Revision of NIH Policy Concerning Concurrent Support from Mentored Career Development (K) Award and a Research Grant

Notice Number: NOT-OD-08-065

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

  • April 06, 2018 - Career Award (K) Policy Update: Concurrent Support from a Mentored K Award and a Research Grant
  • August 7, 2009 - See Notice NOT-NS-09-015 Change in NINDS Policy Regarding Salary Support on Individual Mentored Career Development (K) Awards when Applicants Receive an R01.
  • April 2, 2009 - Change in allowable salary levels on Career Awards supported by the National Cancer Institute (see Notice NOT-CA-09-022).

Key Dates
Release Date: April 10, 2008

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

This notice revises and expands NIH policy CONCERNING CONCURRENT SUPPORT FROM CAREER DEVELOPMENT AWARD AND A RESEARCH GRANT, published in the NIH Guide on November 14, 2004: NOT-OD-04-007.  For a listing of all NIH career development (K) awards, see:


NIH mentored K awards are intended to support a period of mentored career development in preparation for a role as an independent researcher in biomedical and behavioral science.  NIH is continuing and expanding its policy on mentored K awards to allow award recipients to hold concurrent support from their K award and a competing research grant when recognized as a Principal Investigator (PI) or subproject Director of a multi-project NIH grant.  Currently mentored K award recipients in the last two years of their support period are permitted to reduce the level of effort required for the K award and replace that effort with effort on an NIH research grant or subproject provided they remain in a mentored situation (NOT-OD-04-007).  The policy change detailed below expands eligible grants to include research grants obtained from any Federal agency; clarifies when the research grant may be obtained relative to the years remaining on the K award; and clarifies that status as a PI on a multiple PI award also confers eligibility.


The policy detailed in this notice is effective for currently active and for all future K awards.  NIH recognizes that other Federal agencies are important resources to investigators pursuing biomedical and behavioral research and that funding from such agencies helps to sustain research laboratories also pursuing research within the mission of NIH.  Therefore NIH is extending the policy of allowing NIH K awardees to reduce effort on the K award in the final two years of the award to all K awardees who compete successfully for peer-reviewed research awards from any Federal agency, if programmatic policy of the other Federal agency allows such an arrangement.  Mentored K award recipients are encouraged to obtain funding from NIH or other Federal sources either as a PI on a competing research grant award or cooperative agreement, or as project leader on a competing multi-project award.  Requested budgets for a competing research grant or a subproject on a multi-project grant should request appropriate amounts for the salary and associated costs for the K award recipient’s effort.  At the time the research grant is awarded the effort required on the K award may be reduced to no less than 6 person-months (50% full-time professional effort at the grantee organization) and replaced by effort from the research award so that the total level of research commitment remains at 9 person-months (75% full-time professional effort) or more for the duration of the mentored K award.  This change in policy applies to the following mentored K award activity codes: K01, K07 (developmental) K08, K22, K23, and K25, as well as individuals mentored through institutional K12 awards.  To be eligible for salary support from peer-reviewed research awards from any Federal agency:

  • The K award recipient must be one of the 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).
  • The K award must be active when the competing research grant application is submitted.
  • The K award must be in its final two years before the reduction in effort to 6 person-months (50% full-time professional effort) is permitted.

For submissions to NIH, a letter must accompany the research grant application from the chair of the mentored award recipient’s department or other responsible institutional official providing: (1) evidence that the recipient will continue to focus on the development of his/her research career; (2) will continue to have access to his/her mentor; and (3) that the recipient’s total level of research effort will be maintained and protected at a minimum of 9 person-months (75% full-time professional effort).  For submissions to other Federal agencies, this type of institutional commitment letter is strongly encouraged; however, applicants should check with that agency for guidance on the allowability of such a letter.

When a mentored K award recipient obtains independent support, as described above, the NIH Institute or Center (IC) supporting the K award will adjust the level of effort committed to the K award to no less than 6 person-months consistent with maintaining total research effort at 9 person-months or 75% or more of full-time professional effort.  NIH may adjust the total salary amounts committed to the K award if consistent with the adjusted level of effort.  If necessary, the K award may also be adjusted to avoid any budgetary overlap.


Questions concerning this notice or other policies related to NIH K awards should be directed to:

Henry Khachaturian, Ph.D.
Acting NIH Research Training Officer
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20817
Phone: 301-451-4225
Fax: 301-480-0146