KL2 Information for Applicants

The KL2 is not soliciting applications for 2022. 

2021–2022 Key Dates

In 2021/2022 academic year, Duke will select up to three KL2 scholars for a July 2022 start.

  • Application opens: July 19, 2021

  • Strongly Recommended Letter of Intent due: November 1, 2021

  • Application deadline:   November 29, 2021

  • Funding begins: July 2022


  1. KL2 scholars must have a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent, i.e., a Doctor of Medicine (MD), MD/PhD, or PhD degree. An appointment as a Duke Faculty member is required.  An applicant may be in the final year of (postdoc) fellowship, but must have a faculty appointment by the start of the KL2 award.  (please see #5). 

  2. All candidates must be U.S. citizens, naturalized citizens, or permanent residents. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

  3. Candidates must be able to commit a minimum of nine calendar months of total professional effort (75%) for career development and research activities associated with the program. For surgeons or others in procedural based specialties, effort requirements may be reduced to at least 50%.  The eligibility of potential candidates holding VA appointments will be confirmed with NCATS Office of Grants Management and Program staff prior to the individual being appointed to the program. 

  4. Commitment to 3 years of research training.

  5. If you are a Senior Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Scientist, Research Scholar, or Senior Research Associate, you are eligible for the KL2 only if your division chief and department chair affirm that, if funded, you will be appointed to faculty as of the KL2 start date. Department Chair recommendation letters must include assurance that you will have received a faculty appointment prior to or by the start of the KL2 appointment. You are not able to receive KL2 funds until you are appointed to faculty.

Individuals are NOT eligible for an appointment if they:

  • Have simultaneously submitted or have pending an application for any other PHS mentored career development award (e.g., K01, K07, K08, K22, K23) that duplicates any of the provisions of the KL2 program. 

  • Have been or are a current principal investigator on any NIH research project grant (this does not include NIH Small Grants (R03) or Exploratory/ Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents) or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 direct costs per year.

  • Have been or are project leaders on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (P50). 

  • Have been or are currently principal investigators on an NIH individual mentored career development award, e.g. K01, K07, K08, K22, K23 or K99 award.

Institutional KL2 recipients may be eligible for the Duke CTSA KL2. The cumulative length of time allowed under NIH-sponsored KL2/K12 support is generally not more than 5 years. Furthermore, the applicant would need to justify additional mentored research training or training in a team context. 

Appointed KL2 scholars may apply for individual mentored K awards (e.g. K01, K07, K08, K22, K23); if successful, the KL2 appointment would be terminated early and funding received from the new individual K award.

Please note that the KL2 program is particularly committed to increasing diversity of the research workforce.  Therefore, we have set a goal that at least 50% of KL2 scholars will be from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (UREGs).  Members of underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Please note: NIH/NCATS will not support international work or work with an international component on the KL2 grant, so all research projects must be based in the United States.

Letter of Intent:

Individuals considering applying to the Duke CTSA KL2 are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) via Duke’s MyResearchProposal.  A completed LOI includes a tentative project name, brief project summary (no more than one paragraph) and your anticipated primary mentor. Letters of Intent are strongly encouraged, but not required. Letters of intent are due November 1, 2021 via myRESEARCHproposal.

Letters of Intent for the KL2 program at Duke are completed using forms on myRESEARCHproposal. Please follow the directions below to submit a LOI.

Application Submission Process and Forms:

KL2 Proposals are submitted via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online application software.

Submit the completed online application form and provide all supporting documents.

A complete KL2 application includes:

  1. Completed application form.

  2. Your primary mentor’s NIH biosketch.

  3. Duke CTSA KL2 Primary Mentor Expectations.  This document defines the roles and responsibilities of the CTSA KL2 scholar’s primary mentor.  Applicants are encouraged to review this document with his/her primary mentor.  Please upload a signed document. Download the document.

  4. 4 Letters of Support

    • Letter from your proposed primary mentor indicating his/her willingness to devote sufficient time and energy to serve in this capacity. This letter should include a specific and detailed mentoring plan, including how frequently the mentor will meet with you.

    • Letter from your Division Chief/Center Director indicating that he/she has approved a plan for protecting 75% of your total professional effort for the three years of KL2 funding. If you do not have a Division Chief/Center Director, then please submit letters of support from two individuals (other than your primary mentor).

    • Letter of support from one individual (other than your primary mentor) who is knowledgeable about your prior accomplishments and suitability for this program.  If you do not have a Division Chief/Center Director, then please submit letters of support from two individuals (other than your primary mentor). 

    • Letter from your Department Chair indicating that he/she has approved a plan for protecting 75% of your total professional effort for the three years of KL2 funding. If you are a senior research fellow, your Department Chair must provide assurance that you will have received a faculty appointment prior to or by the start of the KL2 appointment. 

  5. Research and Career Development Plan:  A description of no more than 5 pages of your proposed research and career development program, including:

    • Research Project Title and description of the specific research project you propose to pursue (prepared in collaboration with your proposed mentor), including specific aims, background and significance, research design, and methods.

    • Career Development Plan, including career goals, didactic course work that will prepare you for your research project and/or your future research career (classes, seminars, workshops, etc.), how the award will contribute to career goals, and a mentoring plan (prepared in collaboration with proposed mentor--frequency of meetings, other activities, and support from mentor).  Upon selection, awardees will meet with program leadership to review the proposed didactic training and develop an individualized curriculum.

    • A detailed timeline of research and didactic activities.

    • Commitment to complete core curriculum elements: 

      • Tailored Didactic Course Work

      • Health Disparities Research Curriculum

      • Team Science Curriculum

      • School of Medicine and external Career Development Training
        Please note that the five page limit does not include references.

  6. Your NIH Biosketch. For this application, you may include papers that have been submitted and are currently in review as long as they are clearly marked as such.

  7. If you have published papers, provide citations of up to three that you consider most representative of your research goals and potential.

  8. Completed NIH budget form (for the entire budget) and budget justification.  Please complete the NIH Entire Budget form. 

Access the Budget form template.

Access instructions on how to complete the budget form.

When completing your budget forms, please keep the following in mind:

  • On average, a total direct cost budget of $150k is available for each 12-month budget period with:

  • $125k available for PI salary and fringe

    • Per NIH guidelines, up to $120,000 in salary support is allowed per year for each scholar. Fringe is not included in the $120,000 cap.  You can have a base university salary up to $160k with 75% effort allocated to the grant and still stay within the $120k cap ($160k x 75% = $120k.)  If your university salary is over $160k then the portion that exceeds the $120k salary support will be cost-shared to your department.

  • Up to $2500 in travel expenses

  • $20k available for research related expenses (lab supplies, technical personnel, tuition, equipment, etc.)

IMPORTANT:  Please note that all amounts are dependent on available funds and are subject to change.

When completing the online application, please have all supporting documents available to submit online. All supporting documents must be submitted as pdfs.  

Additional supplemental documents will not be accepted.

Selection criteria

Applications are reviewed by a Review Committee (RC). The RC will rank the applicants. The final selection will be made by the CTSA Principal Investigators.

The number of scholars funded each cycle (annually) is dependent on the availability of funds.

 Review criteria include:

  • Candidate’s prior accomplishments and stated commitment to pursue a career in clinical and/or translational research;

  • Quality, relevance, and likelihood of success of the proposed research project;

  • Quality and appropriateness of didactic training plans, career development activities, and commitment and expertise of mentors;

  • Commitment of the scholar to three years of research training;

  • Commitment of the home department and availability of research and laboratory infrastructure; and

  • All candidates must be eligible to receive NIH support: i.e., U.S. citizens or holding a permanent resident card.


  • Salary support for 75% of total professional effort (9 calendar months of your total effort) for 3 years

  • Research-related costs of up to $20,000 per scholar per year

  • Travel funds of up to $2,500 per scholar per year 

 Benefits are contingent upon available funds.