Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

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Due to an anticipated delay in NIH funding, the KL2 program has postponed the current RFA. Please check back in Spring 2019 for information on future RFAs or contact Lauren Daniels at with questions.

The Multidisciplinary Career Development Program (KL2) is a NCATS-sponsored training grant supporting junior faculty at Northwestern. It’s designed to train a diverse workforce of investigators to drive future innovation and implement effective clinical and translational research.

The program, led by Richard Pope, MD, professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, includes robust mentoring teams to assess the educational needs of the individual scholars and to provide them with personalized career development opportunities. In addition, it provides career development resources (formal coursework, peer mentoring and career guidance) to scholars across disparate areas of expertise.

The award includes salary support and additional resources to ensure protected time for mentored research and didactic training in clinical research. Information about current research funded by the KL2 can be found in our scholar profiles page

 Eligibility Requirements

As the KL2 strives for diversity of scientific discipline, we also strive for a community of fellows and mentors from different backgrounds and perspectives to engage in a mutual exchange of ideas and experiences. Those belonging to groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in research education and training (e.g., certain racial and ethnic minorities and individuals with disabilities) are strongly encouraged to apply to this program.

The eligibility and exclusion criteria are summarized below, but are similar for those listed for the K23 career development award

  • Applicants must work with patients, patient materials or patient data in a clinical or translational project.
  • Applicants must have a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent, including but not limited to MD, DO and PhD. Candidates from Northwestern University, including those from outside the Feinberg School of Medicine are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants must have a full-time faculty appointment within three months of being awarded, and this must be documented in the letter of support from the department chair.
  • Only U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals or an individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence who possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident prior to appointment are eligible to become KL2 scholars.
  • Seventy-five percent of the scholar's full-time professional effort must be devoted to the KL2 program. Exceptions available for certain clinical specialties if needed. One example might be surgical specialties requiring 50 percent direct patient care time to maintain surgical skills. Please inquire at for additional information.
  • Former or current principal investigators on any NIH research project grant (this does not include NIH Small Grants (R03) or Exploratory/Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents) or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 (e.g., American Heart Association, American Cancer Society or similar) direct costs per year or project leaders on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (P50) are NOT eligible to participate as KL2 scholars.
  • A candidate for a KL2 award may not simultaneously submit or have an application pending for any other NIH career award (e.g., K01, K07, K08, K22, K23, K25), a research project grant (R01) or any PHS award that duplicates any of the provisions of the KL2 award.
  • Candidates must have mentors with sufficient independent research support to cover the costs of the proposed research project in excess of the allowable costs of the KL2. The use of co-mentors to achieve the goals of the program is strongly encouraged.

 Award Provisions

Scholars will receive a number of tangible resources, including:

  • Salary: The net amount provided toward salary and fringe benefits is up to $100,000 per year.  The salary should be based on a full-time, 12-month appointment and commensurate with the percent effort protected by the award. Additional salary appropriate to compensating the scholar for the amount of time protected by the grant must be provided from non-Federal sources.
  • Percent Effort: The departments are required to protect 75 percent (50 percent for surgeons and other procedure-intensive specialties) of the KL2 recipient’s professional time to direct toward the funded proposal. 
  • Travel: Travel expenses will be provided for scholars to attend the Association of Clinical and Translational Science Conference held in Washington, D.C. Travel cost will include scholar registration, airfare, hotel and associated transportation (to and from airport, tolls, parking), meals and incidentals. Attendance at the conference provides opportunities for scholars to network nationally with other scholars, present their research and have exposure to key leaders in the field and to best practices in clinical and translational science. 
  • Research and Development Support: Up to $25,000 is available per year to support research expenses, such as supplies, equipment and technical personnel. Each scholar must submit a detailed budget and budget justification for the requested expenses as part of the application process. Awarded funds intended to support the scholar’s research and development activities may not be used to additionally support the KL2 scholar’s salary.
  • Mentor Material and Supply Support: Up to $10,000 per scholar per year is available through this award to support associated laboratory or other research-related expenses for the primary mentor of each scholar.
  • Community Mentor Support: The KL2 program will provide scholars with connections to community mentors to support their research who have a vested interest in improving the health and well-being of Chicagoland communities and training future translational science investigators. Community mentors may support scholars in identifying the relevance of their project to the community and ways the scholar can disseminate research findings in the community.
  • Research Analysis and design Methods Program (RAMP) Mentor Support:  Two RAMP mentors are assigned to each KL2 scholar to provide individualized, hands-on and educational mentorship throughout the two-year award in the areas of biostatistics, epidemiology, bioinformatics, qualitative research methods and health services research. This support is included as part of the award and does not need to be accounted for in the individual budget of each scholar.
  • Tuition: Funds are available for scholars to take courses in the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program or other associated Feinberg School of Medicine graduate programs. Scholars in the KL2 program will be encouraged, as part of the individual development plan process and in consultation with their mentoring teams, to participate in courses to supplement their current knowledge and expertise in clinical and translational research.
  • Supplemental Department Funds: Departments may supplement the NIH KL2 contribution; however, the supplementation may not be from federal funds unless specifically authorized by the federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may PHS funds be used for salary supplementation. Any supplementation of salary may not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of this award.  

The department also agrees to the following:

  • Career Development Meetings: The department agrees to free the funded scholar for twice-monthly career development meetings while on the KL2 award or if subsequently awarded an individual K award.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Training: The department commits to participation in the Taking Responsibility for the Responsible Conduct of Research course in cases where the RCR requirement has not already been met. 
  • Individual K Submission: It is expected that the scholar will have made significant progress toward the submission of individual K award application or an R equivalent grant by the end of the first year of funding.

 Selection Criteria

NIH scoring criteria will be used to evaluate proposals. Please take this into account in preparing the proposal. Each of the following areas will be evaluated using a nine-point score:

  • Overall impact
  • Candidate
  • Career development plan/career goals and objectives/plan to provide mentoring
  • Research plan
  • Mentor(s)/consultant(s)/collaborator(s)
  • Environment and institutional commitment to the candidate

 Presentations for Finalists

Finalists identified by the review panel will participate in a final presentation and interview with the KL2 selection committee. The mentors of the finalists will also be required to attend this meeting. Finalists selected will give a 15-minute presentation with questions and answers on their research and design, including topics such as the primary research question, rationale, preliminary data, translational nature of the research and future research plans.

 Questions and Support

Preparing and Submitting Your Application

Feinberg School of Medicine and other Northwestern University investigators should work with your department or division research administrator to submit this internal award. This submission does not need to go through the Office of Sponsored Research.

Lurie Children’s investigators should work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to submit their application.

Qualification/Eligibility Questions

Contact Richard Pope at 312-503-8003 or

KL2 Application Process Questions

Contact Lauren Daniels at 312-503-3284 or

NITRO Competitions Technical Support



The following resources are available to KL2 scholars as they navigate the research enterprise. They include instructions on where to find information, how to access resources and what courses to attend.

Important Websites


Scholarly Impact

  • All scholars must cite the KL2 on any publications that result from research done while on the grant
  • Link your publication to the KL2 award in PubMed
  • Complete and update MyNCBI
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Participating Institutions: