Date: October 26, 2017
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) requires that the K24 recipient collaborates with and contributes significantly to the mentoring and research activities as a partnering member of multi-disciplinary team science fostered within an NIH affiliated Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) environment.
The K24 candidate, typically at the Associate Professor level, must provide a detailed letter of institutional support from the Department Chair, as well as by the CTSA Director (Education and Clinical Committees) at the CTSA parent institution. Candidates for this award must have a health-professional doctoral degree (M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., O.D., D.C., Pharm.D., N.D., or doctoral degree in nursing). Candidates with Ph.D. degrees are eligible provided the mentoring and research activities are in a field of patient-oriented research (e.g., clinical psychology, genetics, clinical epidemiology, public health). K24 recipients who continue to sustain independent peer-reviewed research programs and continue to provide mentoring to junior investigators can also continue as K24 recipients after being promoted to the Full Professor rank.
Mentoring Principles Linking CTSAs With Areas of High Programmatic Priority to NCCIH
The K24 recipient should be an established, midcareer investigator with a high level of productivity, including R01 or equivalent independent funding. The recipient must have a track record of success in mentoring. Although this award is generally intended for applicants at the Associate Professor level initially, eligible midcareer applicants who qualify at the Full Professor level are also encouraged to apply. The mentoring effort should be in an area of high programmatic relevance to the NCCIH Strategic Plan. Fostering co-mentoring and team science and partnering with complementary health institutions to achieve the goals of the program are highly encouraged.
The use of the K24 is based on the principle that the CTSA environment must demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach of program relevance to NCCIH that complements the clinical research interests of the K24 recipient. Program activities are not exclusive to, but might include:
- Research training and mentoring of residents and fellows;
- Programs that draw Ph.D. laboratory-based and translational scientists into more complementary and integrative health-oriented clinical research;
- Advising trainees and junior investigators on NIH submissions;
- Guiding early investigator career development; and
- Development of complementary and integrative health curriculum into CTSA environments.
The applicant must be endorsed with letters from the Department Chair, as well as the CTSA Education and Clinical Committees, and provide additional commitment letters conveying strong institutional support in fulfilling the mentorship role proposed. For example, the mentoring role might include development and oversight of K23 and KL-2 candidates intending to pursue complementary and integrative health research careers. It is anticipated that there would be only one K24 recipient at any one time per CTSA parent institution, unless the complementary and integrative health-related research within the CTSA consortium is large and/or has multiple, substantial programmatic efforts that require multiple mentors.
The CTSA parent and partnering institution(s) must ensure that there is an adequate pool of complementary and integrative health-interested trainees for mentoring purposes. The K24 recipient will be directly responsible for overseeing the planning of individualized complementary and integrative health research career development with trainees.
Research Component of the K24
The mentoring component of the K24 is of high priority to NCCIH, in that recipients are required to show that their expertise, research accomplishment, and contribution to the field of complementary and integrative health-related research will continue to be important in driving the field of translational/clinical research forward. Consequently, it is expected that applicants will have independent research support outside of the K24, typically an R01, U01, or other independent equivalent source of established funding at the time of award.
A percentage of the K24 effort should be dedicated to expanding and/or enhancing the applicant’s research. Ideally, this effort will help to generate new data that will open a new area of research for the applicant, or it will allow the applicant to develop a new area of research training that is necessary to remain at the forefront of a research thematic area. Although the K24 can be used to directly support a research component, NCCIH does not require that a new research area be proposed. However, if salary support is requested to conduct research, the research development request must be distinct from what is currently funded.
Mentoring and Research Progress Evaluation Components
Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide a timeline and detailed set of measurable goals that benchmark progress anticipated to be achieved each year of the K24 award in relation to the mentoring and research plans. Specific to the mentoring component, applicants should provide a description of how, for example, synergy between the CTSA and complementary and integrative health research goals will enhance the likelihood of achieving measurable outcomes and long-term success. Specifically, applicants may indicate they will benchmark specific CTSA resources and levels of effort to be used in mentoring activities and for achieving research goals relative to how many trainees are mentored. K24 awardees are encouraged to identify specific CTSA or other affiliated multi-disciplinary and network activities that junior investigators will access and participate in that are able to contribute to accelerating planning, implementation, and completion of research projects. Also important will be tracking procedures for peer review publications, competitive NIH grant submissions, career development promotions, and other benchmarks for judging the likelihood of sustainable long-term success of K24 programs. Evaluation indices may also include courses that will be developed and how many trainees are expected to participate, as well as other measurable benchmarks that might include the number of Ph.D. trainees anticipated to participate in patient-related research and the impact expected on translating basic biomedical research findings into clinical settings.
K24 investigators may seek one competing renewal and will be evaluated largely on progress achieved during the prior award period. Success will be determined based on the extent to which the awardee has progressed as a leader in patient-oriented complementary and integrative health research through additional independent funding, publications, number of complementary and integrative health- and CTSA-interested trainees, as well as the career development success and the degree to which junior investigators mentored by the K24 awardee are progressing in their own research programs.
NCCIH Use of the K24 Will Not Be Awarded For the Following Purposes
At NCCIH, the K24 award will not be made solely for mentoring support expected to benefit only the K24 investigator’s on-going research projects. K24 support will not be provided to pay mentee salaries (either early investigator or other trainee) on project activities already provided by independent research awards. Moreover, the K24 award does not support mentoring of clinical service.
Financial Support by the K24
The K24 recipient may propose research development that expands on their funded independent research, but the K24 funding component must also be adequately appropriated to support mentoring activities. Consequently, the additional research development costs requested in the application cannot be research intensive, and must be distinct from research support already provided by independent funds. Research development expenses including salary and fringe benefits for the K24 recipient and support for mentoring activities need to be justified, as well as training and travel for junior clinical scientists.
Please direct all questions to:
Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Blvd, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475