Guidance Regarding Reduction of Effort for Surgeons on NIA Individual Mentored K Awards
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 26, 2021

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Issued by

National Institute on Aging (NIA)


The purpose of this Notice is to announce a change in the minimum effort requirement for surgeons on individual mentored K awards funded by the National Institute on Aging.


Surgeon-scientists are an important part of the academic healthcare workforce for aging populations. However, surgeons applying for career development awards may find standard NIH minimum effort requirements challenging due to the need for adequate operative case volume to maintain clinical skills.

NIA Guidance

With this Notice, NIA will now allow surgeons to devote less than nine person months of effort (i.e., 75% of full-time professional effort), but no less than six person months of effort (i.e., 50% of full-time professional effort), in all years of the award for the purpose of maintaining clinical competency. This effort requirement includes both research and career development activities. This policy applies to all NIA-supported independent mentored K mechanisms, including K01, K08, K23, K76, and K99. For the purposes of this policy, a surgeon is a physician who is clinically active in one of the 14 surgical subspecialties recognized by the American College of Surgeons . Applicants proposing to reduce their effort below nine person months of effort must provide adequate justification for such reduction.

This policy is effective immediately and applies to surgeons who are submitting new or resubmission applications to NIA as well as to surgeons with current or pending NIA awards.

New or resubmitting applicants should provide justification of the need to reduce research effort in the budget justification section of the application. Peer reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of effort to achieve the proposed aims. NIA and grants management staff will also evaluate the proposed effort during work up of any award.

Current and pending eligible awardees proposing to reduce their effort should contact their program officer to discuss eligibility. If confirmed, awardees should submit the following documents to NIA program and grants management staff through their Authorized Organizational Representative:

  • An official request letter referencing this Notice, NOT-AG-21-019, that includes a justification of the need to reduce research effort and a description of measures that will be taken to ensure successful completion of the original project aims and career development activities
  • Updated budget and budget justification

Program and grants management staff will review submitted documents. Program and grants management staff will review submitted documents and notify grantees about the outcome.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Maria Carranza, Ph.D.
NIA Training Officer
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

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