KL2 Application Information

Who Should Apply

Junior faculty with a doctorate (MD, PhD, MD/PhD, PharmD, or equivalent) at the rank of Instructor or Assistant Professor at Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), or University of Georgia (UGA) College of Pharmacy are eligible to apply to the program. Individuals who have accepted a faculty appointment at any of the four collaborating institutions may also apply if they will be on the Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, or UGA College of Pharmacy faculty at the date of receipt of the award (e.g., June 1 or July 1). Faculty appointments cannot be dependent upon receipt of this KL2 award. Junior faculty physician candidates should have completed training in a specialty or subspecialty and be board eligible or certified. Non-physician candidates must have a PhD and/or PharmD degrees.

Candidates must be committed to a career in clinical investigation (clinical and/or translational research) and be willing to commit in writing to serve on the faculty of an academic institution pursuing clinical and/or translational research for each year of support received through the KL2 program.

Per NIH guidelines, candidates must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident at the time they submit the application. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

Also per NIH rules, KL2 scholar applicants may not simultaneously submit or have pending an application for any other PHS mentored career development award (e.g. K01, K07, K08, K22, K23, K25) that duplicates any of the provisions of the KL2 program. Former or current Principal Investigators on any NIH research project grant (e.g. R01, U01) or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 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. KL2 scholars are allowed to hold NIH Small Grants (R03) or NIH Exploratory/Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents and still be eligible for the KL2 award. Appointed KL2 scholars may apply for NIH K23 or equivalent K grant support; if successful, they transfer to the NIH K award.

Requirements of the applicants and awardees accepted into the KL2 scholars program are as follows.

The candidate must:
  • Be a full time junior faculty member at Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Institute of Technology, or University of Georgia College of Pharmacy (Instructor or Assistant Professor or equivalent level) at the time of receipt of the award
  • Indicate a strong interest in pursuing a career in clinical and/or translational research
  • Be nominated by the candidate's Department Chair (and Division Director if applicable); the Chair must guarantee in writing in the letter of support that a minimum of 75% of the junior faculty's professional time will be protected to pursue clinical and/or translational research training if the candidate is accepted into the KL2 program (an exception is made for a minimum of 50% effort for trainees from surgery or surgical subspecialties)
  • Identify an established Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, or UGA College of Pharmacy faculty lead mentor who meets approval criteria. Additional faculty members may serve as co-mentors or Advisory Committee members but there must be a designated single lead mentor.

KL2 Application Instructions

All application components should be uploaded to online submission system. Please use online submission system (click to start) to upload your KL2 application files. Once you have started submission by entering your name and email address, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to your KL2 application. You can use this link to upload and update your submission files. Please share your submission link with your Department Chair, Lead mentor, Co-lead mentor (if applicable), and Advisory committee members (if applicable) to upload Letters of Support.

a. Cover Page - Click on the link to view the cover page required.

Formatting your proposal: All sections single spaced, at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right). Font size should be 11 points or larger; either Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface.

b. Cover Letter from Applicant should indicate the applicant’s rank (e.g. Instructor, Assistant Professor, etc.) as well as the name of the applicant’s lead mentor. The candidate should indicate their interest in pursuing a career in clinical and/or translational investigation and agree to serve at least one year on the faculty of an academic institution pursuing clinical and/or translational research for each year of support from the KL2 program. The applicant should also state that they will:

  • agree to the rules of the KL2 program
  • meet with the KL2 program director(s) at least once every six months to review progress
  • submit semi-annual progress reports
  • keep the program office updated on publications and grant submissions/awards during AND AFTER completion of the program
  • complete the MSCR or CPTR program unless you have already graduated
  • submit a NIH K23 or other appropriate NIH application (e.g. K01, K08) before the end of their first year in the KL2 program

c. Abstract - One page maximum. Provide an abstract of the entire application (candidate, environment, and research). Include the candidate's immediate and long-term career goals, key elements of the research career development plan, and a description of the research project. In the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide, section 7, there are specific instructions for a K Abstract. Another good place to review funded NIH Individual K abstracts is to study others’ abstracts on the NIH RePORTER (under Activity Code, select K awards) (https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm).

d. Research and Training Plan: 13 pages total

Specific Aims – 1 page
Candidate Section + Research Strategy – 12 pages

Include a Specific Aims page outlining a brief background for the grant, the hypothesis, and a listing of the specific aims.

As described in the Application Guide, section 7, prepare a Candidate Section (Candidate Background; Career Goals and Objectives; Career Development Training Activities) as well as a Research Strategy section (Significance, Innovation and Approach) with a specific focus on the respective K program. The Approach section will include methods – including human subjects recruitment, statistical analysis plan, anticipated outcomes, potential pitfalls and alternative approaches, and timeline subsections. Preliminary data if any, is not required, but should be included in the appropriate section of the Research Plan.  Preliminary data supporting any aspects of feasibility of the methods is considered to be an advantage. Preliminary data can include published or unpublished findings. Be precise about your role in generating the preliminary data, if any.

The Candidate Section should indicate the candidate’s background and career goals and should also describe the faculty member who will serve as the lead mentor as well as a planned schedule of interactions between the trainee lead mentor and mentoring team (be specific and indicate frequency of meetings, types of interactions, etc.).  For the Career Goals, it is important to describe a compelling plan describing  “Future Plans for NIH Research” which would include at a minimum, a K23, K01, or K08. Applicants who clearly preview the KL2/K12 as a pathway to the NIH K (or similar) tend to receive better scores from reviewers. The Career Development Training Activities should provide a clear description of the didactic training that is planned and may include electives in the second year. Applicants who have already completed a Master’s degree should explain the rationale for the proposed didactic training plan.  The research strategy section will include a hypothesis driven clinical and/or translational research proposal that they would develop under the guidance of their lead mentor as well as plans for didactic and mentored clinical and/or translational research training.  Pilot studies are acceptable.

A Human Subjects/Data Safety and Monitoring Plan (not counted towards the 12 page limit) should be included, if applicable. Please follow the NIH SF 424 Application Guide section for the Protection of Human Subjects.  IRB approval for the research is not required at the time of application but will be required prior to funding.   Another good resource for preparing this section (for all areas of human subjects research) can be found here: https://humansubjects.nih.gov/

e. Literature Citations: Please include a typical literature citation section at the end of the Research Strategy (not included in the page limit).

f. Budget may be submitted on the NIH SF 424 forms or can be a line item listing and should include applicant’s salary (show total salary as well as 75% requested) along with the current fringe benefit rate which can be found on the Emory Office of Sponsored Programs website. Also include a technical budget of $25,000 per year (which should include $10,000 in year one for MSCR tuition for applicants who propose to complete the MSCR program as part of clinical training) and a budget justification of no more than two pages. Do not include items not allowed on Federal Grants such as software, books, and administrative support staff (ask if uncertain).

g. Letters of Support from the lead mentor and Department Chair - The letter from the Department Chair must guarantee that the applicant will have protected time (equivalent to the salary support provided by the program) to carry out clinical research training if accepted into the KL2 program. If the candidate is in the Department of Medicine, a letter from the Division Director is required in lieu of or in addition to the Department Chair. The lead mentor’s letter should reflect willingness to serve as mentor for the candidate, the mentor's assessment of the candidate, prior trainees he/she has mentored, a brief summary of the applicant’s research proposal, and a brief summary of plans for mentoring and enhancing the research capabilities of the applicant. If there are co-mentors, consultants and/or collaborators, the commitment and role of these individuals should be clearly stated.  The mentor should include detailed information on what portion of the applicant’s time will be devoted to clinical activities and what will be the clinical activities and responsibilities once accepted into the K program. The K program requires a minimum of 75% protected effort (50% minimum for surgery department faculty). Letters of support for the candidate from applicant’s proposed advisory committee members are also required. Note: these are not letters of recommendation but rather letters of support to mentor the candidate.

h. NIH Biosketch and Other Support Page of candidate and lead mentor as well as co-lead mentor (if applicable), advisors and collaborators (if any). The NIH biosketch instructions for the K awards and an example of the NIH biosketch can be found on http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm. Other support pages are not required for advisors and collaborators.

i. Application fee (if your application is successful) in the amount of $75.00 payable to Emory University (unless currently enrolled at Emory University) AND original transcripts (if your application is successful) in sealed envelopes from each post-secondary institution you have attended. The transcripts are for the Laney Graduate School per SACS requirements. Transcripts must be in English or accompanied by notarized translations. Please hand-deliver to the ACTSI MSCR program office:

Cheryl Sroka
Rm 6.112, 1599 Building
1599 Clifton Road NE
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322

(For resubmissions only: Please add a one-page Introduction that outlines the weaknesses and concerns of the previous reviews and how you have addressed those in this submission. This page will not count toward the 13-page limit.)

Selection/Review Criteria

The selection process will be carried out under the direction of the ACTSI Research Education Executive Committee, which has established the rules and regulations for the KL2 program. The goal of the KL2 program is to select candidates who, with proper career development and clinical and/or translational research training, have potential to become independently funded, successful, and ethical clinical investigators. Decisions will be based on the strength of the application submitted by the prospective trainee, the potential of the applicant, the success and track record of the lead mentor in mentoring previous junior faculty members and other trainees and diversity issues. Decisions of the KL2 Review Panel are final. Applications will be scored using the NIH scoring system (1 to 9 point scale).

Plan for Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Minorities, Women, and those with Disabilities

The KL2 program is committed to meeting the NIH/NCATS goal and that of Emory University, MSM, Georgia Tech, and UGA to increase the participation of women and individuals from ethnic or racial groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Such groups include American Indian or Alaska native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Applications from women and minority candidates are encouraged. In addition, accommodations will be made to assist any individuals with disabilities so those persons who are qualified applicants can complete the program.

Questions: We encourage interested KL2 candidates to contact the ACTSI education program leadership for questions and assistance with the application process. Questions on the application process can be directed to Cheryl Sroka, ACTSI Research Education Program Coordinator (csroka@emory.edu or 404.727.5096).  For questions, especially technical issues, or problems with the online submission website please contact Alexey Kurbatov (akurbat@emory.edu). Applicants are also encouraged to contact the KL2 Co-Directors for additional information.


Igho Ofotokun, MD, MS

Pamela Bhatti, PhD, MSCR

Alexander Quarshie, MD

Somanath P.R. Shenoy, PhD,FAHA