Release Date:  February 8, 2002

NOTICE:  NOT-MH-02-001

National Institute of Mental Health

This notice provides a revision and update of the most recent NIMH POLICY 
UPDATE FOR CAREER AWARDS (K-SERIES) that was published in the NIH Guide on 
June 12, 2000.  This document is intended to complement the policies of the 
Trans-NIH K-Series program announcements (see below).  Prospective applicants 
must follow all the instructions covered under each program announcement as 
well as the Research Career Award section of PHS 398 when preparing 
an application.

The purpose of this notice is to address NIMH-specific issues regarding the 
following program announcements:

PA-00-019:  Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01)
PA-00-020:  Independent Scientist Award (K02)
PA-00-021:  Senior Scientist Award (K05)
PA-00-003:  Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08)
PA-00-004:  Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
PA-00-005:  Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
PA-99-087:  Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award  (K25)
PAR-99-169:  Scientist Development Award for New Minority Faculty (K01)
PA-01-065:  NIMH Research Career Award for Transition to Independence (K22)

Relevant career award announcements can be found at:


K01, K08, K22, K23 and K25 Awards:

NIMH mentored career development award mechanisms (K01, K08, K22, K23 and 
K25) are intended to assist new investigators at stages beyond postdoctoral 
training to gain additional supervised experience in order to become an 
independent scientist.  Support for the K01, K08, K22, K23 and K25 awards are 
limited to one three to five year term, and are usually restricted to one 
mentored career award per individual.

Applicants are expected to pursue research and career development activities 
directly relevant to the mission of the NIMH.  Applications with marginal or 
no mental health relevance will be considered unresponsive to these programs.  
These applications will not be considered further and will be returned to the 
applicant.  Therefore, it is very important that prospective applicants 
contact the appropriate Institute office, listed under INQUIRES, prior to 
preparing an application.

NIMH mentored career award recipients are encouraged to apply for independent 
research grant support (e.g., R03, R01 or R21) during the period of the 
award.  However, in general, NIMH discourages awardees from applying for an 
NIH research grant during the initial stages of the mentored K award 
(corresponding approximately to the first two years of the award).  
Regardless of the timing, when a research grant application is subsequently 
submitted to the NIMH requesting support that overlaps the period of mentored 
K award support, the awardee must include a statement in the application 
which outlines how the career development and research supported through the 
K award will be impacted or modified should the new research application be 
supported.  The applicant should identify how these applications (career 
award and research grant) relate to one another, highlighting any areas of 
scientific overlap.  Since R01 and several other research grant applications 
now follow "modular" guidelines, any budgetary overlap issues will need to be 
resolved with NIMH staff prior to award.  It should be noted that no salary 
for the principal investigator will be provided in the research grant during 
the period of career development support.  Therefore, applicants are strongly 
encouraged to discuss these issues with the NIMH program staff prior to 
submitting a new grant application. 

K02, K05, and K24 Awards:

The early to mid-career awards, K02 and K24, are available for two five-year 
terms (including one competitive renewal).  Investigators with peer-reviewed, 
independent research support may receive an initial K02 or K24 award from 
NIMH.  However, an individual who previously has held an NIMH K01, K08, or 
K23 award must have NIMH research support at the time of his/her first K02 or 
K24 award.  Eligibility for renewal of K02 or K24 awards is limited to those 
who are NIMH grantees at the time of award.  Support from either K02 or K24 
or any combination of these awards is limited to two five-year terms.

The senior scientist award, K05, is restricted to one five year term only, 
and is available only to those researchers who are NIMH grantees at the time 
of award.  

For the purpose of these policies, NIMH grantees are PIs on active R01, R24, 
R37, P01, P20, P30, P50, U01 and U10 grants.  It should be noted that 
investigators whose only NIMH support has been to direct subprojects on P or 
U series grants, or are PIs on a subcontract on any other grant mechanism, 
are not eligible.

Scientists who hold a position with committed salary support for research or 
whose primary responsibility is administrative, must demonstrate a compelling 
need for a K02, K05, or K24 award.


The unique aspects of NIMH allowable costs, specifically in the categories of 
salary and research support are listed below.

Salary for K01, K02, K05, K08, K23 and the Extramural period of the K22 Award:

The NIMH will contribute up to 100% of the Principal Investigator's 
institutional base annual salary, up to a maximum of $90,000.  Note that the 
salary allowance will be commensurate with the actual level of effort up to 
$90,000.  The salary must be based on a full-time 12–month position and must 
be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution 
and with salaries actually provided by the grantee institution from its own 
funds and or non-federal funds to other staff members of equivalent 
qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the applicable department. 

The NIMH Career Award programs (except the K24) require the recipients to 
devote a minimum of 75% of full-time professional effort to research and 
career development activities for the period of the award.  Fringe benefits 
are requested separately from the salary and must be based on the salary 
requested in the application. 

Following peer review, detailed budget information will be requested for 
selected applications.  When this information is submitted to NIMH, it is 
important to note that the amount requested must reflect the actual salary 
effective at the start date of the potential award and will not be 
modified mid-year.

Beginning with competing awards made in fiscal year 2003, the NIMH will limit 
salary increases on career awards, to no greater than 3% per year, up to the 
maximum allowed, in order to comply with the NIH total cost commitment policy.

It is important to note that NIMH funded salary limitations for non-competing 
applications that began prior to fiscal year 2003 continue to be governed by 
the NIMH policies in place at the time the competing application was funded.  

Salary and Research Related Expenses for K22, K24, and K25 Awards:

Please note that the K24, K25 and the Intramural phase of the K22 awards are 
somewhat different from the other career development mechanisms covered under 
this policy announcement.  Therefore, the applicant is referred to the K22, 
K24, and K25 program announcements for additional information about salary 
and research related expenses.

Research Development Support for K01, K08, K23 and the Extramural phase of 
the K22 Awards:

The NIMH allows for funds up to $50,000 per year for research-related 
expenses outlined in each program announcement (note that $50,000 is the 
upper limit allowed for the first year and each subsequent year).  Applicants 
must justify requested costs.

Research Support for K02, K05:

Only K02 and K05 awardees who are engaged in predominantly theoretical work, 
such as modeling or computer simulation, will be eligible to receive NIMH 
funds up to $25,000 for expenses as outlined in each program announcement.  
Applicants must justify requested costs.  (Note that $25,000 is the upper 
limit allowed for each year of the proposed project period.)


Institutions are encouraged to use these awards to help transition the 
awardee from mentored research to independence.  NIMH realizes that new 
investigators often need to obtain external support and/or move to another 
institution in order ultimately to secure a more independent position (e.g., 
faculty).  Therefore, it is the policy of NIMH to be flexible with regard to 
transfer to another institution. 

Instructions for Change of Institution

An abbreviated (see below) application must be submitted by the new institution.
The transfer request must be submitted at least three months in advance of 
the desired effective date to allow the necessary time for staff review.

Note:  NIMH will continue to allow an awardee to transfer from one 
institution to another for the last year of the award, with prior approval of 
the responsible Project Officer.  The period of support requested can be no 
more than the time remaining within the existing original award project 
period.  No transfer will be allowed for awards with less than six months 
remaining in the project period, during a period of administrative extension 
or after a project has terminated.  The abbreviated application (use Form PHS 
398, revised 05/01, Research Career Award Section), which will initially be 
evaluated by the Project Officer, should provide detailed information in the 
areas outlined below:

Section I Basic Administrative Data:

A complete face page (form page 1) should provide information on all items 
and include all appropriate signatures.  The "abstract" page (form page 2) 
should include a brief summary of the goals of the research and career plans, 
as well as the reason(s) for the transfer of institution, and identify key 
personnel.  The table of contents substitute page (form page 3) should be 
used to indicate the page numbers for appropriate sections (see ahead).  The 
budget pages (form pages 4 and 5) should provide information for the period 
of support remaining within the existing award project period.  Budgets in 
the new application cannot exceed the amounts previously approved for the 
same project periods.  Justifications are required for any costs that differ 
significantly from previously approved budget items (e.g., personnel costs, 
equipment, and other expenses).  The biographical sketch format page should 
include only information relevant to the transfer.  The resources format page 
and continuations, as necessary, should provide detailed information about 
the new institution.  A completed checklist form page and updated Other 
Support format page is required, and the personnel report format page should 
be included if new collaborators have been added.  The personal data form 
page should be omitted.
Section II Specialized Information:

1.  The Candidate

Part (a).  Letters of Reference (for mentored awards): New letters of 
reference are not required.

Parts (b, c, d).  Candidate's background, Career Goals, and Career 
Development: since this is an important aspect of a career development award, 
provide (where pertinent) detailed information on these topics.  Give 
examples of how the career goals and development might be enhanced by the 
move to the new institution.

2.  Statement by Sponsor(s), Consultant(s), and Collaborator(s)

Provide detailed information, if any of these will change from the original 
application, or the applicant's modes of interaction with these individuals 
will differ.  It is critically important to provide a detailed statement by 
any new sponsor(s) for mentored career development awards (K01, K08, K23, K25 
and K22), especially indicating the scientific credentials of the new 
sponsor.  If the current sponsor(s) plan to continue to mentor the applicant 
after the grant is transferred to the new institution describe the new 
working relationship. 

3.  Environment and Institutional Commitment to Candidate

Parts (a, b).  This section is perhaps the most important in terms of 
evaluation of the merit of the request to transfer the grant to another 
institution.  Particular attention should be paid to NIMH policies 
articulated in this notice.

4.  Research Plan

Describe any changes to the original research plan, and explain how the 
research plan may be enhanced by the move to the new institution.  Please 
note that the originally proposed research plan should continue to serve as 
the basis for the research that will be conducted at the new institution. 
K02, K05, and K24 awardees should give examples of potential new 
collaborations (provide letters of commitment under #2 above) that might 
improve the overall plan.

NIMH Staff Review:

Prior to the final year of awards, transfer of career grants to another 
institution may be approved, without peer review, under the circumstances 
stipulated below.  Therefore, early consultation with NIMH Program staff is 
critical for transfer of the grant to a new institution.  It is strongly 
recommended that potential applicants contact the NIMH program staff listed 
under INQUIRIES for consultation and guidance, prior to contacting the 
responsible Project Officer, to whom the abbreviated application should be sent.

The Project Officer's review will be based on the degree to which the goals 
of the original peer reviewed application (as evidenced in the most recent 
summary statement) will be met in the new institution.  Critical among these 
considerations will be the continued capacity to carry out full-time 
research; potential to contribute significantly to the scientific field of 
study as evidenced by research productivity; clear and high likelihood that 
the new environment will contribute to scientific development and 
productivity; scientific and technical merit of the research plan and its 
consistency with the career development plan; the new mentor's research and 
mentoring qualifications in the scientific area of study; and strong 
institutional environment and commitment.  After consideration, the Project 
Officer will recommend, to the Director of the funding Division, either 
approval or disapproval of the requested transfer.  In the event of 
disapproval (which will not be subject to request for reconsideration), the 
grantee has the option of submitting a new, complete application that 
encompasses the remaining period of time of the award from the new 
institution, which will be peer reviewed in the next review cycle.


Consultation with NIMH staff is encouraged especially during the planning 
phase of the application.  Prospective applicants may visit the NIMH Research 
Training and Career Development Website: to obtain additional information.

Walter Goldschmidts, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7200, MSC 9645
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-3563
FAX:  (301) 443-1731

Mark Chavez, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6217, MSC 9621
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-9700
FAX:  (301) 480-6000

Enid Light, Ph.D.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7160, MSC 9635
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-1185
FAX:  (301) 443-4045

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-2805
FAX:  (301) 443-6885

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