Clarification of Use of the NIH Independent Scientist Award (K02) by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Notice Number:  NOT-DA-11-005

Key Dates

Release Date:   December 23, 2010

Issued by

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


This Guide Notice is being published to provide clarification regarding the use of the NIH Independent Scientist Award (K02) by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The NIDA uses the NIH Independent Scientist Award to foster the development of outstanding scientists and enable them to expand their potential to make significant contributions to the substance use/abuse/addiction research field.  It provides 3 – 5 years of support and “protected time” for scientists who can demonstrate the need for a period of intensive research focus as a means of enhancing their research careers, which may include, but is not limited to, expanding research potential and/or initiating new research directions.

This Notice is to clarify that the NIDA uses the K02 mechanism broadly, to support scientists at various stages of their independent research careers (e.g., newly independent; mid-career) as a means of enhancing their research programs. This award, however, is not intended for senior scientists who are recognized leaders in the alcohol, or drug abuse, or related research fields—these candidates may want to consider applying for the Senior Scientist Research and Mentorship Award (K05).

Candidates for the K02 award are expected to have independent, peer reviewed research support at the time the K02 award is made. Applicants must also provide a strong justification for needing protected research time. An applicant does not need to propose a new research project beyond the research for which he or she has already received funding.  However, activities/plans for enhancing the research program and/or career development, such as new collaborations or new directions in research, should be documented and justified.

The FOA for the K02 does not require that candidates provide mentoring, and mentoring is not an objective of the K02.

The K02 is renewable one time only.

Please see NIDA's budget/salary guidelines at NOT-DA-06-013.

Research Support: Research support is not provided except for predominantly theoretical work, such as modeling or computer simulation, in which case up to $25,000 per year can be obtained.


Questions concerning this notice should be directed to your NIDA program official or the NIDA contact below.

Mimi M. Ghim, PhD
Office of Science Policy and Communications
Phone: 301-443-6071

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