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Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01)

The NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award supports a mentored research experience for 3-5* years for highly promising postdoctoral researchers. 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-24-175: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01 - Independent Clinical Trial Required) 
PA-24-176: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01 - Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 
PA-24-177: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01 Independent Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required) 

Learn more about NIH’s Definition of a Clinical Trial .

Due dates

New Applications: February 12, June 12, October 12
Resubmissions: March 12, July 12, November 12
AIDS applications: May 7, September 7, January 7

PD/PI eligibility

The K01 award is available to individuals with research or health-professional doctoral degrees. K01 applicants applying to the NIMH may have no more than 6 years of postdoctoral research experience as of the relevant application due date 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 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).

Institution eligibility

U.S. domestic institutions
Foreign components allowed

Additional information

An application must include a strong and credible plan for the applicant’s transition to research independence and evidence of significant institutional commitment to the continued development of the K01 applicant as an independent researcher at the applicant institution. Applicants are expected to plan to apply for independent research support (e.g., R01) during the later years of their mentored career award.

Applicants are required to commit a minimum of 75% of full-time professional effort to their program of career development. 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 $90,000 plus fringe benefits per year.

Research support: Up to $50,000 per year.

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 funding opportunity 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 resubmit my K01 application if I’ve completed the 6th year of my postdoc?

A: Applicants who have completed the 6th year of their postdoc may only resubmit if they have received an eligibility extension from NIMH (see K Award Eligibility Extensions).

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 apply if I am 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 submit another A0 application if the A1 is not selected for funding and you are still within the 6-year period of eligibility.

Q: Should I apply for a K01 or an R21?

A: You should apply for a K01 if you require significant training in order to transition to independence. An R21 is appropriate for exploratory and high-risk research projects that may lead to a breakthrough or the development of novel techniques, agents, methods, measures, models, strategies, or to the generation of pilot or feasibility data.

Q: How many mentors should I include in my training plan?

A: The number of mentors should be driven by the training needs. Mentors with overlapping expertise should generally not be included, especially in the case where an individual is included based on their status rather than their direct involvement in the project and training.

Q: Are consultants appropriate for a K award?

A: It depends. Consultants are individuals who provide advice or services for a fee. There may be some circumstances where a consultant is appropriate for a K Award, but in the context of a training and career development award, if you expect them to teach you something, they’re probably a mentor or collaborator.

Q: How many publications do I need for a competitive application?

A: There is no set number of publications, but publications help reviewers evaluate the applicant according to Section V (Application Review Information) of the program announcement. That is, they help to determine the potential of the applicant to develop as an independent and productive researcher, whether the applicant's prior training and research experience is appropriate for this award, and whether the applicant’s academic, clinical (if relevant), and research record is of high quality. Publications may also serve to demonstrate feasibility for aspects of the projects that the applicant has already mastered.