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The NCI Transition Career Development Award (K22)

Frequently Asked Questions

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The NCI Transition Career Development Award (K22) supports mentored, non-independent investigators ready to transition to independent academic faculty positions.

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. 

For more complete information, reference the funding opportunity PAR-24-117 (K22 Independent Clinical Trial Optional), and/or contact the program staff.

The objective of the NCI Transition Career Development Award (K22) is to provide support to mentored, non-independent investigators in transitioning to their first independent tenure-track faculty cancer research positions, or their equivalent. It is expected that the Research Plan be based on the candidate’s original project ideas and/or hypotheses. The K22 project can be within the overall scope of the postdoctoral 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 or approach that is distinct from the mentor’s pending or active research grants.

NCI will not support both a K22 award and an active or pending research grant that propose substantially the same research.

NCI Extension Guidance for Eligibility Window for K22 awards

Extension of Eligibility Window for Childbirth: NCI will approve a K22 eligibility extension of 1 year for childbirth for women applicants within the 8-year eligibility window beginning with the October 12, 2021 due date for application submission. Applicants who will be the PD/PI on a K22 application must provide the child’s date of birth in the extension request justification to the NCI program director listed in the NOFOs at least 12 weeks before submitting an application. Men, those who have adopted children, and same-sex partners of individuals giving birth are not eligible for the automatic one-year extension for childbirth, but, can request an extension for childbirth or adoption-related time away from research that will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Temporary Extension of Eligibility Window due to COVID-19-related Disruptions: Under normal circumstances, individuals must have no more than 8 years of post-terminal degree research experience to be eligible to apply for a K22 award. However, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NCI will consider providing up to a 2-receipt cycle extension (roughly 8 additional months) of eligibility for prospective applicants whose research training has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, who are in their eighth year of post-terminal degree research training, and who started their postdoctoral training by the end of 2020. Prospective applicants should submit an eligibility extension request to their relevant NCI program official and provide an appropriate justification for the requested extension time period. Multiple extensions for events occurring during the same time period (e.g., childbirth during the COVOD-19 pandemic) will not be permitted, but rather, prospective K22 candidates may only receive an extension for one category for events that occurred within overlapping time periods.

In addition, prospective K22 applicants whose research training has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are advised to submit a request to extend their ESI status.

Applicant Eligibility


At the time of the award, the candidate must be:

  • a citizen of the United States
  • or a noncitizen 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 needed at the time of award issuance.

Foreign Nationals with Student Visas Not eligible for this award
Career Stage

Clinical or research fellows working in all areas of cancer research ready to transition to independent academic tenure-track assistant faculty positions.

  • Applicants must have ≥ 2 years and ≤ 8 years of mentored, non-independent research training experience after the terminal doctorate at the time of application, including re-submission.
  • Individuals who currently hold, or previously held, a tenure-track faculty position, or its equivalent, are not eligible.
  • Individuals who currently have, or previously had, an individual NIH career development award, or its equivalent, are not eligible.
Effort Level/ Commitment Candidate must commit a minimum of 9 person months (75%) full-time professional effort to the K22 Career Development Award.
Duration of Award 3 years; the K22 Award is not renewable


Financial Support

Salary Up to $100K/year + fringe benefits
Research Development Support: Salaries for Technical Support, Consultant Costs, Equipment, Supplies, 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 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 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

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

ZCA1 RTRB-R(02) Special Emphasis Panel 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 K22 grant mechanism, see Section V. Application Review Information of the Program Announcement.


NCI Staff Contacts

For additional information regarding policies and/or guidance in preparing an application for the K22 Award, contact:

  • Dr. Sonia B. Jakowlew (PI last name beginning with A-M)
    Program Director
  • Dr. Michael Schmidt (PI last name beginning with N-Z)
    Program Director
  • Phone: 240-276-5630

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

For information regarding review issues, contact:

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