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Independent Career Development Award (KL2)

Award Overview

The KL2 Mentored Clinical Research Career Development Award provides the time, funding, mentorship, and training necessary to foster the early career development of clinical and translational researchers. Sponsored by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this award enables early-career investigators to devote 75% of their time to research and training during a critical time in the development of their careers. The CTSI-CN will make 1-3 KL2 awards annually.


The KL2 program recruits junior faculty early in their career who have demonstrated the aptitude and commitment to undertake multidisciplinary clinical and translational research (CTR). It is expected that every awarded scholar will:

  • Devote 75% of their full-time professional effort to the KL2 program for training and clinical research activities. The remaining 25% effort can be divided among other clinical, administrative, and teaching responsibilities that are consistent with the proposed goals of the KL2 program. Exceptions to the 75% effort requirement may be made for limited specialties (e.g., 50% effort for surgeons and other procedural-based specialties requiring greater clinical effort to maintain clinical skills such as ENT, Orthodontics).
  • Obtain additional research training through participation in coursework, workshops, and/or individualized programs of study.
  • Develop a mentorship team. The scholar must select a lead mentor who will have the overall responsibility for helping the scholar develop an independent career in clinical and translational research. The lead mentor will provide guidance, track the scholar’s career progress, and ensure their research time is properly protected. Co-mentors from other disciplines should be selected to provide multidisciplinary input on the scholar's research program and activities. All mentors must have a demonstrated track record of successfully developing junior investigators.
  • Actively participate in KL2 Special Interest Group (K-SIG) meetings and other programmatic activities.


The KL2 award provides a minimum of 75% of a KL2 scholar’s salary per year (up to $75,000 per year). Each KL2 Scholar’s home department or institution will be required to provide institutional support for any scholar whose salary support for their committed KL2 effort exceeds $75,000.

In addition to salary support, KL2 scholars will receive research funds of up to $25,000/year for related educational and research expenses.

Please note:

KL2 scholars conducting research that involves human subjects will not be eligible to receive KL2 support until they have completed the NCATS Prior Approval process. This process will be completed in the period after the award letter is signed and before the appointment begins.

KL2 support is contingent upon continual scholar progress and compliance with CTSI-CN directives, as well as continued support from the NCATS grant that funds the KL2 program.


Candidates for the KL2 program must:

  • Be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Possess a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, PharmD, DMD, DDS, OD, DNS/PhD in nursing, etc.) and be a junior faculty (assistant professor, instructor or equivalent), either currently appointed or newly recruited (within the past 5 years).
  • Be able to commit 75% of professional effort to the program.
  • Not be or have been a principal investigator on an NIH R01 or equivalent PHS or non-PHS peer reviewed research grants with over $100,000 in direct costs per year.
  • Commit to a career in patient-oriented research, with past evidence of significant productivity and promise.
  • Pursue additional training through the Master’s degree or Graduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Research.
  • Have completed training in the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Individuals from underrepresented minority groups and women are encouraged to apply.


The application period for the KL2 award is not currently open.