KL2 Mentored Career Development Award

2021-2023 KL2 RFA

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The Clinical and Translational Science Institute KL2 Mentored Career Development Award provides 2-3 years of support for early-career research faculty from Wake Forest to build clinical and translational research skills and competencies under the guidance of skilled multi-disciplinary mentoring teams, within the context of a learning healthcare system and rapidly evolving academic research environment.

KL2 Support Details

CTSI KL2 Research Scholars will receive 75% salary support for at least 2 years, up to $35,000/year to support educational and research needs, an Individual Development Plan, and a multi-disciplinary mentoring team. KL2 scholars engaged in procedurally intensive clinical work are allowed to devote less than 75% effort, but not less than 50% effort, to the KL2 program. Scholars will become members of the CTSI Translational Research Academy and actively and regularly participate in its ongoing and diverse educational, networking and mentoring opportunities. Scholars will receive priority access to other CTSI resources including biostatistical and research design support, a study coordinator pool, and Research Navigators.

The CTSI funded three KL2 Research Scholars in 2016-2018, one in 2017-2019, four in 2018-2020, two in 2019-2021, three in 2020-2022, and three in 2021-2023 (see the awardees).




  • Do you accept applications from individuals who are not at Wake or Atrium Health?
    No. You must have a faculty appointment at Wake Forest School of Medicine or Atrium Health to be eligible for the CTSI KL2 Mentored Career Development Award.
  • I am a PhD Postdoc. Am I eligible to apply?
    If you are currently in a postdoctoral position, you are not eligible. Applicants must have a research or health professional doctoral degree (e.g. MD, PhD, DO, DVM) or its equivalent, be early career faculty (Instructor/Assistant Professor level), and be able to commit to 2 years of research training.
  • Can I apply if I am an Assistant Professor on the Research Track?
    Yes, but you will be asked to include in your letter of support from your department chair a statement that you will be moved to the tenure-track upon receiving a KL2 award, to ensure that you will be eligible for early career salary support after completing two years as a KL2 scholar
  • Is the KL2 only for clinical researchers?
    The KL2 can be for all types of research across the translational spectrum.
  • At what stage in my career should I apply for a KL2 award?
    The KL2 award is designed for Instructor/Assistant Professor researchers who need further education and training to become an independently funded investigator. Competitive applicants will have evidence of research and scholarly productivity.
  • Am I eligible even if I have applied for the KL2 before and did not get it?
    Yes! There have been many applicants who applied more than one time.
  • Can I apply even though I just started at Wake/Atrium in July?
    Yes; however, depending on your prior research experience, you may be better served taking time to build collaborations, assemble your mentoring team, and spend time refining your proposal, and then apply for the KL2 a year or two later.
  • I recently submitted an application for another training/career development grant. Can I also apply for the KL2 while I’m waiting to hear back?
    At the time of their appointments, KL2 scholars must NOT have a pending application for any other PHS-mentored career development award (e.g. K07, K08, K22, K23) that duplicates any of the KL2 provisions. This means you could apply for the KL2, but you would need to withdraw your application for any other PHS-mentored career development award if you were to be selected as a KL2 scholar.
  • After I receive the KL2 award, can I then apply for an individual K or R award?
    Yes! We expect the KL2 awardee will be working towards submitting a K or R award by their second year. If the KL2 awardee receives another award prior to the end of their KL2 award, then they would have to relinquish the KL2 award to be able to transition to their new award.
  • If I accept a position at another institution what will happen to my KL2 award?
    The KL2 award is not transferable to another institution.
  • If my base salary is more than the $120,000 KL2 cap imposed by the NIH, does that mean I can’t apply?
    You can have a base salary up to $160,000 with 75% effort allocated to the grant and still stay within the $120,000 cap ($160k x 75% = $120k.) If your base salary is over $160,000 then the portion that exceeds the $120,000 salary support will be cost-shared to your department.
  • Can I apply if I am currently a co-PI on a grant with $250,000 in annual direct costs with 3 years left on the grant?Ineligibility due to prior grant funding depends on funder, direct costs, and mechanism. This grant exceeds the $100,000 per year threshold and would likely make you ineligible. For specific questions on eligibility, contact Claudia Olivier, colivier@wakehealth.edu.  
  • Due to clinical/surgical obligations, I won’t be able to commit to 75% effort. Can I still apply?
    KL2 Scholars must commit a minimum of 75% of full-time effort to their research and educational program for at least two years. However, KL2 scholars in procedurally intensive clinical specialties are allowed to devote less than 75% effort, but not less than 50% effort.
    Effort reporting is based on your total hours worked, not on 40 hours per week. For example, if you spend 30 hours per week on your KL2 research and education but you regularly work 60 hours per week, then you are at 50% effort on the KL2, not 75% effort.
  • Do I need a letter of support from my department Chair?
    Yes, applicants must submit a letter of support from their Department Chair (or Section Head if applicable), agreeing to protect 75% (or 50% for procedurally intensive clinical specialties) of the applicant’s time, if awarded the KL2.
  • Can I work on other funded research projects during my 75% protected time?
    The 75% protected time is to be utilized to fulfill the requirements of the KL2 award only. Work on other funded research projects is allowed only if it was specified in the KL2 research or training plans.
  • Can I accept a small grant award while on the KL2?
    Yes, but only if the effort for it falls within the other 25% of your time.
  • Does my primary mentor have to be at Wake or Atrium?
    It is recommended (but not required) that your primary mentor be at the location of your primary faculty appointment (Wake or Atrium) and meet with you regularly to provide guidance and knowledge pertinent to your research project and interests. Having a local primary mentor will provide you with more opportunities to build collaborations, and they would also be in a better position to help you overcome obstacles to a successful KL2 project.
  • Can I have someone on my mentoring team who is not at Wake or Atrium?
    Yes. Your mentoring team can include faculty at other institutions. We strongly recommend that your primary mentor be at Wake or Atrium.
  • How does the CTSI KL2 award differ from an NIH K award?
    The KL2 awards have a shorter duration (2 years) than the NIH individual K awards. With an individual NIH K, the applicant applies directly to the NIH agency that would fund the K and, if awarded, would be the named PI on the K award. With the KL2, the applicant applies internally and all reviews and the selection process take place internally. If the applicant is awarded the KL2 they would be added as a trainee on the CTSI KL2 grant which is funded through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the same agency that awarded the CTSA grant to Wake. The CTSI KL2 cannot be transferred to a different institution, but NIH individual K awards may be transferable.
  • What is the time frame for the application and selection process and the anticipated start date?
    For the 2022-2024 KL2 cycle, the RFA is released in August 2021, the letter of intent is due on October 15, 2021, and the KL2 application is due on December 6, 2021.
    All applicants will be notified by mid-January regarding the status of their application based on the internal review. Only the top scoring applicants will be invited to present a “chalk talk” in late February 2022 in front of the KL2 selection committee.
    The finalists selected to receive the KL2 award will be notified by the KL2 Directors in early March 2022. The KL2 award period will begin July 1, 2022.
  • Will I receive a critique or comments following the review of my KL2 application?
    Yes, all applicants will receive a summary of the scores that they received along with brief comments from the reviewers.
  • Is IRB approval required when I submit my KL2 application?
    No, but IRB approval is required before you can start your KL2 so IRB approval should be sought as soon as you have been notified about receiving the KL2 award.
  • Is the cost of travel to attend scientific meetings an allowable expense on a KL2 budget?
    Yes, each scholar will have a travel budget up to $2,500 per year, which will typically cover one scientific meeting per year.
  • I still have questions. Whom should I contact?
    Please contact Claudia Olivier, PhD, CTSI Director of Education Programs at colivier@wakehealth.edu.