KL2 Career Development Awards

The KL2 Career Development Awards Program at Washington University in St. Louis provides high-quality, multidisciplinary training in clinical and translational research to promote the career development of future clinical investigators. This program provides financial support and benefits that allow scholars to focus on mentored, multidisciplinary research, supplemented by applicable coursework.

This multidisciplinary program reserves one position each year for a St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) Scholar. The SLCH Scholar is selected specifically for this appointment based on a strong research project that addresses the needs of children and adolescents.

For periodic updates regarding the KL2 Career Development Awards Program, please visit us on Twitter!

Applications are accepted annually April 15 – August 1.

All cancer-related applications will no longer be accepted as part of the KL2 application cycle. Please apply to the Oncology K12 Career Development Award during their annual application cycle period. 

To view the 2018 How to Apply Session recording, click HERE

Program Leadership:

Email Us: KL2 Program Inquiries »


Salary Support

75% of a KL2 Scholar’s salary (up to $75,000 per year) is provided by the program. Surgeons may request a lower level of effort, but not less than 50%.

Protected Research Time

A minimum of 75% protected time must be guaranteed by each KL2 scholar’s department. Surgeons may only be allowed 50% protected research time.

Research Funding

Up to $25,000 per year in research funds and support for travel are provided to each scholar annually.


Tuition is provided for graduate-level coursework, including but not limited to: the Certificate in Clinical Investigation, the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI), or the Master of Population Health Sciences (MPHS)

Participation in the Clinical Research Training Center (CRTC) KL2 Career Development Program may count toward the requirements of the NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP). Visit the LRP website for more information.

Travel to National Meeting

KL2 scholars are provided with limited funding for travel in order to attend the required annual Translational Science National Meeting.

Clinical Research Training Center (CRTC)

KL2 scholars have access to the Clinical Research Training Center. The CRTC provides computer labs, break-out rooms, classroom, poster printing, and administrative office suites.


Program Requirements

Continuation in the KL2 Career Development Awards Program is determined yearly based upon satisfactory research progress, professional effort, academic grades, and attendance and participation in CRTC events.

Professional Effort

KL2 Scholars are expected to devote 75% of their full-time effort to the training and clinical research activities of the KL2 program unless other terms have been negotiated prior to matriculation into the program.

Scholars’ remaining effort may be devoted to other clinical or academic pursuits consistent with the award. NIH policy requires that the remainder of a scholar’s salary (the portion NOT paid by the KL2 program) must come from non-federal sources.


Developing a successful clinical and translational research career requires strong relationships with mentors and a research team. Each scholar must have program-approved primary and secondary mentors. The primary mentor will be the scholar’s main source of research supervision and career development.  Scholars are expected to meet with their mentors monthly.  KL2 mentors are expected to be available for consultation and support concerning the scholar’s current projects and future progress. KL2 mentors are also expected to provide formal feedback to the scholar at least annually.

Didactic Coursework and Research Seminars

KL2 scholars are required to enroll in the following:

  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Research, or equivalent, one semester during the program (M17-510, offered only in Fall semesters, 2 credits)
  • MTPCI Research Seminar, each semester (M17-5140)

Scholars are required to attend the weekly MTPCI Seminar (currently held on Tuesday afternoons) during the Fall and Spring semesters (mid-August through May). Scholars are required to present research-in-progress once each year. Feedback will be provided from the Directors, Mentors, and Peers in attendance.

One session each month will be dedicated to Career Development topics. During these seminars, external speakers will be invited to present.

Individual Development Plans

KL2 scholars must establish a Individual Development Plan in consultation with their mentors and advisory committee. This plan must be submitted annually on July 1st.

All Individual Development Plans should include:

  • Individual development goals for the next 1-5 years
  • Career objectives for each goal – For each objective, the scholar should indicate what individual products (degrees, publications, presentations, grants, etc.) are expected
  • Research activities and projects that will assist the scholar in meeting the objectives
  • An overview of the courses, workshops and other educational/training activities that the Scholar plans to pursue
  • A timeline should also be constructed to display the individual objectives, educational activities, research activities, and products

Research Training Symposium & Poster Session

The Washington University School of Medicine hosts the Research Training Symposium and Poster Session annually in October. All KL2 scholars are required to submit an abstract and present a poster at the Symposium each year of their appointments. Scholars are given the option to have their research considered for an oral presentation.

CRTC Career Development Retreat

KL2 Scholars are required to attend the annual Retreat hosted by the CRTC. During this late-afternoon event, speakers will be highlighting topics relevant to Scholars’ Career Development and Research.

IRB Approvals

Scholars are required to provide to the Program current IRB approvals for their research project(s).

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Scholars are required to complete the course Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Research (M17-510) during their time in the program as part of their training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Scholars must also comply with Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Guidelines for the duration of the program.

Grant Citations

All presentations and publications related to research funded by the KL2 must cite the appropriate grant award. View Citation Guidelines for more details.

Research Progress

Scholars are to keep the Program informed of their individual progress including published manuscripts, abstracts, submitted grant applications and awards in a timely manner. Additionally, at least once each year, all Scholars are required to provide a progress report detailing their research-in-progress.

Research Funds

Scholars are required to submit a budget to the CRTC Financial Coordinator prior to the start of their program appointment and each subsequent year of the program. This budget must outline projected expenses to be covered by research funds. Budget revisions and expense reports are required as incurred. All scholars are expected to follow the financial policies of the Program. Failure to follow Program policies may result in denial of reimbursement or purchase requests.

ICTS Research Design & Biostatistics Group (RDBG) Research Plan

Scholars are required to schedule an appointment with the RDBG and their mentors to discuss their research plan and specific needs at the start of each program year. The purpose of the RDBG is to provide Scholars with guidance on data management and statistical analysis.

Translational Science Annual Meeting

Each year a meeting of all national clinical and translational research programs is hosted. This meeting presents an exceptional opportunity to meet and interact with key clinical research leaders from the NIH, to hear and read about multidisciplinary clinical research at other CTSA-awarded institutions, to network with scholars and leaders from across the nation, and to form collaborative partnerships in multidisciplinary clinical research. Scholars are required to attend and present their research at this meeting held in Washington D.C. in their first year of the program. Travel expenses will be paid for KL2 scholars to meet this program requirement.

Program Evaluations

Scholars are expected to complete required program evaluations twice per year. These evaluations are administered online and are mandatory for all scholars.


Level of Education

KL2 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 KL2 Program should be at an early stage of their career, even while they are in subspecialty training. The KL2 Program expects applicants to be postdoctoral level trainees or early junior faculty level trainees who plan to conduct, or are conducting, clinical research.

The KL2 award is not intended for individuals making mid-career changes into clinical research.

Faculty Appointment

At the time of application, you do not have to have a faculty appointment. However, if selected as a KL2 scholar, you will need a faculty appointment by the time you begin the program.

Professional Effort

All KL2 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%).

Research Project

All applicants must be conducting multidisciplinary, clinical, translational research. Clinical research is defined as patient-oriented research, that is, research conducted with human subjects or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens and cognitive phenomena, for which an investigator or colleague directly interacts with human subjects. Translation is defined by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public — from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes. More information on the translational spectrum may be found on the NCATS website.

KL2 scholars who are conducting clinical trials may not conduct clinical trials beyond the end of phase IIA. A phase IIA clinical trial is a pilot study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of an intervention in patients with the disease or condition to be treated, diagnosed or prevented. These studies may focus on participant population characteristics, dose response, dose frequency or other characteristics related to safety or efficacy. Phase IIA trials are not considered pivotal trials of efficacy.

Mentor Support

KL2 scholars must have the support of two mentors. These mentors must be approved by the Program and must come from two different disciplines. MU Applicants must have a secondary mentor who is a faculty member at Washington University.

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 KL2 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 KL2 program is two years, KL2 applicants may not have had more than three years of support under the previous K12 program. Furthermore, the KL2 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 KL2 Program.

Pending Grants

The applicant may not have another K award pending.

Institutional Affiliations

The KL2 Career Development Program strongly encourages applicants from outside the School of Medicine, including individuals from WU, SLU, STLCOP, UMSL, SIUE, and MIZZOU.

Clinical Fellowships

KL2 Scholars may not simultaneously participate in clinical fellowships leading to clinical certification.

Career Development Program funds cannot be used to support clinical fellowship training. However, fellows who have completed the part of their fellowship needed for sub specialty certification are eligible to apply. For example, although a Medical Oncology fellowship may last 3-4 years, fellows who have completed 2 years may be eligible to sit for the boards, and are therefore eligible.


Required Documents

  1. Application Form
  2. Current Biosketch or Curriculum Vitae
  3. Other Support
  4. Individual Development Plan
  5. Research Plan
  6. Primary Mentor Biosketch
  7. Primary Mentor Other Support
  8. Primary Mentor Training Table
  9. Primary Mentor Letter of Support
  10. Secondary Mentor Biosketch
  11. Secondary Mentor Other Support
  12. Secondary Mentor Training Table
  13. Secondary Mentor Letter of Support
  14. Department Chair Recommendation Letter
  15. Second Recommendation Letter
  16. Third Recommendation Letter

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 KL2 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.

Current Biosketch and Other Support

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

NIH Biosketch Template »
NIH Other Support Template »

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 KL2 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

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: http://grants.nih.gov/reproducibility/faqs.htm#4834

The Research Plan includes:

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

Mentor Documents

Mentoring is a critical part of the KL2 Career Development Awards, and who your mentors are is very important.  The KL2 application requires two mentors from different disciplines. 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 KL2 Career Development application. Please do not select a mentor without prior approval of the mentor.

The review of your KL2 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 KL2 mentor.

Mentor Selection:

  • If the mentor(s) of 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 KL2 program if you would like to have a mentor approved for the KL2 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 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

Department Chair Recommendation Letter

Each applicant’s Department Chair or 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 KL2 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 Department Chair or 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 Department Chair or Division Chief must:

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

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

All Recommendation Letters

Each applicant is required to have 2 letters of recommendation submitted by references in addition to the Department or Division Head. 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 offiical 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 Supporting 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

  • August 1, 5:00 pm (CST) = Due date for submission of complete application materials
  • August – October = Internal review of applicants
  • October = New KL2 Scholars Announced
  • March = Mandatory Scholar Orientation
  • March 1 = Scholar start date
  • Mid-August = Required attendance at the weekly, Tuesday, MTPCI Research Seminar begins

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