Transition from the mentored phase (K99) to the extramural independent scientist phase (R00) of the award is intended to be continuous in time. It is expected that K99 awardees will locate a qualifying independent research position prior to completion of the mentored phase, and that transition with associated funding will be continuous in time. ICs may, at their discretion, make exceptions to this time limitation when individuals have been invited for faculty job interviews but final decisions have not yet been made by the potential R00 institution or, rarely, because of unusual, extenuating circumstances.
Activating the Independent Phase of the Pathway to Independence Award (R00)
See also the full funding opportunity announcement listed at the top of this page.
The K99/R00 award is intended to facilitate the successful transition to independence. Applicants for the R00 phase are encouraged (but not required) to apply for independent positions at departments and institutions different from where they conducted their mentored research. It is important for all applicants, but especially so for applicants who intend to stay at the mentored phase institution for the independent phase, to provide a plan by which they will advance to independence.
Applicants may apply for and accept independent phase positions within the NIH intramural research program (IRP). However, the award will be terminated at the time the candidate begins their independent appointment in the IRP. The independent phase of the award will not be activated. This is because NIH intramural scientists are supported directly by NIH intramural funds and are not eligible for NIH extramural grant awards. Such outcomes are not inconsistent with the goals of the PI Award initiative.
The primary intent of this program is to develop outstanding researchers who will pursue extramural research careers related to the mission of the NIH awarding component that provided the support for the program. Applicants for the R00 phase are expected to continue research in an area relevant to the mission of the NIH awarding component that funded the K99 phase.
In order to activate the extramural independent scientist R00 phase, individuals must have been offered and accepted a tenure-track, full-time assistant professor position (or equivalent) at an eligible institution with appropriate infrastructure to support the proposed research program and a history of external research funding. Transition from the mentored phase to the extramural independent scientist phase is not automatic and is subject to an administrative review of the:
- Success of the awardees' research progress and accomplishments,
- K99 phase mentor's statement.
- Evaluation of the research plan to be carried out at the extramural sponsoring institution at which he or she has been recruited,
- Institutional commitment to the candidate, and
- Plans for his/her career development.
The application for the extramural independent scientist R00 phase of the award must be submitted no later than 2 months prior to the proposed activation date of the R00 award by the R00 phase grantee organization. However, to avoid potential problems in activation, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials as soon as plans to assume an independent position develop, and not later than 6 months prior to the termination of the K99 phase of the award to discuss plans for transition to, and the application for, the R00 phase. This is especially important if the applicant has any question about the acceptability of a specific independent position for the R00 phase of the award.
The independent phase institution will submit an application on behalf of the applicant for the R00 award using the PHS398. The R00 application must include:
- A new face page signed by the R00 phase institutional representative;
- A new project description page (the project summary or abstract should be updated to reflect current plans for the R00 phase);
- Detailed budget pages for a non-modular budget;
- Biographical sketches for the PD/PI and any other Key Personnel;
- A new Resources page;
- A brief description of progress made during the K99 phase that will serve as the Final Progress Report for the K99 phase;
- An updated research plan (the specific aims should be updated to reflect current plans for the R00 phase, and the updated research plan should be described in less than 5 pages);
- Updated Protections for Human Subjects and Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children (as appropriate);
- Updated Vertebrate Animals (as appropriate);
- Updated Biohazards (as appropriate); and
- A new checklist.
The abstract and specific aims should be updated and briefly described in 2-3 pages to reflect current plans for the R00 phase. A letter from the Department or Division Chairman describing the institution's commitment to the candidate and plans for his/her career development should be submitted as well as a final evaluation statement by the K99 phase mentor, if not already provided. Applicants for the R00 phase are also encouraged to include a plan and timeline for submitting an independence research grant application in a research area relevant to the mission of the NIH awarding components.
For non-U.S. citizen/permanent residents, the applicant U.S. institution is responsible for determining and documenting in the application that the applicant investigator's visa will allow him or her to remain in this country long enough to be productive on the research project in the U.S. for the duration of the proposed independent research (R00) phase.
These materials should be sent directly to the awarding Institute or Center (IC). The original application plus one copy (preferably in PDF format) are to be mailed (or e-mailed) to the Financial or Grants Management contact person of the awarding NIH Institute or Center listed in the Notice of Award. The R00 application will be evaluated by extramural Program staff of the awarding component for completeness and responsiveness to the program.
Two additional documents are included with the R00 application. A letter from the R00 Department or Division Chairperson must be submitted that describes the R00 institution's commitment to the candidate and plans for his/her career development (see below). If not already provided, the final evaluation statement by the K99 phase mentor must also be provided.
The R00 application will be evaluated by extramural staff of the awarding component for completeness and responsiveness to the program. Applicants that are approved to transition will receive a Notice of Award. Applicants who are not approved to transition will receive written notification from the awarding component communicating the rationale for the disapproval. This letter typically will be sent within 60 days of receipt of the R00 application.
For further assistance, applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant Institute/Center for programmatic and budgetary information. See listing of IC contacts in the funding opportunity announcement listed at the top of this page).
An institutional commitment agreement will be required at the time of activation of the independent phase of the award. This agreement should satisfy the criteria described in the SF424 application under Section 7. Supplemental Instructions to the SF 424(R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application ("K" Series) (see Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate).
In addition to space, facilities, resources, and other support needed to conduct the proposed research, the sponsoring institution must provide protected research time (minimum of 75% effort) at least for the duration of the R00 award. The start-up package and other institutional support should be comparable to that given to other recently hired faculty into tenure-track or equivalent positions. Moreover, institutions may not require the use of R00 funds to offset a typical startup package. The sponsoring institution should describe the candidate's academic appointment, bearing in mind that it must be tenure-track or equivalent, and confirm that the appointment is not contingent on the transfer of the award to the institution. The independent phase institution must foster and support the awardee's ability to apply for and secure independent research grant (R01) support.
R00 phase awardees may engage in limited teaching, administrative and clinical duties as part of the 25% effort not required by this grant award, as long as such non-research duties are minimal. In cases where salary commensurate with the required 75% effort cannot reasonably be covered by the $249,000 maximum total cost R00 phase award, grantee institutions may need to supplement the candidate's salary so that the salary is consistent with salaries of individuals in comparable positions at the institution. However, such supplements may not require applicants to engage in additional responsibilities that would interfere with the required 75% effort on the PI Award. NIH staff may review start-up packages and other commitments between the institution and candidate prior to activating the independent phase of the award. NIH will not activate the independent phase if the institutional commitment is deemed inadequate.
Candidates who are not approved to transition will receive written notification from the awarding component communicating the rationale for the disapproval. This notification typically will be sent within 60 days of receipt of the R00 application.
Although the financial plans of the NIH Institute or Center provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds.
Termination of the K99 Award Phase
If transition from the K99 phase at an extramural institution to the R00 phase occurs at the originally scheduled end date of the K99 award, then no specific steps to terminate the K99 award are necessary. If the transition occurs prior to the scheduled end date, then a revised Notice of Award will be issued to terminate the K99 phase award. Carryover of unspent funds from a partially completed year in the K99 phase into the R00 phase will be permitted, subject to approval by the Grants Management Office of the awarding NIH Institute or Center.
Notification of Award for the Independent Phase
Applicants who are approved to transition will receive a Notice of Award reflecting the R00 grant mechanism, the dollar amount, and the new recipient organization (if applicable).
For further assistance, applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant NIH Institute/Center for programmatic and budgetary information (see "Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts" in the funding opportunity announcement listed at the top of this page).