The Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00)

The NCI Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) supports outstanding postdoctoral researchers who do not require extended periods of mentored research training beyond their doctoral degrees before transitioning to research independence.  This "Early K99" award will help these researchers to complete needed mentored training and transition in a timely manner to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. The “Early K99” program is designed to suit the career paths of postdoctoral fellows pursuing careers in Data Science and Cancer Control Science, who typically require only a short period of mentored research training beyond their doctoral degrees before obtaining independent faculty positions. Postdoctoral fellows in other areas of NCI-supported research are encouraged to apply to the NIH Parent K99/R00 program (PA-18-397 and PA-18-398).

Each eligible institution may submit a combined total of three applications: one for each of the three scientific areas (Data Science, Cancer Control Science, Other Sciences) that may be submitted to either RFA-CA-19-029 (K99/R00 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) or RFA-CA-19-030 (K99/R00 - Independent Clinical Trial Required).

Slides with Transcript from the Early K99/R00 Informational Webinar held January 2, 2019

Applicant Eligibility

Citizens, Foreign Nationals, and U.S. Visa Holders
  • 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 2 years of postdoctoral research experience (i.e., employment in a research position since completing the requirements for the doctorate) at the time of the application due date.
  • 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 U.S. Visa Holders 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 3 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 3 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

  • Applications must submitted electronically.
  • Applicants must follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, as well as any program-specific instructions in section IV of the Program Announcement.
  • When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.
  • Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For the Early K99/R00 Award:

  • An institutional nomination letter is required
  • An institution may submit a combined total of no more than three applications per due date. These applications may be submitted to either RFA-CA-19-029 and/or RFA-CA-19-030. Additionally, only one application is allowed for each of the three scientific areas (Data Science, Cancer Control Science, Other Sciences) as described here:

    (A) Data Science: an interdisciplinary field of inquiry in which quantitative and analytical approaches, processes, and systems are both developed and used to extract knowledge and insights from increasingly large and/or complex sets of data. This includes cancer-focused data integration and visualization, systems biology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, informatics, genomics, precision oncology, and developing analytics for epidemiological or biostatistical studies.

    (B) Cancer Control Science: basic and applied research in the behavioral, social, and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that, independently or in combination with biomedical approaches, reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity, and mortality, and improve quality of life. This includes research in epidemiology, behavioral sciences, health services, surveillance, cancer survivorship, and healthcare policy.

    (C) Other Sciences: Includes all scientific fields supported by NCI that are not included in (A) or (B). Applicants proposing research in (C) "Other Sciences" may apply only if it is reasonable to expect them to transition to independence with an abbreviated period of mentored research training beyond their original doctoral degrees. 

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

A Letter of Intent, to be submitted by the institution's Authorized Organizational Representative, is requested by January 26, 2019; please send to the Program Staff Contact.

Applications are due on February 26, 2019, at 5 pm local time of the submitting institution. There is only one application due date for these companion Funding Opportunity Announcements.

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

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

NCI Program Staff will screen applications for responsiveness to the Funding Opportunity Announcements.  A Special Emphasis Panel will be convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI to review the applications.

For review criteria for the Early K99 grant mechanism, see Section V. Review Information section of the Funding Opportunity Announcements.

NCI Special Notes

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:

  • Posted: December 27, 2018