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Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08)

Frequently Asked Questions

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The NCI Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) provides support and "protected time" to postdoctoral and non-tenured junior faculty ( e.g., Assistant Professor or equivalent) clinician-scientists for intensive mentored research and career development activities in basic, translational, and/or patient-oriented cancer-focused research. The application will not be considered for funding if the PD/PI has already been promoted to Associate Professor or an equivalent position at the time of the award.

Note: The details on this page are for informational purposes only. Please read and follow all requirements and instructions in the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) and the Table of IC-Specific Information linked therein before applying for an award. Application review information is described in the funding opportunity. If you have any questions before submitting your application, please contact the relevant NCI program staff listed at the end of this page.  

Eligible candidates must be clinicians who practice in the United States. Candidates (other than surgeon-scientist) are required to devote a minimum of 9 person-months (75% full-time professional effort) to the K08 award. Candidates must maintain an active clinical license during the K08 award. A copy of active U.S. licensure, surgical training (if applicable), and relevant information must be included in the application under "Other Attachments".

NCI allows U.S.-licensed surgeon-scientists with active surgical duties to request less than the required 9 person-months (75% full-time professional effort) under a K08 mentored career development award. They may not request less than 6 person-months (50% full-time professional effort) devoted to research and career development activities. The K08 applications from surgeon-scientists requesting reduced (less than 75%) effort must provide a justification clearly stating the reason(s) for the reduced effort in (1) Candidate's Plan for Career Development/Training Activities during the award period, (2) Mentor's letter, and (3) Institutional commitment letter. For details, please see NOT-CA-21-054

Surgeon-scientists on the currently active K08 grants may submit effort reduction requests to NCI. Submitted requests must include a strong justification for the effort reduction by the grantee and his/her mentor and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  

For more complete information, reference the Program Announcements PA-20-201 (Parent K08 Independent Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)PA-20-202 (Parent K08- Independent Clinical Trial Required), and PA-20-203 (Parent K08- Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed), as well as  NOT-CA-17-042, and/or contact the program staff.

NCI-specific guidance on the overlap between K08 applications and the mentor’s pending/active grants: The K08 provides support and protected time for an intensive, mentored research career development experience in biomedical, translational, or patient-oriented research. It is expected that the Research Plan be based on the candidate’s original ideas and/or hypotheses. The K08 project can be within the overall scope of the mentor’s research awards. However, there should be no text duplication or duplication of the scientific aims, and the candidate’s application should propose a scientific research question that is distinct from the mentor’s pending or active research grants.

NCI will not support both a K08 and an active or pending research grant that propose substantially the same research.

Applicant Eligibility


At the time of the award the candidate must be:

  • a United States citizen,
  • or a non-citizen national,
  • or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.

Citizenship or green card is not needed to apply. Citizenship or green card is required at the time of award issuance.

Foreign Nationals with Student Visas Not eligible for this award
Degree/Academic Appointment

The candidate must be a clinician with active U.S. clinical licensure. Acceptable clinical doctoral degrees include (but not limited to) the following:

  • M.D.
  • D.O.
  • D.D.S.
  • D.M.D.
  • O.D.
  • D.C.
  • Pharm. D.
  • N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy)
  • D.V.M.

Individuals with a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree in clinical disciplines such as clinical psychology, nursing, clinical genetics, speech-language pathology, audiology, or rehabilitation are also eligible. Individuals with doctorates in non-clinical disciplines who are certified to perform clinical duties should contact program staff to determine their eligibility for a K08 award.

Effort Level/ Commitment

Candidate must commit a minimum of 9 person-months (75%) full-time professional effort to the K08 Career Development Award.

Surgeon-scientists with surgical duties may request 6-9 person-months (50%-75% full-time professional effort) to the K08. A clear justification must be provided in the application when requesting less than 75% full-time professional effort (less than 9 person-months).

Duration of the Award 3-5 years; the K08 Award is not renewable


Financial Support

Salary (NOT-CA-17-042) Up to legislative salary cap + fringe benefits
Research Development Support: Tuition/Fees, Supplies/Equipment, Travel, and Statistical Support Up to $50K/year
F&A Costs/Indirect Costs 8%
Ancillary Personnel Support: Salary for Mentors, Secretarial and Administrative Assistance, etc. Not allowed

How to Apply

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

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

Application Receipt Dates and Review Schedule

Receipt Cycle Receipt Date: New Application Receipt Date: Resubmission Application Initial Review Council Review Earliest Possible Project Start Date*
1 February 12 March 12 June/July September/
2 June 12 July 12 October/
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

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) review applications for completeness and conformance to all eligibility requirements and special provisions and requirements. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Subcommittee J, convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI, evaluates applications according to the review criteria listed in the Program Announcement. Before an award is made, the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) conducts a second level of review and ensures that an application meets the broad program needs and priorities of the NCI and the National Cancer Program.

For review criteria for the K08 grant mechanism, see Section V.  Application Review Information of the Program Announcement.


NCI-Specific Information

Can I have other awards and still be eligible for the K08 award?  
You are not eligible to receive the K08 award if you are a current or former PD/PI on an NIH research project (R01), program project (P01), center grant (P50), other major individual career development award (e.g., K01, K07, K08, K22, K23, K25, K76, K99/R00), or Project Leader of a program project (P01) or center grant (P50) sub-projects, or the equivalent. Current and former PDs/PIs of an NIH Small Grant (R03), Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21), Planning Grant (R34/U34), Dissertation Award (R36), or SBIR/STTR (R41, R42, R43, R44) remain eligible, as do PDs/PIs of Transition Scholar (K38) awards and individuals appointed to institutional K programs (K12, KL2).  

Will being a Co-Investigator on an R01 or R01-like NIH award affect my eligibility for the K08 award?  
No, the designation of a co-Investigator (co-I) does not affect a candidate’s eligibility for the K08 award. Only being a PI or MPI on a major NIH grant (R01 or R01-like) will make you ineligible for the K08 award.  

Can I apply for five years of support on the K08 award if I have been (or am) a scholar on a K12 or KL2 institutional training grant?  
Yes. NCI does not have a limit on cumulative K12(KL2) + K08 support. However, you need to provide strong justification in the application for the additional period of mentored training.  

NCI Staff Contacts

For additional information regarding policies and/or guidance in preparing an application for the K08 Award, send NIH Biosketch with brief research aims to contact:

  • Dr. Susan Lim 
    Program Director ( K08 Non-Clinical Trial funding opportunity, States: CT, CO, MA )
  • Dr.  Sergey Radaev
    Program Director ( All K08 Clinical Trial, and K08 BESH, Non-Clinical Trial funding opportunity: States: A )
  • Dr. Yansong Bian
    Program Director ( K08 Non-clinical Trial funding opportunity: States: MD-W )
  • Dr. Corinne Boulanger-Espeut
    Program Director ( K08 Non-clinical Trial funding opportunity: States: CA, D-L )

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

  • Amy Bartosch
    Grant Administrative Branch
    Email: Grants Administration Branch

For information regarding review issues, contact:

  • Referral Officer
    • Division of Extramural Activities
      Phone: 240-276-6390
  • Updated: