decorative image
Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.
decorative image
Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

n/a Warning! This browser is not supported - Some features might not work. Try using a different browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.


NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award

Purpose of the Award

  • Increases and maintains a strong cohort of new and talented, NIH-supported independent investigators
  • Provides opportunity for promising postdoctoral scientists to receive both mentored and independent research support from the same award
  • Facilitates a timely transition from a mentored intramural or extramural postdoctoral research position to an independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty position and provides independent NIH research support during the transition to help these individuals launch competitive, independent research careers


  • New: NOT-OD-20-033
    • Program Plan attachment – candidates expected to address, as applicable, new research skills they plan to acquire in rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.
    • Applicants for diversity-related career development programs expected to attach a Description of Candidate’s Contribution to Program Goals.
  • There are no specific requirements for who should serve as an applicant’s referees, including a primary mentor or predoctoral advisor. There are many legitimate reasons why a postdoctoral grant applicant would choose not to include a letter of reference from their predoctoral thesis advisor. The absence of a letter from a predoctoral thesis advisor or another previous mentor should not affect the score.


  • Should have no more than four years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of submission of the new application and the subsequent resubmission (A1), and must be in a mentored, postdoctoral training position [Note that NIH provides extensions for childbirth, clinical training, military service, and other activities that have occurred within the 4 year K99 eligibility window].
  • Must propose a research project that spans both the mentored (K99) and independent (R00) phases of the award
  • Should select an appropriate mentor with an active track record of funded research related to the selected research topic and successful experience as a supervisor and mentor
  • Award recipients are expected to establish an independent research program and compete successfully for independent NIH R01 support during the R00 award period.

More Information