ACTSI TL1 Application Instructions

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There are two separate TL1 Program tracks:  a predoctoral TL1 track (for medical students, PhD graduate students and PharmD students) and a postdoctoral TL1 application track (for physicians in residency and fellowship training, PharmD residents, and PhD postdocs).  Applicants should ensure that they apply to the appropriate track.  Please note that the deadline for applications differ by track (February 15, 2016 for the predoctoral TL1 track and March 15, 2017 for the postdoctoral TL1 track).  Applications from underrepresented minorities as defined by NIH are encouraged (

Eligibility requirements include: 1) per NIH guidelines, TL1 applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; 2) TL1 applicants must be a predoctoral or postdoctoral trainees at one of the ACTSI partner institutions (Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy); 3) applicants should be committed to a career that encompasses clinical and/or translational research.

Application for the TL1 program includes the following components listed below. TL1 applications MUST be submitted online (click to start). Once you have started submission by entering your name and email address, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to your TL1 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.

1) A cover sheet (save link as document).

2) A personal statement (up to 2 pages maximum) to include the applicant’s training and research background and career goals, including how this TL1 training program and training afforded by the mentoring team will specifically enhance career development. Use Arial 11 font and 1.0 inch margins, single-spaced.

3) Curriculum vitae of the applicant in the form of an NIH-style predoctoral or postdoctoral biosketch. NIH Biosketch forms, instructions and examples are at this website:  Note that the NIH-style biosketch for both predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows requires information on any prior research support awarded to the applicant, as well as prior scholastic performance (undergraduate and graduate school attended, science course titles, other course titles, year course take and final letter grade). Helpful slides for completing the NIH Biosketch are at:

4) The current NIH-style biosketch of the proposed Lead Mentor. The personal statement of the lead Mentors’ biosketch must reflect commitment to the mentee and his/her specific project. The Lead Mentor should be an established and successful clinical and/or translational research investigator.  The Lead Mentor is expected to have external research funding and serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) or multiple PI (most commonly this includes federal funding such as that from NIH, CDC, VA, AHRQ, DOD, FDA, CMS, etc).

5) Current NIH-style biosketch of co-mentors or Advisory Committee member(s). TL1 applicants may also have co-mentors.  The co-mentors do not necessarily have to have the same qualifications as the Lead Mentor.  The personal statements of these co-mentors must reflect commitment to the mentee and his/her specific project. The co-mentor team may consist of 2-3 additional faculty members, in addition to the Lead Mentor.

6) TL1 Clinical and/or Translational Research Proposal.  A hypothesis driven clinical and/or translational research project involving human subjects, and may include human data from available databases is required as part of the application process.  The project to be outlined will also serve as the thesis project for MSCR candidates—see ACTSI MSCR or a component of the PhD dissertation project in the case of PhD/MSCR or MD/PhD/MSCR applicants).

The translational significance to human health of the proposed research projects must be clearly outlined. The proposed MSCR thesis or dissertation research project must be prepared in close collaboration with the TL1 applicant’s Lead Mentor.

This component of the TL1 application must not exceed 6 pages and should include the following required elements (use Arial 11 font and 0.5 inch margins). Information on preparing the required elements is provided, with examples, in the instructions for a predoctoral NIH F31 application at the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases website at: These F31 grant instructions are also relevant to the required TL1 research plan elements of postdoctoral TL1 applicants. Required elements for the TL1 research project are:

a) Title of proposal and investigators.  The applicant should include the title of the proposal, the applicant’s name and the name of the Lead Mentor, their affiliation and academic title (does not count against 6 page limit).

b) Abstract/Summary (500 word maximum) of the overall research project (does not count against 6 page limit).

c) Specific Aims (one-page maximum—counts as part of 6 page limit) section that includes: a summary of the project (rationale/background, innovative aspects, brief overview of planned research and study population, including accessible datasets), a hypothesis statement, and 2 to 3 Specific Aims of the research project that briefly outline how each Aim will address the hypothesis/hypotheses.

d) Research Plan (up to 6 pages including Specific Aims page) that includes the following sections: Significance (1-2 pages), including any relevant preliminary data of the Lead Mentor and/or applicant; Innovation (up to 0.5 pages) that outlines the novelty of the project to the field; and Approach (3.5-4.0 pages) which details how the specific Aims are going to be addressed. The Approach section can also include preliminary data and must include information on the proposed research methods, study population (including inclusion/exclusion criteria and details on any human subject databases that may be used), a statistical analysis plan (developed in conjunction with a biostatistician, as needed), including a power analysis, if applicable, a brief description of the mentoring team and their expertise, and a comment on expected results/pitfalls/solutions with regard to the executing the Specific Aims and interpretations of study results.

e) Bibliography focused/no page limit with citations in numerical order from the Research Plan (does not count against 6 page limit).

f) Protection of Human Subjects section (should be brief, no page limit, see NIAID F31 example link above but recommended to be less than 2 pages). This section outlines hazards/risks/discomforts to research subjects, if applicable, and methods to be employed to mitigate such risks.

g) Inclusion of Women, Children and Minorities brief statement should be provided which outlines any exclusion of these groups and the rationale in the research project (does not count against 6 page limit).

7) Letters of support should be included in the application package.  NOTE:  these letters of support should be submitted directly to the TL1 program by the person providing the letter of support).  Letters should include:

  • Letter from the trainee’s proposed Lead Mentor. The letter from the Lead Mentor, should indicate willingness to serve as the TL1 applicant's lead mentor for the MSCR thesis or Certificate Program in Translational Research. The Lead Mentor’s letter should also include a brief outline of the proposed research project and indicate that he/she has reviewed the applicant's proposed research project summary prior to its submission.  The Lead Mentor’s letter should indicate an understanding of the requirements to serve as a TL1 Lead Mentor.
  • Letter(s) of support from co-mentor(s) (if applicable);
  • Letter of recommendation from the applicant’s Division or Program Director, Chair, or Dean of Students;
  • Letter of support from any advisors named in the application. Advisors are optional, but if any are listed on the cover sheet or named in the application, there should be a letter from the advisor stating their willingness to serve in that role. They should also submit their NIH Biosketch, but the Other Support Page is optional for advisors.

8) 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

TL1 trainee selection process:  Applications to the ACTSI TL1 program will be reviewed by a review panel or “study section” that follows an NIH grant-style review format. There will be a separate review panels for predoctoral TL1 applicants and postdoctoral TL1 applicants, respectively.  The review panels will include faculty from all of the partner institutions including members of the ACTSI Research Education Executive Committee.  In addition, other ad hoc members of the two study sections will include relevant faculty, NIH K-grant or equivalent federally funded junior faculty, and other faculty members who have received NIH funding. The TL1 Core Program Director, Henry Blumberg, MD, will chair the review panels.  Guidelines to avoid conflict of interest will be utilized.  Selection criteria for TL1 trainees include: 1) potential of the candidate to develop into a successful clinical/translational investigator; 2) evidence of commitment on part of the applicant’s Lead Mentor, multidisciplinary mentoring team, and the experience and success of the lead mentor in mentoring trainees, as well as strength of the required letters of support; 3) the quality and feasibility of the proposed hypothesis-driven research project and the training/career development plan; 4) diversity to encourage training of candidates from different departments and from under-represented minority groups.  Each application is scored using a NIH-style scoring system (1 to 9 scale), ranked on the basis of this score, and offered a position based on rank and availability of TL1 Core slot funding.  Written reviewer evaluations and summary of the discussion of the study section are provided to all applicants.  The ACTSI Research Education Executive Committee will make the final decision regarding admission into the TL1 program. The ACTSI Research Education Program office will issue a letter of acceptance.

Questions: We encourage interested TL1 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 ( or 404.727.5096).  For questions, especially technical issues, or problems with the online submission website please contact Alexey Kurbatov ( Applicants are also encouraged to contact the TL1 Co-Directors for additional information.


Thomas Ziegler, MD

Pamela Bhatti, PhD, MSCR

Douglas F. Paulsen, PhD

Somanath P.R. Shenoy, PhD, FAHA