Level of education

K12 scholars must possess a doctoral-level degree. This includes, but is not limited to: MD, PhD, PharmD, DVM, DrPH, DO, DDS, PsyD, DOT, DPT, DC, DSN, or DNSc as well as biostatisticians, epidemiologists, behavioral scientists, and nurses with doctoral degrees.


Eligible applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence and have in their possession an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551) or other legal verification of admission for permanent residence. Non-citizen nationals are persons born in lands that are not States but are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration (e.g., American Samoa). Individuals on visas are not eligible.

Career level

Individuals applying to the K12 Program should be at an early stage of their career. The K12 Program expects applicants to be postdoctoral level trainees or early junior faculty level trainees who plan to conduct, or are conducting, clinical oncology research.

The K12 award is not intended for individuals making mid-career changes into clinical oncology research.

Faculty appointment

At the time of application, you do not have to have a faculty appointment. However, if selected as a K12 scholar, you will need a faculty appointment by the time you begin the program.

Professional effort

All K12 scholars must be able to devote 75% professional effort to the program for a minimum of two years (surgeons may request a lower level of effort, but not less than 50%).

 Mentor support

K12 scholars must have the support of two mentors. These mentors must be approved by the Program Director and must come from two different disciplines. In addition one should be a clinician conducting patient-oriented research and the other a basic science cancer researcher.

Principal investigator status

The applicant may be or have been a principal investigator (PI) of NIH R03 and R21 grants or non-PHS equivalents at the time of application. Applicants cannot have been a PI on an NIH research grant (such as R01, R29, or P01) or a non-NIH equivalent to these grants. The applicant may have had support from a National Research Service Award (F or T) or an NIH small grant (R03).

Federal salary support

Applicants may not obtain salary support from other federal grants until the final two years of mentored K support (NOT-OD-08-065). Applicants may not obtain support if previously supported on a K award beyond 5 years.

If a potential scholar is already studying under an existing K12, he/she is still eligible for the K12 program. However, the cumulative length of time under NIH-sponsored K programs should be no more than 5 years. The minimum amount of time any one Scholar may spend in this Trans-NIH K12 program is two years, K12 applicants may not have had more than three years of support under the previous K12 program. Furthermore, the K12 applicant would need to justify the need for additional mentored research training or training in a team context as it is not advised for one’s career development to transfer from another Institutional K-Award to the K12 Program.

Pending grants

The applicant may not have another K award pending.