Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
The mentored K23 award provides up to 5* years of salary and research support for investigators who have made a commitment to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented research. This award is intended to 1) encourage research-oriented clinicians to develop research skills and gain experience in advanced methods and experimental approaches needed to become independent investigators conducting patient-oriented research and, 2) increase the pool of clinical researchers who can conduct patient-oriented studies, capitalizing on the discoveries of biomedical research and translating them to clinical settings.
*See Additional Information below regarding duration of support.
Notices of funding opportunities
PA-20-206 - Parent K23 - Independent Clinical Trials Not Allowed
PA-20-205 - Parent K23 - Independent Clinical Trials Required
PA-20-204 - Parent K23 - IndependentBasic 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
Applicants for the K23 award must have a health-professional doctoral degree, such as, but not limited to, the MD, DO, DDS, DMD, OD, DC, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), or a doctoral degree in nursing research or practice. Individuals with the PhD or other doctoral degree in clinical disciplines such as clinical psychology, nursing, clinical genetics, speech-language pathology, audiology or rehabilitation are also eligible. Individuals holding the PhD in a non-clinical discipline but who are certified to perform clinical duties should contact NIMH concerning their eligibility for a K23 award. Applicants must have completed their clinical training, including specialty and, if applicable, subspecialty training, prior to receiving an award. However, applicants may apply prior to the completion of clinical training.
K23 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. 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 individual 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
The objective of the K23 is to provide salary and research support for a sustained period of "protected time" to ensure a future cadre of well-trained scientists conducting Patient-Oriented Research.
For the purposes of the K23 award, Patient-Oriented Research is 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. This area of research includes: 1) mechanisms of human disease; 2) therapeutic interventions; 3) clinical trials; and 4) the development of new technologies. Excluded from this definition are in vitro studies that utilize human tissues but do not deal directly with patients. Similarly, studies falling under Exemption 4 for human subjects' research are not included in this definition.
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.
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 costs
Salary support: Up to $100,000 plus fringe benefits per year.
Research support: Up to $50,000.
The 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: Can I apply if I am on a temporary visa?
A: You may apply but must be a 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 waiting times. (NIMH time from application submission to award is typically 8-9 months.)
Q: Can I resubmit my K23 application if I've completed the 6th year of my postdoc?
A: No. Applicants must have less than 6 years of postdoctoral research training at the time of the initial submission and subsequent resubmissions.
To discuss which funding opportunity best fits your career goals, reach out to the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative.
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 which is 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 .