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Proposal Sections and Examples


Candidate’s Biosketch

  • Should convey his or her strong desire to become an independent investigator in the chosen field
  • Should sketch briefly how training and experiences have prepared him/her to have a successful K award
  • Should reiterate “stand out” achievements from the rest of the biosketch (e.g. prior NRSA or T32 participation, any funding obtained as PI, any professional awards)
  • Example

Mentor’s Biosketch

  • Should specify this person’s role in this project (e.g. primary mentor, mentor with relevant expertise in areas X and Y, mentor focused on career development matters)
  • Should summarize professional accomplishments and scientific interests that make him or her qualified as a mentor
  • Should note how often mentor will interact with candidate and/or other mentors

Anatomy of a Biosketch presentation provides tips on developing a biosketch and utilizing InfoEd as a biosketch creation/archival tool.

Budget Considerations

  • K budgets are extremely limited. Have early conversations with your mentors on how resources can be leveraged (see Timeline)
  • Candidate’s salary on a K award is 75% of effort. The remaining 25% must come from other sources, usually the institution. Have early conversations with your section head or department chair about how that 25% will be covered (see Timeline)


  • Should describe both the career development and research portions of the project
  • Should mention the mentor team
  • Should convey a reason (or reasons) why a K award is being sought, versus some other kind of application
  • Example

Facilities and Resources

Career Goals and Objectives

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

A separate section describing planned education in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), is now required for all NIH training grants. This section now receives increased scrutiny by reviewers and the NIH, so careful preparation is important. Unresponsive RCR plans will preclude a grant award.

The NIH has specific criteria, described in NOT-OD-10-019, that are required for your application to be responsive. The key elements are: 8 contact hours/year are required, it must be in different forms (e.g. not just online), and face-to-face interactions with the mentors are a valued component. Specific tips:

  • If you have already had formal coursework in RCR, you don't need to audit another course. Instead, offer to be a small group facilitator in the WFU graduate school courses (contact Susan Pierce at spierce@wakehealth.edu) or the Clinical and Population Translational Science course (contact Dr. Bob Byington at bbyingto@wakehealth.edu).
  • Many of our K awardees serve a term (often 3 to 4 months) on either the Animal Care and Use Committee or the Institutional Review Board, depending on their project. This hands-on learning has been very popular with NIH reviewers. The protocol load can be adjusted so that it doesn't interfere with the other activities of the K award. Contact David Lyons at dlyons@wakehealth.edu for more information about serving on the IACUC. Contact Brian Moore at jbmoore@wakehealth.edu for more information about serving on the IRB.
  • For some template language you can use the Responsible Conduct of Research Boilerplate Language for Grant Applications.
  • CTSI offers regular workshops on RCR topics; search the education database by selecting "Credited" in the drop-down for 'RCR Credit' to find available course. The Graduate School is also a resource for this information.
  • The WFU Center for Bioethics has formal courses that can be included as part of the RCR instruction component. They also offer guest lectures and special events that could be of interest to K applicants.

Karen Klein (kklein@wakehealth.edu) provides advice, drafting, and editing of the RCR section of applications.

Specific Aims

Research Plan

Candidate Background