Notice of Information on NIMH Policy Updates for Career Development Programs (K awards)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

September 28, 2022

Related Announcements

NOT-MH-13-001 - NIMH Modifies its Support for Career Development ('K') Programs

Issued by

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


This Notice is to inform the research community that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is updating the policy on the eligibility window criterion and language regarding the duration of support for the mentored K awards (i.e., K01, K08, K23) that was published in the NIH Guide on October 31, 2012 (NOT-MH-13-001).


NIMH previously established a policy (NOT-MH-13-001) limiting eligibility for mentored K awards (i.e., K01, K08, K23) to individuals who were within six years of completing their PhD or medical residency training at the time of application (either the initial or resubmission application). Under that policy, all time after the completion of degree requirements counted toward the six-year eligibility window and the window was not extended to account for time spent away from research.

To be consistent with the NIH-wide K99/R00 definition of "postdoctoral research experience" (PA-20-187, PA-20-188, and/or PA-20-189) and to provide additional flexibility to candidates who may have taken time away from research and would like to apply for a mentored K award, NIMH will no longer count time spent away from research against the six-year eligibility window.

Effective for applications due on October 12, 2022, and thereafter, applicants for NIMH supported K01, K08 and K23 awards may have no more than 6 years of postdoctoral research experience as of the relevant application due date at the time of the initial or resubmission application.

Postdoctoral research is defined as any time spent conducting research or publishing research results following completion of all degree requirements, which may not correspond with the date of the graduation ceremony. This includes any time spent at the institution where the doctoral degree was completed prior to starting an official postdoctoral position.

With this Notice, NIMH is also refining the policy on duration of support. NIMH encourages applicants to limit the requested support to no more than four years. Applicants proposing more than four years of support are strongly encouraged to contact an NIMH Research Training and Career Development Program Officer. Program staff will evaluate whether the requested duration of support is appropriately justified, taking into consideration prior research experience, the extent and duration of needed career development activities, and the timeline needed to complete the proposed research activities. Applications requesting five years of support without pre-submission approval may be programmatically reduced to four years of support.


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