NCI Pathway to Independence Award (2.26.19)

February 4, 2019
By: Julie Poucher Harbin, Writer, DCI

NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health

The purpose of the NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Fellows (K99/R00) program is to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new and talented, NCI-supported, independent investigators. This program is designed for postdoctoral fellows with research and/or clinical doctoral degrees who do not require an extended period of mentored research training beyond their doctoral degrees. The objective of this award is to facilitate a timely transition of these fellows from their mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. The program will provide independent NCI research support during this transition to help awardees to launch competitive, independent research careers. Researchers in the scientific areas of data science and cancer control science are especially encouraged to apply.    

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is designed specifically for applicants proposing research that does not involve leading an independent clinical trial, a clinical trial feasibility study, or an ancillary clinical trial. Applicants to this FOA are permitted to propose research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor. Applicants proposing a clinical trial or an ancillary clinical trial as lead investigator should apply to the companion FOA (RFA-CA-19-030).

Internal Nomination Description: 

The NCI Early K99/R00 program is designed to suit the career paths of postdoctoral fellows pursuing careers in Data Science and Cancer Control Science, who typically require only a short period of mentored research training beyond their doctoral degrees before obtaining independent faculty positions. Postdoctoral fellows in other areas of NCI-supported research are encouraged to apply to the NIH Parent K99/R00 program (PA-18-397 and PA-18-398).

The Duke Cancer Institute may submit a combined total of up to three applications per due date, inclusive of both RFAs: one for Data Science, one for Cancer Control Science, and/or one for “Other Sciences” as defined in Section III, Part 3 of the RFAs.

Due to this being a limited nomination, we will be conducting an internal review of applications.

The following items are required and will be reviewed by the DCI’s Scientific Review Committee.

1. Applicant’s NIH Biosketch.

2. State which Scientific Area you are applying for (Data Science, Cancer Control Science or “Other Sciences”). Please see below for additional information

3. Two (2) page summary including the following information:

  • Title of the proposed research project
  • Brief description of the research proposal
  • Brief statement of applicant’s eligibility

Applications for internal review are due to Erin Carr no later than Tuesday, February 5th  (please send your application in one PDF).  Selected nominees will be notified by Tuesday, February 12th.  The sponsor deadline for the selected nominee is February 26th.

Scientific Areas

(A) Data Science: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, data science is defined as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry in which quantitative and analytical approaches, processes, and systems are both developed and used to extract knowledge and insights from increasingly large and/or complex sets of data. This includes cancer-focused data integration and visualization, systems biology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, informatics, genomics, precision oncology, and developing analytics for epidemiological or biostatistical studies. 

(B) Cancer Control Science: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, cancer control science is defined as basic and applied research in the behavioral, social, and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that, independently or in combination with biomedical approaches, reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity, and mortality, and improve quality of life. This includes research in epidemiology, behavioral sciences, health services, surveillance, cancer survivorship, and healthcare policy.

(C) Other Sciences: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, "Other Sciences" includes all scientific fields supported by the NCI that are not included in (A) or (B). Applicants proposing research in (C) "Other Sciences" may apply only if it is reasonable to expect them to transition to independence with an abbreviated period of mentored research training beyond their original doctoral degrees.

Application Deadlines:

  • Duke Internal Deadline: February 5, 2019
  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): 30 days prior to the application due date
  • Application Due Date(s): February 26, 2019

Eligibility: Medical Fellow/Resident, Post Doctoral Fellows

Candidates for this RFA are strongly encouraged to obtain confirmation of their eligibility from NCI before seeking institutional nomination. It is incumbent upon the candidate to provide evidence that  all eligibility criteria have been met.

Any candidate with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her mentor and organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

For this RFA, K99/R00 applicants must have no more than 2 years of postdoctoral research experience as of the application due date. Individuals must be in mentored, postdoctoral training positions to be eligible to apply to the K99/R00 program. If an applicant achieves independence (i.e., any faculty or non-mentored research position) before a K99 award is made, neither the K99 award, nor the R00 award, will be issued.

Parental, medical, or other well-justified leave for personal or family situations of generally less than 12 months duration is not included in the 2-year eligibility limit, nor is clinical training with no research involvement (e.g., full-time residency training). Part-time postdoctoral research training, related to personal or family situations or occurring during a research residency or fellowship, will be pro-rated accordingly. In addition, time spent conducting postgraduate clinical training that does not involve research is not considered as part of the 2-year research training eligibility limit. Only time dedicated to research activities would count toward the 2-year limit.

There is no citizenship requirement for K99 applicants. An applicant may be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States, have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status), or be a non-U.S. citizen.

For applications submitted on behalf of non-U.S. citizens with temporary U.S. visas, visa status during each phase of the K99/R00 award must allow the PD/PI to conduct the proposed research at the applicant institution. For the K99 phase of the award, the applicant institution is responsible for determining and documenting, in the K99 application, that the candidate’s visa will allow him or her to remain in the U.S. long enough to complete the K99 phase of the award. For the R00 phase of the award, the U.S institution at which the R00 phase of the award will be conducted is responsible for determining and documenting, in the R00 application, that the PD/PI’s visa will allow the PD/PI to remain in the U.S. for the duration of the R00 award.

Candidates for the K99/R00 award must have a clinical or research doctorate (including PhD, MD, DO, DC, ND, DDS, DMD, DVM, ScD, DNS, PharmD or equivalent doctoral degrees). Clinicians (including those with MD, DDS, DVM and other licensed health professionals) in a clinical faculty position that denotes independence in clinical responsibilities but not in research may also be eligible for the K99/R00 award.

For more information: