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KL2

The Multidisciplinary Career Development Program (KL2) is a NCATS-sponsored career development award supporting early-career faculty at Northwestern. It is designed to train a diverse workforce of investigators to drive future innovation and implement effective clinical and translational research.

The program, led by Co-Director Leena Sharma, MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, and Co-Director Tamara Isakova, MD, MMSc, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology 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 on our scholar profiles page.

Request for Applications 

Click here to access the closed RFA. The NUCATS KL2 program anticipates appointing up to three scholars.

  • Funds Available: Anticipated by September 1st, 2021.

KL2 information sessions recordings and slides:

 

 Eligibility

NU, NUCATS, and the KL2 program are committed to creating, sustaining, and nurturing a diverse and inclusive campus community. Scholars from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. Individuals belonging to groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences (e.g., certain racial, ethnic, and gender minorities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and individuals with disabilities) are strongly encouraged to apply to this program.

Applicants to the NUCATS KL2 Mentored Career Development award must meet the following criteria:

  • Include a clinical or translational project that involves human participants, human specimens, or human data, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of individuals or the public.
    • Among lab-based scientists, applicants who seek a career path of translational work involving humans are particularly encouraged.
  • Hold 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 encouraged to apply.
  • Have a full-time faculty appointment at the time of being awarded; this must be documented in the letter of support from the Department Chair.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Commit 75% effort to the KL2 program (or as low as 50% for surgeons or other procedure intensive specialists requiring 50% direct patient care time to maintain skills. Please inquire at christine.charles@northwestern.edu for additional information.)
  • 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 mentoring teams including co-mentors to achieve the goals of the program is strongly encouraged.
  • Not be or have been a PI on an NIH R01-funded project or a project leader on a funded sub-project of a program project (P01) or center (P50) grant.
  • Not be or have been a PI on a PHS or non-PHS peer-reviewed research grant that is over $100,000 direct costs per year.
  • Former or current PIs of NIH Small Grants (R03), Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21), or SBIR/STTR (R43, R44) grants are eligible.
  • At the time of their appointments, KL2 Scholars must not have pending (or awarded) an application for any other PHS mentored career development award (e.g., K07, K08, K22, K23) that duplicates any of the provisions of the K component.
  • Appointed Scholars are encouraged to apply for individual mentored K awards (e.g. K07, K08, K22, K23) and independent awards (R01, R03, R21); if successful, Scholars may be required to reduce effort on the mentored career award to a minimum of six-person months and hold concurrent support from their mentored career award and a competing PHS research grant on which they are the PD/PI or component lead or terminate the KL2 appointment depending on Program requirements (See NOT-OD-08-065).

 Provisions of the Award

The KL2 award provides a number of tangible resources to support the career development of early-stage faculty who are fully committed to a career in clinical or translational research. Some of these provisions include:    

  • % Effort: The KL2 protects 75% of a Scholar’s full-time professional effort for training and clinical or translational research activities. This is based on the entire amount of time worked in a typical week. The remaining 25% effort can be divided among other clinical, administrative, and teaching responsibilities.
  • Salary & Fringe: Sources of salary + fringe support for the 75% effort include KL2 funds of up to $120,000 per year. The Department must cover the difference, if any, between the available $120,000 and 75% of the Scholar’s salary & fringe. Please refer to Section XI for additional information about NIH policy on receiving concurrent support.
  • Other Direct Costs: The budget should include funds to support Scholar research projects and career development activities. Up to $35,000 per year is available to cover the following expenses: (a) tuition and fees related to career development; (b) research expenses such as supplies, equipment and technical personnel to supplement those provided by the mentor; (c) up to $2,500 for Scholar travel to scientific meetings and research training workshops; and (d) statistical services. These funds may not be used to provide additional KL2 Scholar salary support. Mentor support may include up to $10,000 per year for associated laboratory or other research-related expenses. Salary support for mentors is not an allowable budget item.
    • Tuition: Funds may be applied to support coursework in the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) program or other associated Feinberg School of Medicine graduate programs. Scholars in the KL2 program will be encouraged to participate in courses to supplement their current knowledge and expertise in clinical and translational research as part of their Individual Career Advancement Plan process and in consultation with their mentoring teams and the ELC.
    • Travel: Up to $2,500 per year is provided to Scholars to attend the Association of Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Conference held in Washington, D.C. or an alternative conference approved by the KL2 Program Co-Directors. Travel costs will include: Scholar registration, airfare, hotel, and associated transportation (to and from airport, tolls, parking), meals and incidentals. Domestic travel to additional conferences beyond what is supported by the $2,500 may be budgeted within the research and development support (see Other Direct Costs, above). Foreign travel may not be charged on this award.
  • Community Engagement: Up to $1,660 per years is available to support community engagement activities.
  • Research Design Analysis Methods Program (RAMP) Mentor Support: One or two RAMP mentors are assigned to each KL2 Scholar to provide individualized, hands-on and educational mentorship throughout the two-year award in areas including biostatistics, epidemiology, bioinformatics, qualitative research methods and/or health services research. RAMP mentor selection is personalized, according to the Scholar’s needs. RAMP mentor effort is provided by the KL2 program and does not need to be accounted for in the individual budget of each Scholar.
  • Commitment by Scholar’s Department: The Department agrees to release the funded Scholar for the following activities, which are include in the Scholar’s 75% (or as low as 50% for procedure intensive specialists) effort:
    • KL2 Orientation Bootcamp at the beginning of the Scholar’s appointment period
    • Periodic KL2 progress meetings
    • Twice-monthly career development meetings while on the KL2 award or if subsequently awarded an individual K award
    • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training in cases where the RCR requirement has not already been met

 Reporting and Evaluation

KL2 Scholars agree to complete all required reporting and evaluation requirements of the award, including:

  • Reporting Requirements: Scholars and their mentors are required to provide semi-annual updates on the Scholar’s research and career development progress as well as complete annual reports for the KL2 Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) submitted to NCATS. Scholars also agree to complete annual RPPR requests for 15 years after completion of their KL2.
  • Linking and Citing the KL2 Award: Scholars must link their publications to their KL2 award in PubMed and cite the KL2 on their publications. Instructions will be provided upon appointment to the award.
  • Human Subjects and Live Vertebrate Animals Approval: The KL2 program is required to comply with the NCATS policy regarding research involving human subjects and live vertebrate animals. KL2 projects involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals are required to secure approval from NCATS before funds can be released and project work can begin. Please refer to Section XI for guidance on the approval process.
    1. Materials are NOT required for the KL2 application, but Finalists will be sent detailed instructions and are encouraged to begin preparing at that stage.
    2. Scholars selected for the award must submit a modification to the IRB/IACUC to have the KL2 grant # added. To avoid delays due to lack of IRB/IACUC approvals, Scholars are encouraged to begin the process to secure approvals as soon as possible upon notification as Finalist.
    3. Please be aware that the NCATS prior approval process takes a minimum of 30 days once a request is submitted to NCATS.
    4. Research funds cannot be released until NCATS approval has been obtained. Scholars are able to receive salary support.

 Selection Criteria

The evaluation of each application will be holistic, taking into account everything the applicant brings. 

The following criteria will be scored, using the 9-point NIH scoring system.  Please take this into account while preparing the proposal.

  • Candidate
  • Career Development Plan; Career Goals & Objectives; [Mentor(s)] Plan to Provide Mentoring
  • Research Plan
  • Mentor(s), Co-mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s)
  • Institutional Commitment to the Candidate and Environment

 Proposal Instructions Overview

Feinberg School of Medicine and other Northwestern University investigators should work with their Department or Division Research Administrator to submit this internal award. This submission does not need to go through the Office for Sponsored Research.

Lurie Children’s investigators should work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to the Lurie Office of Sponsored Programs (staff listing).

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab investigators should work with the SRAlab Office of Research Administration (ORA) to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to their assigned research administrator in ORA.

Elements of the application process include:

  • Letter of Intent, Due Monday, March 1, 2021 by 11:59 PM – completed through REDCap form
  • Full Application, Due Monday, April 12, 2021 by 11:59 PM - completed in NU Competitions. (Note: Applicants should log in using NU NetID) Full applications must include:
    • First page of the PHS398 Grant Application
    • Biosketches
      • Applicant Biosketch
      • Primary Mentor(s) Biosketches
    • Specific Aims – 1 page
    • Proposal – 8 total pages
      • Candidate's Background – 1 page
      • Career Goals and Objectives – 1 page
      • Career Development Plan/Career Goals & Objectives/ Mentor(s) Plan to Provide Mentoring – 2 pages
      • Research Strategy – 4 pages
    • Letters of Support
      • Department Chair & Division Chief, if applicable (Required; can be a joint letter from Department Chair and Division Chief)
      • Primary mentor (Required)
      • Co-mentors, consultants, and contributors as appropriate (optional, but encouraged)
    • Budget & Budget Justification outlining the use of award funds for a period of two years.
  • Updates to the Letter of Intent, Due Monday, April 12, 2021 by 11:59 PM
    • If any information in your letter of intent changes between March 1 and April 12, you must update your letter of intent information by the full application deadline.

 Detailed Proposal Instructions

Feinberg School of Medicine and other Northwestern University investigators should work with their Department or Division Research Administrator to submit this internal award. This submission does not need to go through the Office for Sponsored Research.

Lurie Children’s investigators should work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to the Lurie Office of Sponsored Programs (staff listing).

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab investigator should work with the SRAlab Office of Research Administration (ORA) to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to their assigned research administrator in ORA.

  • Monday, March 1, 2021 – Letter of Intent Due (By 11:59 pm)
    • Complete the KL2 Applicant & Proposal Information Form (serves as the letter of intent). This form will capture applicant data and proposal information including the project summary/abstract.
      • Applicants may return to this form and save to complete or adjust their responses at any time.
      • Use this link for guidance on NIH project summary/abstracts. Please note, you are not submitting a project narrative and you should only refer to the project summary/abstract information. 
      • If any information in this form changes (e.g., mentoring team) between the Letter of Intent due date (March 1) and the Full Application due date (April 12), you must update the information in this form.
  • Monday, April 12, 2021 – Full Application Due (By 11:59 pm)
    • Applications are completed through NU Competitions
      • NU Competitions is a platform that allows you to log-in with your Northwestern NetID.
      • Technical support for submissions in NU Competitions can be reached at: competitions@northwestern.edu  
    • The Full Application consists of the following sections:
      • Project Title
      • Application Document (combined .pdf document uploaded to the application). Must include:
        • First Page of PHS398
          • #2 – RFA Number is not needed. Title is: Multidisciplinary Mentored Career Development Award (KL2)
          • #13 – Applications are NOT routed through OSR, but you can list Pamela Hawkins, OSR Senior Grants Officer as the official to be notified regardless of the institution with which you are affiliated (Northwestern University, Lurie, SRAlab, etc.)
        • Applicant’s Biosketch
        • Specific Aims – 1 page
        • Proposal – 8 pages total
          • Candidate's Background – 1 page
            • In addition to your research background, please include any other aspects of your background and lived experiences that have influenced your career development
          • Career Goals and Objectives – 1 page
          • Career Development Plan – 1 page
          • Research Strategy – 4 pages
            • In addition to proposed strategy/design, methodology, and analyses, please include plans for the inclusion of individuals on the basis of sex, race, and ethnicity
            • Please include information on any current community research activities and plans for research dissemination. While this is not a review criterion for the KL2, community engagement is supported by the award. For information on community-engaged research, please visit the Center for Community Health website.
            • References do not count toward page limitations.
        • Primary Mentor Biosketch
        • Letters of Support: Letters should document the role of the mentor in the career development of the Scholar and how the work proposed fits into the overall program funded by the mentor.
          • Department Chair & Division Chief (Required. If you have a Division Chief, this can be a shared letter.)
          • Primary Mentor (Required. If your primary mentor also serves as your Department Chair or Division Chief, they may submit one letter that clearly outlines the distinct roles they will serve and type of support they will provide within each role).         
          • Co-Mentors, Consultants, and Contributors (Optional. Can be a shared letter).
            • Scholars are expected to work as part of interdisciplinary team(s) and support from co- or secondary mentor(s) is strongly encouraged.
      • Budget
        • Read the KL2 Budget & Budget Justification Information for instructions on completing the Budget & Budget Justification.
        • Complete the KL2 Budget Template (.docx file)
          • .Xls will ultimately be submitted upon receiving the award, but the current platform for submitting proposals does not allow this format. We request a .docx rather than a .pdf to make it easier to help you with edits later on.
        • Upload the completed budget in NU Competitions.
      • Budget Justification
    • Update KL2 Applicant & Proposal Information before final proposal submission
      • Applicants should review the information submitted in the KL2 Applicant & Proposal Information form and make updates as needed.
      • Submit final version by 11:59 pm on Monday, April 12, 2021.

 Important Dates

Request for Applications          December 7, 2020
KL2 Information Session #1 December 15, 2020
KL2 Information Session #2 December 17, 2020
Letter of Intent Due March 1, 2021
Full Application Due April 12, 2021
Review Panel Convenes Early June 2021
Interviews Finalists & Mentors Mid-June – early July 2021
  • Finalists identified by the Review Panel will participate in a final presentation and be required to attend this meeting with their primary mentor. Finalists selected will give a 15-minute presentation and respond to questions concerning their career development plan and the proposed research (e.g., research questions, rationale, preliminary data, study design, methodology, future plans).  
Notification of Decisions Early to mid-July 2021
Award Begins September 1, 2021
KL2 Orientation Bootcamp Early September, 2021

 Contacts for Application Support

Support with Preparing and Submitting your Application
  • Feinberg School of Medicine and other Northwestern University investigators should work with their Department or Division Research Administrator to submit this internal award. This submission does not need to go through the Office for Sponsored Research.
  • Lurie Children’s investigators should work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to the Lurie Office of Sponsored Programs (staff listing).
  • Shirley Ryan Ability Lab investigator should work with the SRAlab Office of Research Administration (ORA) to submit their application. Investigators must complete internal routing and address budget questions to their assigned research administrator in ORA.
Qualification/Eligibility Questions KL2 Application Process questions: NU Competitions: Technical Support: competitions@northwestern.edu

 

 Useful Links

Participating Institutions: