept K99/R00 applications in all areas of cancer research.

Reference the Program Announcement or contact the program staff for more information.

Applicant Eligibility

Citizens, Foreign Nationals and Student Visas
  • There is no citizenship requirement for K99 applicants. An applicant may be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States, have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status), or be a non-U.S. citizen.
  • For applications submitted on behalf of non-U.S. citizens with temporary U.S. visas, visa status during each phase of the K99/R00 Award must allow the PD/PI to conduct the proposed research at the applicant institution.
  • For the K99 phase of the award, the applicant institution is responsible for determining and documenting, in the K99 application, that the candidate’s visa will allow him or her to remain in the U.S. long enough to complete the K99 phase of the award.
  • For the R00 phase of the award, the U.S institution at which the R00 phase of the award will be conducted is responsible for determining and documenting, in the R00 application, that the PD/PI’s visa will allow the PD/PI to remain in the U.S. for the duration of the R00 Award.
Geographic Location K99/R00 recipients must reside in and work at U.S.-based institutions for the duration of the award.
Career Stage

Postdoctoral and Clinical Fellows

  • Applicants must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience (i.e., employment in a research position since completing the requirements for the doctorate) at the time of the initial or the subsequent resubmission or revision application.
  • If an applicant achieves independence (i.e., any faculty or non-mentored research position) before a K99 Award is made, neither the K99 Award, nor the R00 Award, will be issued.
Commitment Candidate must commit a minimum of 9 calendar months (75%) full-time professional effort to the K99/R00 Career Development Award
Duration of Award
  • K99 phase: 1-2 years
  • R00 phase: 1-3 years
  • Up to 5 years of total support
R00 Criteria
Citizens, Foreign Nationals and Student Visas For the R00 phase of the award, the U.S institution at which the R00 phase of the award will be conducted is responsible for determining and documenting, in the R00 application, that the PD/PI's visa will allow the PD/PI to remain in the U.S. for the duration of the R00 Award.
Geographic Location R00 recipients must reside in and work at U.S. based institutions for the duration of the award.
Career Stage Tenure-track full-time assistant professor position (or equivalent) offered and accepted
Institutional Commitment
  • The R00 Institution must provide protected time (9 calendar months or 75% effort) for the duration of the R00 Award.
  • The R00 Institution may not require the use of R00 funds to offset a typical start-up package (salary and other).
  • The R00 Institution must provide assurance that the PI's appointment is not contingent on the transfer of the R00 Award to the institution.
Duration of Award R00 phase: Up to 3 years
Transition Application

The independent phase institution should submit an application on behalf of the candidate for the R00 Award using the PHS 398 Application no later than 2 months prior to the proposed activation date of the R00 Award.

The R00 application must include:

  • A new face page signed by the R00 phase institutional representative
  • A new project description page (the project summary or abstract should be updated to reflect current plans for the R00 phase)
  • Detailed budget pages for a non-modular budget
  • Biographical sketches (PI, collaborators, and consultants)
  • A new Resources page
  • Final Progress Report for the K99 phase
  • An updated research plan (the specific aims should be updated to reflect current plans for the R00 phase and the updated research plan should be briefly described in less than 5 pages)
  • An updated Bibliography & References Cited section
  • A new checklist
  • A letter from the R00 Department or Division Chairman describing the R00 institution's commitment to the candidate and plans for his/her career development
  • A final evaluation statement by the K99 phase mentor

Human Subjects

If the proposed research involves human subjects, provide:

  • An updated Human Subjects section, including an "Inclusion Enrollment Report"
  • Current IRB approval or expected approval date (award is not made until final IRB approval is granted)

Vertebrate Animals

If the proposed research involves vertebrate animals, provide:

  • An updated Vertebrate Animals section (IACUC approval is JIT information)
  • Award is not made until final IACUC approval is granted
Application Due Date At least 2 months prior to the proposed activation date of the R00 Award

Budget

Financial Support
K99 Phase
Salary Support** Up to $100K/year + fringe benefits
Research Development Support: Research and Career Development Activities Up to $30K/year
F&A Costs/Indirect Costs 8%
Ancillary Personnel Support: Salary for Mentors, Secretarial and Administrative Assistance, etc. Not allowed
R00 Phase
Salary Research Development Support: Research and Career Development Activities F&A/ Indirect Costs Up to $249K/year
Ancillary Personnel Support: Salary for Mentors, Secretarial and Administrative Assistance, etc. Not allowed
Salary for Postdoctoral, Technician, Lab Manager Support Allowed

** The requested salary must be consistent with a) the established salary structure at the institution and b) with salaries actually provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members with equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned.

How to Apply

For assistance with application submission, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and/or contact eRA Commons Help Desk/Grant.gov contact Center.

Application Receipt Dates and Review Schedule
Receipt Cycle Receipt Date: New Application Receipt Date: Resubmission Initial Review Council Review Earliest Possible Start Date*
1 February 12 March 12 June/July September/October December
2 June 12 July 12 October/November January/February April
3 October 12 November 12 February/March May/June July

* Start dates are determined by the availability of NCI funds and may not occur until well after the earliest possible start date.

Applications are due by 5 pm local time.

When a standard submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Review and Selection Process

An appropriate Scientific Review Group (or groups), along with NCI, and the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) will evaluate your application for conformance with eligibility requirements. Subcommittee I, convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI, will determine if it meets the broad needs of the program and priorities of NCI and the National Cancer Program.

For review criteria for the K99/R00 grant mechanism, see the Review Criteria section of the Program Announcement.

NCI Special Notes

Use of Model Systems

The proposed research may include model systems, including animal models. Work developing or refining model systems will be supported only if the proposed research objectives actively test the relevance of the model to human cancer.

Data Sharing

Under the NIH Data Sharing Policy, grantees are expected to engage in a timely release of final data sets that have been generated with NIH support for use by other researchers, provide a Data Sharing Plan that will achieve this objective, OR state why data sharing is not possible or appropriate.

Resources

NCI Staff Contacts

For additional information regarding policies and/or guidance in preparing an application for the K99/R00 Award, contact:

For information regarding fiscal and/or budget issues, contact:

For information regarding referral and review issues, contact:

  • Referral Officer
    Division of Extramural Activities
    Phone: 240-276-6390
    Fax: 240-276-7682
  • Updated: July 8, 2015