Request for Information (RFI): Physician-Scientist Specific Grant Program to Facilitate the Transition From Training to Independence

Notice Number:


Key Dates

Release Date: October 10, 2014

Response Date: November 3, 2014

Related Announcements


Issued by

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks input on a proposed new initiative to facilitate the transition of physician-scientists from training to independence. Comments are invited from all interested individuals and entities.


In June 2014, the Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group (PSW-WG) provided a report to the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, on approaches to inform decisions about the development of the U.S. physician-scientist biomedical workforce. The PSW-WG defined physician-scientists as individuals with professional degrees who have training in clinical care and who are engaged in independent biomedical research. As defined by the PSW-WG, this group includes individuals with an MD, DO, DDS/DMD, DVM/VMD, or nurses with research doctoral degrees who devote the majority of their time to biomedical research. Among its recommendations, the PSW-WG suggested that the NIH:

“… should establish a new physician-scientist-specific granting mechanism to facilitate the transition from training to independence. This program should be similar to the K99/R00 program whose funding currently goes almost exclusively to individuals holding a PhD degree. This new grant program could serve either as a replacement or transition from existing K Awards for physician scientists, and should provide a longer period of support, potentially lengthening the R00 phase to 5 years (with an interim staff review at year 3). This new grant series, as well as K and all other training awards, should rigorously enforce protected time of at least 75 percent effort and provide sufficient salary support to make that possible.”

This Request for Information (RFI) seeks to obtain input on unique challenges faced by physician-scientists in transitioning to research independence, the possibility of modifying existing award programs to address these challenges, and the possibility of developing a career transition award program for physician-scientists.

Request for Information

The NIH seeks public input to inform its consideration of the PSW-WG recommendation to develop a program to facilitate the transition of physician-scientists from training to independence.

Your feedback can include, but is not limited to, the following considerations:

  • Physician-scientists (MD, DO, DDS/DMD, DVM/VMD, or nurses with research doctoral degrees) may face barriers to research independence different from individuals with research doctoral degrees.  For example, following clinical or fellowship training periods, clinicians often obtain a clinical faculty position that denotes independence in clinical responsibilities but not in research. Your feedback may address factors NIH may consider in encouraging the transition to research independence:
  • Modifying the existing Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (PA-14-046) and Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (PA-14-049) to better meet the needs of physician-scientists.
  • Developing institutional training or institutional career development programs to meet the particular needs of physician-scientists.
  • Mentoring needs or requirements specific to physician-scientists.
  • Any unique needs of dual-degree holders, e.g. MD/PhD, DDS/PhD, DVM/PhD, in successfully transitioning to research independence. 
  • The career trajectory of physician-scientists (MD, DO, DDS/DMD, DVM/VMD, or nurses with research doctoral degrees) is often different from others with research doctoral degrees. The K99/R00 award (PA-14-042), one NIH career transition award, provides a phased program of mentored training and independent NIH research support. The K99/R00 program is open to all eligible applicants with a clinical or research doctorate (including PhD, MD, DO, DC, ND, DDS, DMD, DVM, ScD, DNS, PharmD or equivalent doctoral degrees); however, relatively few physician-scientists apply. In developing a career transition award suited to physician-scientists, NIH may consider several provisions of the current K99/R00 program, including the following:
  • The K99/R00 is intended to facilitate a timely transition of outstanding individuals from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions, and to provide independent NIH research support during the transition that will help these individuals launch competitive, independent research careers.
  • Applicants must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or the subsequent resubmission application.
  • The award is intended for individuals who require at least 12, but no more than 24, months of mentored research training and career development before transitioning to the independent award phase of the program.
  • The K99/R00 provides up to 5 years of support in two phases. The initial phase provides support for up to 2 years of mentored postdoctoral research training and career development. The second phase provides up to 3 years of independent research support, which is contingent on satisfactory progress during the mentored phase and an approved, independent, tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position.
Submitting a Response

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically using the web-based form at: .  Please do not submit comments by other mechanisms, such as fax or email. Responses are due by November 3, 2014, 11:59:59 PM EDT.

Respondents are encouraged to provide answers specific to the various degree types under consideration: MD, DO, DDS/DMD, DVM/VMD, or nurses with research doctoral degrees. Answers must be sufficiently brief (short paragraph) so that NIH can group same or similar responses. Essays will NOT be considered.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response.  The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission.   The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website. 

The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s).  The NIH may use the information gathered by this RFI to inform the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers.   No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Research Training and Career Development
NIH Office of Extramural Programs