Each KL2 Mentored Career Development Program application is initially reviewed by the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) Postdoctoral Programs Committee for completeness and eligibility. Eligible applications then undergo a two-stage review process by the CCaTS Scientific Review Committee.
In the first stage, applications are reviewed using National Institutes of Health (NIH) scoring and the following criteria:
- Career stage. Is the applicant at the point where this award will be beneficial? Is the applicant too inexperienced or unprepared to benefit from the coursework or the research experience? Is the applicant too far along in his or her career development and seeking only protected research time rather than a real training experience? What will the applicant gain from the program?
- Career trajectory. In his or her experience to date, is there evidence that the applicant has the drive and energy to succeed? If the proposed career plan is carried out, will the candidate have a reasonable chance of becoming an independent investigator who applies state-of-the-art techniques to clinical research? Does the plan provide the applicant with new, cutting-edge techniques that will provide a good basis for the applicant's future career? How successful will the applicant be with or without this training?
- Evidence of a multidisciplinary, team-based approach. Could the applicant lead a multidisciplinary team? Does the career plan incorporate elements of a multidisciplinary approach? Will the applicant gain experience in building the relationships necessary to assemble and lead a research team? In the applicant's past experience, is there evidence of a multidisciplinary approach?
- Research environment. Is there evidence that the applicant's mentors are committed to the development of the applicant and willing to spend the time and energy needed? Can the mentors provide the environment necessary to carry out a research practicum experience? Does the mentor have a successful track record of funding and mentoring?
- Unique qualities. What unique qualities does this applicant bring to the program? Factors considered include diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences and any other important characteristics of the applicant. How will the appointment of this candidate contribute to the overall KL2 Program goals?
- Proposed research experience. These elements are considered:
- Project strengths and weaknesses. What are the specific scientific strengths and weaknesses of the project? Is the research question interesting? Can the experimental design answer the question? Are the techniques appropriate? Are there innovative features? Is the applicant familiar with relevant literature?
- Feasibility. Can the project be completed with the amount of time and resources available to the scholars?
- Appropriateness as a clinical research training experience. Will the project provide a good research training experience? Will it add significantly to the current scientific repertoire of the candidate? Could the project provide significant preliminary data and momentum for future extramural funding? Is this line of research potentially fundable?
- Overall assessment. What is the overall level of enthusiasm for this candidate, and what are the primary reasons for this assessment?
Of the applications scored, the top five to six applicants are invited to give slide presentations to the CCaTS Scientific Review Committee in mid-December. Candidates are given five minutes to present and an additional five minutes for questions from committee members.
Candidate presentations should include a maximum of six slides with the following information:
- Research focus:
- Hypothesis and specific aim
- A conceptual figure or flowchart depicting the rationale of the proposed study
- Value added by the KL2 Program:
- Trajectory toward independence
- Resources, mentors and environment
- Career development
Applicants' mentors are encouraged to attend.
This presentation is scored using NIH scoring and is evaluated on the applicant's ability to explain his or her research as well as his or her career development plan.
Awards are offered in January with funding to begin July 1.