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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

Questions and Answers

NLM Informatics Training Conference 2011: Program Session – Introduction to NLM Grant Programs, June 28, 2011

Q1: For the K99/R00 award, are there any restrictions as to the number of years from when the doctorate was awarded?

A: No more than 5 years of postdoctoral research experience after doctorate was awarded.

Q2: What is the probability of my getting a K award from NLM? Are K awards from NLM rare?

A: No, it isn’t rare for NLM to issue K awards. A well-written K award application focused on an innovative biomedical informatics research topic that is highly relevant to NLM’s research interests has a good chance of getting funded.

Q3: What is the difference between the K22 award and the K99/R00 award?

A: The NLM K22 award is an unmentored award to support an early career informatics researcher transitioning to an independent position. The K99/R00 award is a two-phase award, with a mentored K99 phase (1–2 years), and then transitioning to an independent R00 phase (1–3 years).

Q4: Do you have to have already secured an independent research position to apply for the K22 award?

A: No, you can apply for the K22 award while still completing your postdoctoral training, and/or searching for a position. If you are successful in competing for the K22 award, you will be given one year to secure a suitable position before the award is activated.

Q5: Would my being a PI on a multi-PI R01 grant leads to my losing my new investigator status?

A: Yes. NIH considers a PI on a multi-PI R01 as being equivalent to a PI on a single-PI R01.

Q6: Can I have co-mentors for a K99 award?

A: Yes, if your career development plan and/or project require mentors with complementary expertise, you can have co-mentors. You should usually have one primary mentor and then one or more co-mentors as appropriate.

Q7: Do my years as a T15 fellow count against not more than 5 years related postdoctoral research training mentioned in the K99/R00 funding opportunity announcement?

A: That depends on whether you are a predoctoral or a postdoctoral fellow in a T15 program. Your years as a predoctoral fellow would not count. Your years as a postdoctoral fellow would count.

Q8: Is there a different time frame for the review of K awards versus other grant applications, such as R01?

A: No, the time from application submission to the earliest possible project start date is similar for K awards and R01 applications, which is at least 9 months.

Q9: How is it possible to apply for a K22 before you secure a faculty position?

A: You must have a really good research idea that is highly relevant to NLM’s research interests, and you must be able to support that your proposed project is feasible. You must have completed at least 2 years of postdoc. You must convince us that you have the training and experience to be highly likely to secure a suitable independent research position. If you are successful in being awarded a K22, it will help you to secure an independent research position and help launch your research career.

Q10: What is the percentage of K99 applications that are scored?

A: NLM study sections score every application that is assigned to NLM and reviewed by one of our study sections. Around 90 percent of the applications assigned to NLM are reviewed by our study sections. All K99 and K22 applications assigned to NLM are reviewed by our study sections, and therefore scored. For a K99 application, you should include a cover letter requesting that the application be assigned to NLM for review and funding considerations.

Q11: Can I get a one-on-one feedback before applying?

A: Yes, you can send one of the program officers an email, with a one page description/Specific Aims page (see funding opportunity announcement). Check our website for the program officer listed for the particular program, and in the research area you are interested in. The program officer will read your description/Specific Aims page and tell you if it is a good idea and in scope for the program, or may need further work. Please note that this will not be an in-depth evaluation of the scientific merit of the proposed project. We can only tell you if it is in scope; the scientific review will be carried out by the study section.

Q12: Can I find NLM’s research interests on your website (e.g., consumer informatics)?

A: You can take a look at the Research Objectives section in PAR-11-208 to get a good idea of NLM’s research interests. Also, take a look at our list of Recent Awards on our website.

Q13: What is the difference between NLM Express R01 and NIH Parent R01?

A: The NLM Express R01 (PAR-11-208) is an NLM-specific funding opportunity announcement (FOA) inviting applications directed to our areas of research interests, and all applications are assigned to NLM. The NIH Parent R01 (PA-11-260) is an NIH-wide FOA and applications are assigned by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) according to each Institute/Center’s research interests. There is also a difference in the budget and project period. NLM Express R01 allows for budget of up to $250,000 direct costs per year for up to 4 years. NIH Parent R01 allows for budget of up to $500,000 direct costs per year up to 5 years, without preapproval. For requests of more than $500,000 direct costs per year, you have to contact a program officer and get preapproval. Please note that in these times of budget cuts, NLM is unlikely to award more than a 4-year project period even if the application comes in on the NIH Parent R01. Also, NLM does not award R01s with large budgets unless well justified.