ASCRS and the ASCRS Research Foundation have partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund K series awards, which will provide up to $175,000 annually for dedicated research. These awards, similar to programs the NIH has already established with other medical specialty organizations, will be funded by annual grants of up to $100,000 per year, to which the Society will fund $75,000 per year for five years for salary support for the first recipient. The Research Foundation will fund future winners. The goal is to allow one of the Society’s dedicated researchers to make a 75% time commitment to research.
NIH has 21 different K series career development awards. The Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08), for example, represents the continuation of a long-standing NIH program that provides support and protected time to individuals with a clinical doctoral degree for an intensive, supervised research career development experience in the fields of biomedical and behavioral research, including translational research. For individuals with a clinical doctoral degree interested in pursuing a career in patient-oriented research, the NIH Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) is offered.
Each award is for a period of three to five years and provides support for salary and research-related costs. The amount funded as salary for a career development award varies among the NIH participating Institutes and Centers (ICs). Therefore, the applicant is strongly advised to contact the relevant IC for guidelines, requirements, and allowable funds (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/about_grants.htm).
The NIH K08 and K23 Awards are designed for physicians who are still in training (i.e., they have usually not accepted a faculty position). The purpose of the awards is to provide both funding and mentorship to outstanding candidates during the period when they transition from fellow to independent principal investigator.
The K08 Award is intended for physicians who are engaged in basic research and intend to pursue basic research at the faculty level. The K23 Award is designed for physician scientists engaged in clinical or patient-oriented research.
Both awards provide up to five years of funding, allowing protected time for research, and also involve a formal didactic mentoring program involving more senior clinical researchers. Ideally, a K08 or K23 award provides some of the funds for a trainee’s fellowship research and some of the initial funding for a new investigator’s laboratory.