Tufts CTSI offers a K12 Translational Science Career Development Award for highly qualified early career faculty and advanced postdoctoral fellows to conduct multidisciplinary clinical/patient-oriented research for two or three years. This NIH-funded program is designed to foster collaborative research across Tufts-affiliated hospitals/campuses and across disciplines.

Recipients are innovative scientists across the translational science spectrum. They receive research training, funding for protected research time, some research supplies, and a structured program to prepare them for translational research careers.

The K12 Career Development Award is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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Who is eligible?

Eligible applicants are early career faculty members and advanced postdoctoral fellows who have demonstrated the aptitude and commitment to clinical and translational science, and have a high probability of obtaining extramural funding after the training program.

K12 Objectives
K12 Benefits
K12 Eligibility Requirements
Instructions for Application
Dates and Deadlines
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


K12 Objectives

The K12 awards aim to:

  • Identify highly promising trainees in the early career stage with an interest in translational research
  • Provide them with a mentoring team to foster translational and team research skills
  • Provide them with research infrastructure support and formal training programs to foster their mentored research projects and their conversion to funded independent and team science investigation.

By meeting these objectives, we will train the next generation of highly successful, translational scientists, who are well-trained in the concepts of team science and in translating research findings to clinical practice, public health, and public policy.

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K12 Benefits

The Scholar must commit a minimum of 75% effort. The exact funding amount will be provided for award recipients. For planning purposes the applicant can estimate a total of $100,000 for direct salary and $50,000 for research support, tuition, or other training expenses, travel, and supplies. Additional salary support for the Scholar may be supplemented by non-federal sources of the home institution or department as consistent with NIH Grants Policy.

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K12 Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are early career faculty members and advanced postdoctoral fellows who have demonstrated the aptitude and commitment to clinical and translational science and have a high probability of obtaining extramural funding after the training program.

Applicants Must:

  1. Possess a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent.
  2. Have a faculty appointment at the Instructor or Assistant Professor level at one of the participating Tufts CTSI partner institutions, including all Tufts schools and centers, affiliated hospitals, and academic partner institutions (Brandeis University, MIT, Northeastern University, and RAND Corporation).
  3. Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent resident.
  4. Commit to a minimum of nine calendar months of full-time professional effort for career development and research activities associated with the program. The remaining three calendar months can be divided among other research, clinical and teaching activities if these activities are consistent with the proposed goals of the K12 program. The K12 program provides support for a minimum of two years of consecutive funding for each scholar, with the option of applying for a third year.
  5. Have a mentoring team to foster training in team science and promote interdisciplinary research. The team will include a primary mentor to oversee overall career development and research activities and secondary mentors and/or consultants to enhance interdisciplinary research and support research activities.
  6. For a list of possible mentors, click here. Mentors not listed here can apply for approval by providing their biosketch with the application. Mentors are expected to have their own research activities and research funding. If the primary and secondary research mentors are not from the candidate’s home department, an additional departmental mentor should be included in the mentoring team to ensure the goals of the scholar are coordinated with the home department.
  7. The Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) Center will provide a statistical mentor to support research activities.
  8. Not simultaneously submit or have pending an application for any other Public Health Service (PHS) mentored career development award (e.g., K07, K08, K22, K23) that duplicates any of the provisions of the K12 program.
  9. Former or current principal investigators on any NIH research project grant (this does not include NIH Small Grants (R03) or Exploratory/ Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents) or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 direct costs per year, or project leaders on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (P50) are NOT eligible to participate as K12 scholars.
  10. Appointed K12 scholars may apply for individual mentored K awards (e.g., K07, K08, K22, K23); if successful, the K12 appointment would be terminated and funding received from the new individual K award.

Selected K12 Scholars Will:

  1. Complete, during their two years of funding, a course on the responsible conduct of research.
  2. Attend the Association for Clinical and Translational Science Annual Meeting and present their scientific work.
  3. Attend a monthly 90-minute Junior Faculty Research Career Development Forum, a learning community seminar (a faculty-facilitated 12–15 person seminar focused on developing research skills, including manuscript and grant applications).
  4. Scholars without clinical and translational research training are encouraged to complete the MS Program in clinical and translational science. For information on the core competencies in clinical translational science, please visit the CLIC Core Competencies for Clinical and Translational Research page.  Applicants should discuss early in their application process whether their prior training meets the goals of the program.
  5. Scholars with clinical and translational research training are encouraged to complete courses in study design, and scientific writing. Additionally, scholars will outline specific training goals and formal courses and activities to address their training needs. Applicants can review courses in the Clinical and Translational Science Graduate Program at the School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences for available coursework.
  6. Complete two or more peer-reviewed manuscripts for publication, per year. Any manuscripts resulting from the KL2 Career Development Award Program must include the following grant cite: The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Grant Number (TBD). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. For more information, please visit our How to Cite Tufts CTSI page.
  7. By the end of the training program, be prepared to submit for extramural research funding (NIHAHRQPCORI, or foundation/industry awards) for additional career development or independent research grants.
  8. Complete an annual report and present it to the K12 Advisory Committee. The second year of funding is contingent upon a successful Committee review.
  9. Obtain IRB and IACUC approval before funding can be awarded. Clinical research must also go through NCATS human subjects review prior to beginning the research.

Mentors of K12 Scholars will:

  1. Provide research support and guidance towards an independent research career, with a planned series of meeting and activities, in addition to frequent discussion and guidance as needed.
  2. Meet annually with the Scholar and leadership of the K12 Program to review overall career and training goals and activities.
  3. Participate in CTSI-provided mentor training every two years.

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Instructions for Application

Please note that we have an unexpected funding opportunity, and therefore are having a rapid application cycle.

Pre-Application (2023 information)

Please email ResearchCareerAwards@tuftsmedicalcenter.org by Friday, March 31, 2023 to confirm your intent to apply.

While not required, prospective applicants are encouraged to complete an optional pre-application/letter of intent by no later than 5:00PM on Friday, March 31st, 2023 including:

  1. Cover Sheet/Letter of Intent (PDF)
  2. One-page draft specific aims
  3. Most recent biosketch
  4. Personal data form (PDF)

Please submit documents 1-3 as a single PDF and 4 as an attachment to ResearchCareerAwards@tuftsmedicalcenter.org

Applicants are encouraged to meet with K12 Program Director Karen Freund, MD, MPHLesley Inker, MD, MS, Training Director for the K12, or Elizabeth Leary, PhD, K12 Program Manager, prior to submitting a full application.

Full Application (2023 information) 

Prospective applicants must complete a full application by no later than 5:00PM on Thursday, June 1, 2023 including:

  1. Cover Sheet/Letter of Intent (PDF)
  2. A table of contents
  3. biosketch in the current NIH format (no more than five pages)
  4. Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development
    Candidate’s Background

    • Describe the candidate’s commitment to a translational research career. Describe all the candidate’s professional responsibilities in the grantee institution and elsewhere and describe their relationship to the proposed activities on the career award.
    • Describe prior training and how it relates to the objectives and long-term career plans of the candidate.
    • Describe the candidate’s research efforts to this point in his/her research career, including any publications, prior research interests and experience.
    • Provide evidence of the candidate’s potential to develop into an independent investigator.
  5. Career Goals and Objectives
    Describe a systematic plan that: (1) shows a logical progression from prior research and training experiences to the research and career development experiences that will occur during the career award period and then to independent investigator status; (2) justifies the need for further career development to become an independent investigator; and (3) utilizes the relevant research and educational resources of the institution.
  6. Career Development/Training Activities during the award period
    The candidate and the mentor are jointly responsible for the preparation of the career development plan. A timeline is often helpful. The sponsor/mentor may form a mentoring team (or an advisory committee) to assist with the development of the program of study or to monitor the candidate’s progress through the career development program. The didactic (if any) and the research aspects of the plan must be designed to develop the necessary knowledge and research skills in scientific areas relevant to the candidate’s career goals. The candidate must demonstrate they have received training or will participate in courses such as: data management, epidemiology, study design (including statistics), hypothesis development, drug development, etc. The candidate must include a course in the responsible conduct of research that includes training in the legal and ethical issues associated with research on human subjects. Describe the professional responsibilities/activities including other research projects) beyond the minimum required nine person-months (75% full-time professional effort) commitment to the K12 award. Explain how these responsibilities/activities will help ensure career progression to achieve independence as an investigator conducting patient-oriented research. (Items 4, 5, and 6 combined should be no more than six pages.)
  7. Specific Aims (no more than one page)
  8. Research Proposal Summary (no more than six pages)
    Summarize the primary research project to be conducted during the award period.
  9. Translational Science Justification (one page) Please describe how both this research and your planned research career align with a clinical translational science focus.
  10. Letters of support from mentors
    All applications must contain letters of support from the candidate’s mentors. The candidate must indicate in their application who will serve as their primary mentor and who will serve as their secondary mentor(s). The mentors must be engaged actively as an independent investigator with expertise in the scholar’s area of interest. The proposed mentors must have prior experience in providing research training. The letter from the mentors must state their credentials to qualify as a sponsor. The letter of support will state how the applicant will benefit from inclusion in this program as well as the mentor’s commitment to participate in the program. Primary mentors must also acknowledge their willingness to participate in a mentor training. Applicants who cannot identify mentors from within their department are encouraged to speak with one or more of the mentors within the program in the preparation of their application. The selection of interdisciplinary mentors is strongly encouraged.
  11. Mentors’ and collaborators’ biosketches. All applications must contain biosketches from the primary and secondary mentor(s) and any significant collaborators/consultants.
  12. One institutional letter of support from the candidate’s Dean, Department Chair, or Division/Section Chief
    This letter should confirm the candidate meets all eligibility requirements, including citizenship status (citizens, non-citizen national, or permanent resident [see Section]) at the time of appointment. It should also confirm the department’s commitment to 75% time devoted to research related activities related to the funded K12 award, and commitment to supporting the difference (if any) in salary and fringe between the award and 75% of the candidate’s actual salary/fringe, not using federal dollars. The Departmental letter should indicate the commitment to the growth candidate’s long term research career. This could indicate past and current research support provided to the candidate by the department or institution. Funding priority will given to those candidates for whom a commitment of support is indicated by their Department/School for an additional year following completion of this K12 toward independent research support. If the candidate is a postdoctoral fellow and  does not have an academic appointment in their home institution/school at the time of application, , the institutional letter of support should also indicate that the candidate will be advanced to a faculty position within one year of funding.

Please submit documents as a single PDF in the above order in NIH style format (Arial 11 font with 0.5 margins) to ResearchCareerAwards@tuftsmedicalcenter.org.

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Dates and Deadlines

  • March 2023: K12 Application period begins
  • March 31, 2023: Confirm intent to apply
  • March 31, 2023: Pre-applications/letters of intent due (optional but encouraged)
  • June 1, 2023: K12 full applications due
  • TBD: selected K12 scholars announced
  • TBD: K12 funding begins

Questions? Please contact Elizabeth Leary, PhD, Director of Education.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • My department plans to propose me for a faculty appointment for this spring, can I apply before that is approved?
    Yes. Individuals can apply for funding in their last post-doc year. The faculty appointment must be complete by Year 2 of the award. If this is in process at the time of the application, the chair/department letter should state the faculty level that has been proposed.
  • Can I apply if my mentor is not on your mentor list?
    If your mentor is not on the list, please provide the mentor’s biosketch during your pre-application. The NIH expects that mentors for these awards have their own research funding and expertise in mentoring junior faculty.
  • Should all of my mentors be at partner institutions of Tufts CTSI?
    We strongly recommend the primary and secondary mentors be from within Tufts CTSI partner institutions. If expertise is needed outside our institutions, we suggest this person be listed as a consultant.
  • Is there a specific research focus for these applications and awards?
    Proposals across the entire T1 – T4 spectrum of translational research are eligible for this award.
  • Is a faculty appointment at a Tufts-affiliated school required for applicants?
    Individuals with a full-time faculty appointment at the rank of Instructor or Assistant Professor, who are members of any of the Tufts CTSI partners, are eligible. In addition to faculty in the School of Medicine who work at a Tufts-affiliated hospital, faculty at other Tufts schools and centers (Nutrition and HNRCA, Arts and Science, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, Biomedical, Fletcher), and our affiliated academic partners of Brandeis, MIT, Northeastern, and RAND are eligible to apply.
  • I am a Co-PI on a $200,000 foundation grant. Am I eligible to apply for a K12 award?
    No. The prior grant, even from a non-federal source, makes you ineligible to apply for this award.
  • I’ve applied in the past for a K23, but the K23 award was triaged and not discussed. May I now apply for the K12?
    Yes, if the award was triaged, you may apply.
  • I submitted a K23 application in the last round. My application was scored, but was not in the fundable range. The grants have not yet been reviewed by council. Can I apply for the K12?
    If your prior application is still listed as under review on eRA Commons, then you are not eligible for a K12 award. If you have no further action/processing designation in eRA Commons (NFA/P), you are eligible to apply. Applicants for K12 appointments may not simultaneously submit or have pending an application for any other PHS mentored career development award. Please contact us if you have further questions about your specific application.
  • Can I apply simultaneously for a K12 award and a Pilot Studies Program grant?
    A single PI can submit both a K12 and a Tufts CTSI pilot application, and these will be reviewed and independently scored by separate review committees. Please note, however, an investigator cannot be awarded a simultaneous K12 award and Pilot Studies Program funding as the PI or lead. If an investigator has a K12 award, he or she may serve as a co-investigator of another Pilot Studies Program application. This pilot study must be a different research project than that proposed for the K12.
  • Does my research need to involve direct research with humans to be considered translational?
    Translation, as defined by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public – from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes. Tufts CTSI defines translational research as research whose findings have a direct sight towards improving health. You as the applicant need to make the case to the reviewers that your research and its potential findings will lead to new or improved scientific understanding that will lead to improved health of the public.
  • If I have completed an MPH in the past, do I need to complete the MS in Clinical Translational Science?
    We recommend you speak with the Program Director or Program Manager about your training goals and if the MS program will support your application. The Clinical and Translational Science Graduate Program provides rigorous training in translational research methodology. Advanced quantitative methods are a major strength of our program, with trainees developing facility with advanced regression techniques, propensity score regression, modeling building, systematic review, and meta-analysis. All trainees area encouraged to complete the Study Design, Scientific Writing, and Grant Writing courses during the training program.
  • When does funding begin for awarded applicants?We do not yet have an exact start date. For planning purposes, applicants should expect funding to begin in September 1, 2023.

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