KL2/TL1 Clinical Research Training Program
In keeping with its core educational mission, Spectrum offers various opportunities for clinical and translational research (CTR), including funding for multiyear degree-granting programs. The two primary clinical research training programs are the KL2 Mentored Career Development Award and the TL1 Clinical Research Training Award.
Through the KL2 Mentored Career Development program, Spectrum provides advanced training in clinical and translational research to senior fellows and junior faculty from all health professions. The KL2 award provides complete tuition support and partial salary support (75% of the applicable Stanford postgraduate-year stipend scale) for a guaranteed period of two years. (Longer-term support, while possible, is contingent on budget and number of appointed scholars in any given year.) KL2 awardees will pursue a mentored research project in their area of expertise. It is expected that the research performed within the KL2 program will provide the basis for an independent NIH award (e.g., K23, K08, or R01).
KL2 awardees will receive advanced training in multiple disciplines, including biostatistics, epidemiology, study design, genetics, bioinformatics and bioethics. Though we encourage our scholars to complete a curriculum toward a master’s degree, pursuing a didactic element within the program need not lead to a degree, and applicants who already have earned an advanced research degree are still eligible.
The Spectrum TL1 award is generally similar to the KL2 award described above, but is tailored to predoctoral and selected postdoctoral trainees who seek formal training in CTR-related methods. The TL1 program requires at least one year of full-time instruction. Predoctoral applicants for the TL1 award must be enrolled in a doctoral-level program, either in a CTR-related area (e.g. PhD in Bioinformatics) or in a combined doctoral program that includes an advanced CTR-related degree (e.g., a master’s degree in a CTR field in addition to an MD). Pursuing formal degree-granting work is not a requirement for postdoctoral applicants. The TL1 award provides limited tuition (up to $16,000/yr) and stipend support (up to $22,032 per year for predoctoral trainees and from $39,264 to $54,180 per year for postdoctoral trainees).
Awardees may pursue a master’s degree in any CTR-related field, though the two primary degree programs are offered by the Health Research and Policy department, in Epidemiology and Clinical Research or Health Services Research. If not pursuing a degree, KL2 awardees may develop a tailored didactic plan that fulfills the mission of the CTSA program and provides the awardee optimal training in his/her CTR career objective. All Spectrum awardees can participate in Spectrum educational activities, such as the Intensive Course in Clinical Research, training in Leadership and Team Science, the Responsible Conduct of Research course and professional development workshops.
Also, each awardee will have at least two mentors — a research mentor, who serves as a guide for their research project, and an academic/career mentor, who provides career/academic oversight and professional advice. The academic/career mentor will be assigned by the Spectrum program director. Mentors are accomplished investigators in clinical and translational research with a track record of success in training new investigators and fostering their success as independent researchers. In addition to the research and career mentors, the KL2 awardees will be assigned a faculty-level methods adviser who can assist with study design questions and analytic plans.
Steven Goodman, MD, PhD
Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research
Professor of Medicine & Health Research and Policy
Director, Spectrum Education and Training
Director, Clinical Research Scholarly Concentration
Stanford University School of Medicine
Redwood Building T265
150 Governor’s Lane
Stanford, California 94305-5405
Phone: (650) 723-8524
Steven M. Asch, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, Spectrum KL2 Program
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Center for Healthcare Evaluation
795 Willow Road (152-MPD)
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: (650) 493-5000
The KL2 award provides complete tuition support and partial salary support (75% of the applicable Stanford postgraduate-year stipend scale) for a guaranteed period of two years. (Longer-term support, while possible, is contingent on budget and number of appointed scholars in any given year). The TL1 award provides limited tuition (up to $16,000/yr) and stipend support (up to $22,032 per year for predoctoral trainees and from $39,264 to $54,180 per year for postdoctoral trainees).
We encourage applicants from all health disciplines who meet the following criteria:
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident by the application deadline (those with visa status are not eligible to apply).
- Must hold a research or health-professional doctoral degree (TL1 predoctoral applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral-level program).
- Must be able to commit 75 percent of professional effort to the program except for surgeons, who may be eligible to commit as little as 50 percent time.
- Must ensure the remaining funding (not provided by Spectrum) will come from a non-federal source.
- Must not be or have been a principal investigator on an NIH R01, or a project leader on a subproject of a Program Project (P01), Center (P50, P60, U54), mentored career development grant (K23, K08, K01, etc.), or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are more than $100,000 in direct costs per year.
- Must not have a current application for another mentored K award (e.g. K23, KO8) submitted or under review.
- Must be pursuing a career path and proposed program in human/translational research.
Our 2015 Spectrum KL2/TL1 grant application will open on December 1, 2014 and close on March 1, 2015. Please prepare your documents into one pdf submission.
All KL2 applications must include:
- Candidate Personal Statement (education, career experience, short- and long-term goals, reasons for applying to the KL2 program and how it will further professional objectives). Limit your response to 800 words.
- Educational and mentoring plan (description of planned didactic activities, including nature and frequency of interactions with primary research mentor; and how this will enhance your research project) Limit to 400 words.
- Research Plan
Limit the total of the following subsections (excluding references) to 1,600 words:
- Structured Abstract (title, background, research question, study design, methods, outcome measures, potential implications of work and innovation)
- Overall Research Question(s) and Specific Aims
- Background / Significance
- Preliminary Data (if relevant) and feasibility assessment: If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to assess feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work.
- Approach / Methods (including key measurements, primary outcome measures and analytic plan)
- Nature of Originality / Innovation
- Potential Implications / Contribution of Work
- Research Timeline, with key progress benchmarks
- Current Curriculum Vitae and Transcripts (from college, medical school, and any advanced degree programs).
- Official Transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office for any masters program applications
- Signed Letter of Support from the department chair or division chief guaranteeing 75-percent protected time to pursue the educational and research goals of the KL2 program. If the proposed training period is longer than the guaranteed funding period of 2 years, an additional letter of support is required from the department chair or division chief assuring continued funding support for the years that are not supported by the KL2 award. The divisional/departmental letter of support must also attest that the trainee is able to accept KL2 funds toward the entire 75% of their research effort and that they do not hold any concomitant federal support.
- Research Mentor’s NIH Biosketch.
- Signed Letter of Recommendation from the prospective research mentor (description of the mentor’s anticipated interactions with the trainee, the research environment, their own qualifications to serve in this role, and list of mentees within 3 years, with their current positions).
- Two Additional Letters of Recommendation from colleagues with whom the candidate has worked. (One letter could be substituted for the one from the proposed mentor above, if the mentor has worked with the applicant before.)
- Current and Pending Funding Support Information
All TL1 applications must include:
- Statement of Intent describing the general area of research focus, educational plan, including research mentors and environment where appropriate, translational research career aspirations and recognition of NIH service payback requirements for postdoctoral applicants. (See NIH Grant Policy statement for details). Limit your response to 1,600 words.
- Current Curriculum Vitae and Transcripts (from college, medical school and any advanced degree programs)
- Mentor’s NIH Biosketch
- Signed Letter of Support from the student’s advising dean or training program director attesting that the trainee can devote full-time to their TL1-supported studies for at least one academic year.
- Two letters of recommendation from colleagues with whom the candidate has worked.
- Current and pending funding support
Danit Ariel, M.D.
Katharine Brock, M.D.
Monica Eneriz-Wiemer, M.D.
Christopher Woo, M.D.
Manali Patel, M.D.
Yana Emmy Hoy-Schulz, Ph.D.
Rupa Narayan, M.D.
Suki Padda, M.D.
Andrew South, M.D.
Q: How is the KL2 program funded?
A: The NIH KL2 Mentored Clinical Research Scholars program is funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as part of a broad Clinical and Translational Science initiative (CTSA).
Q: How many funded positions will there be each year?
A: We hope to select 3-5 KL2 Scholars and 4-6 TL1 scholars each year. The exact number of trainees selected is contingent on budget and number of appointed scholars in any given year.
Q: What does the 75% protected time for KL2 consist of?
A: The protected time is for multidisciplinary clinical and translational research with training and mentoring activities.
Q: May I negotiate to devote less than 75% effort to the KL2?
A: In general, 75% of the scholars’ full-time professional effort must be devoted to the program. However, certain surgical specialties may request approval for less than 75% if justified, but no less than 50% protected time for this program. Justification will require documentation that more than a 25% clinical commitment is required in order to avoid loss of competence or credentialing in specified clinical skills. Any applicant who is interested in applying while committing less than 75% effort for the academic aspects of the project should discuss their interests with Dr. Steve Goodman prior to applying.
Q: I have another award that supports me for 75% of my research effort - Can I retain that award while keeping the CTSA KL2?
A: No. Accepting the KL2 implies that the awardee accepts the entire award at 75% effort toward their KL2 research proposal. This is a critical requirement from the perspective of the NIH. From the perspective of the NIH, one cannot guarantee that obligations or responsibilities from the other award will not conflict with the requirements of the KL2. Hence every awardee is required to accept the entire funds of the KL2 and commit to 75% of their effort toward KL2 research for a period of 2 years.
Q: How can I best use the 25% non-supported effort?
A: The scholar’s non-supported effort must be devoted to activities related to the development of a successful clinical and translational research career. Typically, these activities include clinical, administrative, and/or teaching efforts. The divisions/departments must not require extra duties or responsibilities that reduce the scholar’s protected time that would interfere with the purpose of the career development award.
Q: What percentage of clinical time is allotted? Is it 25%?
Q: Do applicants have to pursue an advanced clinical research degree?
Pursuing a degree is optional for the KL2 scholars. Scholars are free to explore other clinical and translational research-related degree options, provided they fit with their curriculum, research interests, and clinical responsibilities. This requirement holds true for postdoctoral TL1 scholars but not for predoctoral TL1 awardees. Predoctoral TL1 awardees are required to be enrolled in a doctoral-level degree.
Q: How does the payment portion of the salary work? Does it get paid directly to the department?
A: The KL2 funds (salary and tuition) are charged to a PTA account number provided by the Spectrum Finance office.
Q: Can a KL2 or TL1 awardee avail the tuition component alone without the salary?
Awarding 75% of the scholar’s salary is the primary mechanism for ensuring protected time toward research.
Therefore, we cannot appoint a KL2 scholar with the tuition component alone. But the reverse is possible – a KL2 scholar may avail the salary component alone without any tuition funds toward a formal degree curriculum.
Q: Can I work on several research projects under my 75% protected time?
A: Yes. However, these research projects should all be aligned with your overall research theme, objectives, and specific aims. They would probably be described in your application at least briefly because you need to account for all your time.
Q: Can a candidate who has submitted a K23 application but has not received a score or has been informed that he or she has an unfundable score apply for a KL2 appointment?
A: This MAY be possible IF the NIH K23 application (or equivalent) is either not yet under review or can be withdrawn. It is not possible to have 2 K applications (i.e., KL2 and K23) under simultaneous review.
Q: Are other federal grants (eg R01 or R21) allowed to support the remaining 25% salary not covered by the KL2 award?
A: Scholars receiving any of the K awards that support 75% salary may not concurrently receive salary support from other US Public Health Service sources (including NIH, CDC, FDA, etc). The KL2 awardee may apply for individual K awards and if successful, the KL2 would be terminated and funding received from the new individual K award. Please see the following link for more information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch12.htm
With pre-approval from the NIH, KL2 Scholars may receive VA salary for clinical time.
Most scholars will receive support from teaching or clinical activities. Non-PHS awards and non-federal grants may also be used to support the remaining 25% effort. Grants from private foundations, voluntary organizations (e.g. American Heart Association, Cancer Society), and professional societies are all acceptable.
Federal grants MAY supply additional research support, but not salary.
Q: How is this award different from NIH individual Career Development Awards (CDAs)?
A: For specific information regarding individual CDAs please visit an external link at the NIH: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/index.htm
Individuals who have already obtained an individual K award will not be eligible to apply for our KL2 award.
The KL2 award is an institutional mentored clinical research award. It is similar in intent, scope, and funding to individual mentored K awards. All NIH Mentored career development awards have the same general level of effort requirements. However, there are several important differences. The application materials and time to notification are much shorter. A personal interview is required. Furthermore, because a group of scholars will be chosen together, there will be a cohort of scholars to provide numerous opportunities to develop collaborative relationships early in the program.
A core curriculum will be provided that will develop general scholarship in a breadth of clinical research topics. Intensive clinical research mentorship is also a primary focus of the CTSA KL2 award.
Q: Are scholars under this program eligible to apply for individual K awards such as the K08 and K23?
Depending on the length of time under the KL2 award, appointed KL2 scholars may apply for individual mentored K awards (e.g., K07, K08, K22, K23); if successful, the KL2 appointment would be terminated and funding received from the new individual K award. The core curriculum and training for our KL2 Program is designed to lead to independent research and prepare scholars to submit a K-, R- or U-type grant application (e.g. R03, R21, R01, U01, etc.).
Q: If I currently hold a K23 or K08, am I eligible for this RFA?
Q: Is there a limit on time since completing post-doctoral training, or at what stage should prospective KL2 scholars be?
A: We have not established explicit limits on time since training. However, this award is best suited for applicants who are early in their professional careers. This award is not meant to serve as support for applicants already established in their field, nor is it meant to aid in a career change. Individuals who have achieved the rank of associate professor are not eligible.
KL2 Scholars must hold a doctoral level degree. We are seeking individuals at an early stage of their career, even while they are in sub-specialty training. We expect that KL2 Scholars will be postdoctoral level trainees or junior faculty who plan to conduct, or are conducting, clinical and translational research. Some KL2 Scholars may be at the tenure-track/assistant professor level when they enter the program, but we hope most KL2 Scholars will be at a much earlier stage. We expect that KL2 Scholars will become assistant professor or tenure-track clinical research faculty either during or after they progress through the program.
Q: Can this program be combined with a clinical fellowship?
KL2 funds cannot be used to support clinical fellowship training. However, fellows who have completed the part of their fellowship needed for sub specialty certification are eligible to apply.
Q: Will there be funding provided to potential mentors?
Q: I am a principal investigator of industry grants; am I eligible for the KL2?
A: Yes. This is allowed as long as your paid effort is outside of the 75% KL2-supported effort.
Q: Can a KL2 scholar accept a small grant award?
A: Yes. KL2 scholars may be named PIs on a competing NIH research grant application (R01, R03, R15, R21, R34, or equivalent application from another federal agency) or a sub-project director on a competing multi-component research or center grant or cooperative agreement application (P01, P50, U01, etc. or an equivalent application from another federal agency). However, the effort requirement of the KL2 award applies. In addition, each KL2 scholar who plans to apply for an NIH K award must assure they remain eligible. Becoming a PI on a R01 would disqualify an applicant from a KL2 or other K award.