Application overview

Please read the following prior to filling out an application:

  • Only complete applications will be reviewed. Applications will not be considered as complete until all supporting documents have been submitted.
  • All application materials must be submitted online.
  • Supporting documents may be updated and re-submitted online prior to the application deadline. Please note that the selection committee will only receive the last version uploaded for each document.  Failure to upload all required documents and letters (complete and in the proper format) will result in the application not being reviewed. Missing EVEN ONE (1) item by the deadline will result in the application being rejected. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the status of ALL required documents.
  • If you have previously applied to the K12 program, you must complete a new application for the current cycle.
  • Applicants must complete and SUBMIT the online application form  before supporting documents may be uploaded. This includes the Mentor Letter of Support and the Recommendation Letter.

Program Eligibility

  • Doctoral degree such as: MD, PhD, PharmD DrPH, DO, DDS, DPT, or OTD
  • Must have an oncology research focus
  • US citizen, non-citizen national or permanent resident
  • Devote 75% effort (50% for surgical specialties) for a minimum of 2 years
  • Support of a mentor approved by the program
  • Individuals who are not, or have not been, a PI on mentored career development grants for more than 5 years (e.g., K-series) or who hav not had substantial independent funding (e.g., R01, P01, P50 or other equivalent research grant awards)

Application Materials

1. Current Biosketch and Other Support

Each applicant is required to submit a current NIH Biosketch and Other Support documents.

NIH Biosketch Template »

Download NIH Other Support Template (.doc) »

2. Individual Development Plan

Applicant must submit a 3-5 page individual development plan (no more than 5 pages; references are not included in page count) that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Career goals
  • Past research experience and past graduate coursework that is relevant
  • Who your mentors are and why you have selected them
  • Coursework you are planning to take and why
  • The number of years you anticipate being on the K12 award
  • Your plans for the next 2-3 years if you do not receive the award
  • How the award will change or affect your career plans
3. Research Plan

The required Research Plan should follow the standard NIH format (PHS 398).

Please note the new NIH requirements for this section around Rigor and Reproducibility: https://grants.nih.gov/faqs#/rigor-and-reproducibility.htm

The Research Plan includes:

  • Project Summary/Abstract (1 page limit)
  • Introduction – Resubmission Only; NIH PHS 398 form is NOT required (1 page limit)
  • Specific Aims & Research Strategy (Significance, Innovation, and Approach) (5 page limit)
  • Protection of Human Subjects, Inclusion of Women and Minorities, Inclusion of Children, Vertebrate Animals (3 page limit)
  • Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table (1 page limit)
  • Bibliography and References Cited/Progress Report Publication List (include PMCID # if applicable) and Consortium/Contractual Agreements (No page limit)
4. Mentor Documents

Mentoring is a critical part of the K12 Career Development Awards, and who your mentors are is very important.  The K12 application requires two mentors. Applicants must identify one mentor as primary and one as secondary. Applicants must establish a relationship with the proposed mentor prior to submission of the K12 Career Development application. Please do not select a mentor without prior approval of the mentor.

The review of your K12 application will include a critique of your selected mentors. Reviewers will examine whether they are appropriate and suitable for your research project and career development. Please be sure that your mentors are the best suited for you and your research, and not simply meeting the minimum qualifications required of a K12 mentor.

Mentor Selection:

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program.  Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.  Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the award. Mentors are expected to have independent R01 and/or R01-like cancer related research support. For the K12 program, R01 and/or R01-like awards are grants or contracts of at least 3 years duration and $150,000/year in direct costs, including those supporting clinical trials.

Applicants must have both a primary and secondary mentor and one must be a clinician conducting patient-oriented research and the other a basic science cancer researcher

  • If the mentor(s) that an applicant has selected do not already appear in the online application, please be sure that they are qualified to be a mentor (see FAQ) and are willing to dedicate the time to you and this program.
  • Please email the K12 program coordinator if you would like to have a mentor approved for the K12 application. For approval, please submit the proposed mentor’s NIH Biosketch, Other Support Form, and Trainee Table documents. The application form and subsequent supporting documents cannot be submitted until a mentor has been approved and selected in the online form. All mentors will ultimately need to be approved by the Program Director and the NIH, therefore, new mentor approvals must be completed well in advance of the deadline.

Each proposed mentor must provide a letter of support, an updated NIH Biosketch, Other Support, and Trainee Tables by the application deadline. Upon submission of the online application form, an email will be automatically generated to each mentor with guidelines and instructions on how to upload the required letter. It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify that the identified mentors have received the emails. Applicants may view a confirmation of the documents that have been uploaded via the online application site.

Mentor letters must:

  • Be uploaded by the mentor, not the applicant
  • Include the mentor’s signature
  • Be submitted on the mentor’s letterhead
5. Division Chief Recommendation Letter

Each applicant’s Division Chief is required to submit a letter of support describing the applicant’s potential and guaranteeing the protected time (75%) required for participation in the K12 Career Development Program. This letter of support must be uploaded by the application deadline (September 15). Upon submission of the online application form, an email will be automatically generated to the identified Division Chief with guidelines and instructions regarding how to upload the required letter. It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify that the identified reference has received the email. The online application site provides applicants with a checklist on which they may view confirmation of the documents that have been uploaded to their application.

Letters of Recommendation from the Division Chief must:

  • Be uploaded by the Division Chief, not the applicant
  • Include the Division Chief’s signature
  • Be submitted on letterhead

The last document uploaded will be the document reviewed. It is important for the Division Chief to understand that their letters must include a signature and be on official letterhead. The link sent to each Division Chief is unique for each applicant, and one link cannot be used to upload documents for multiple applicants.

6. All Recommendation Letters

Each applicant is required to have 2 letters of recommendation submitted by references in addition to the Division Chief. These letters should describe the applicant’s potential to succeed as an independent researcher. All letters of recommendation must be uploaded by the application deadline. Upon submission of the online application form, an email will be automatically generated to the identified references with guidelines and instructions regarding how to upload the required letter. It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify that the identified reference has received the email. The online application site provides applicants with a checklist on which they may view confirmation of the documents that have been uploaded to their application.

Letters of Recommendation must:

  • Be uploaded by reference, not the applicant
  • Include the reference’s signature
  • Be submitted on an official letterhead

The last document uploaded will be the document reviewed. It is important for references to understand that their letters must include a signature and be on official letterhead. The link sent to each Reference is unique for each applicant, and one link cannot be used to upload documents for multiple applicants.

Required format for support documents

  • Black font of either Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia
  • Font size of 11 points or larger (a symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies.)
  • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch
  • Single spaced paragraph type
  • Margins should be at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages, including continuation pages
  • PDF versions are required
  • Appendices are not allowed

Timeline for applications

  • July 15, 5:00 pm (CST) = Due date for submission of complete application materials
  • August – September = Internal review of applicants
  • September = New K12 Scholars Announced
  • October = Mandatory Scholar Orientation
  • October 1 = Scholar start date