Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08)
The NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Awards provides 3-5* years of support to individuals with a clinical doctoral degree for an intensive, supervised research career development experience in the fields of biomedical and behavioral research, including translational research. The expectation is that, through this sustained period of research career development and training, awardees will launch independent research careers.
*See Additional Information below regarding duration of support.
Notices of funding opportunities
PA-20-202 - Parent K08 - Independent Clinical Trial Required
PA-20-203 - Parent K08 - Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed
PA-20-201 - Parent K08 - Independent Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required
For NIH’s Definition of a Clinical Trial, please visit https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/definition.htm .
New applications: February 12, June 12, October 12
Resubmissions: March 12, July 12, November 12
AIDS applications: May 7, September 7, January 7
The K08 award is available to individuals with a clinical doctoral degree. K08 applicants applying to the NIMH should have no more than 6 years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or resubmission application. Postdoctoral research is defined as any time spent conducting research or publishing research results following completion of all degree requirements, which may not correspond with the date of the graduation ceremony. This includes any time spent at the institution where the doctoral degree was completed prior to starting an official postdoctoral position. Clinical training does not count towards the 6-year eligibility window. With appropriate justification, and on a case-by-case basis, NIMH will consider extending this eligibility time frame (see K Award Eligibility Extensions).
By the time of award, the applicant must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or 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).
U.S. domestic institutions
Foreign components allowed
An application must include a strong and credible plan for the applicant's transition to research independence, including milestones, and evidence of significant institutional commitment to the continued development of the K08 applicant as an independent researcher at the applicant institution. Applicants are expected to plan to apply for independent research support during the later years of their mentored career award.
At the time of award, the applicant must have a “full-time” appointment at the applicant institution. Applicants (other than neurosurgeons) must devote a minimum of 75% full-time professional effort to research and career development activities associated with the K award. Neurosurgeons must devote a minimum of 50% full-time professional effort to research and career development activities associated with the K award. Applicants may engage in other duties as part of the professional effort not covered by this award, as long as such duties do not interfere with or detract from the proposed career development program.
NIMH encourages applicants to limit the requested support to no more than four years. If they are proposing more than four years of support, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact an NIMH Research Training and Career Development Program Officer. Program staff will evaluate whether the requested duration of support is appropriately justified, taking into consideration prior research experience, the extent and duration of needed career development activities, and the timeline needed to complete the proposed research activities. Applications requesting five years of support without pre-submission approval may be programmatically reduced to four years of support.
Salary and research support
Salary support: Up to $100,000 plus fringe benefits per year.
Research support: Up to $50,000.
NIMH will support a salary allowance that is commensurate with the actual level of effort, up to the allowable cap for that program, based on a full-time 12-month position.
The requested salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members with equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned. The recipient institution may supplement the NIH salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale. The total salary may not exceed the legislatively mandated salary cap .
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review the FOA and the FAQs below prior to contacting the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative for additional information.
To compare across K mechanisms (i.e., salary support, effort, etc.), see the Table of K Parameters.
Q: What qualifies as a clinical doctoral degree?
A: Such degrees include, but are not limited to, the MD, DO, DDS, DMD, OD, DC, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), and DVM. Individuals with a PhD or other doctoral degree in clinical disciplines may also be eligible. Individuals holding a PhD in a non-clinical discipline who are certified to perform clinical duties should contact the appropriate Institute concerning their eligibility for a K08 award.
Q: I have a clinical doctoral degree and am proposing a research experience in a clinical trial led by another investigator. May I still apply to the K08?
A: Yes. Applicants not planning an independent clinical trial or proposing to gain research experience in a clinical trial led by another investigator, can apply to Parent K08 - Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed (PA-20-203 ).
Q: I am proposing to serve as the lead investigator of an independent clinical trial and may need to request a longer project duration (>4 years) for scientific reasons. How will the NIMH determine if the duration of support is justified?
A: Some scientific considerations that may justify a longer project duration include the number of human subjects required to provide adequate power, the rate of subject recruitment, or the need for follow-up.
Q: Can I use the K08 to support didactic training in addition to mentored research training?
A: Yes. An applicant with limited experience in a given field of research may use an award to support a career development experience that includes didactic training in combination with a closely supervised research experience. The K08 award may be used by applicants with different levels of prior research training and at different stages in their mentored career development.
Q: Can I apply if I am a non-US citizen on a temporary visa?
A: You may apply but must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or 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) at the time of the award. Check the U.S. State Department website for current guidance on processing times. (NIMH time from application submission to award is typically 8-9 months.)
Q: How many times may I resubmit?
A: Only a single resubmission (A1) of a competing new application (A0) will be accepted. However, you may resubmit a second A0 application if the A1 is not selected for funding and you are still within the 6-year period of eligibility.
Q: Can I resubmit my K08 application if I’ve completed the 6th year of my postdoc?
A: No. Except for those pre-approved for eligibility extensions (see K Award Eligibility Extensions), applicants must be within 6 years of completing their PhD or medical residency training by the K08 resubmission due date.
Q: Am I eligible for a K23 if I am using data or specimens collected by my mentor(s)/collaborator(s)?
A: The K23 supports individuals conducting patient-oriented research defined as research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin, such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Excluded from this definition are in vitro studies that use human tissues that cannot be linked to a living individual. This definition includes (a) mechanisms of human disease, (b) therapeutic interventions, (c) clinical trials, or (d) development of new technologies. In other words, patient-oriented research is research in which it is necessary to know the identity of the patients from whom the cells or tissues under study are derived. Studies falling under Exemption 4 for human subjects research are not included in this definition. See also the NIH Director's Panel on Clinical Research Report .