Frequently Asked Questions About the KL2 Program

For whom is the KL2 Scholar training program designed?

The KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Scholar Award Program is designed for full time faculty with doctorates (M.D., Pharm.D., Dr.PH., D.O., etc.) who are committed to pursuing academic careers in multidisciplinary clinical or translational research.

What is the purpose of the program?

The overall goal of the KL2 program is to increase the number and quality of independently funded clinical and translational research investigators.

How is translational research defined in this multidisciplinary training program?

The program’s intent is to support the early career development of translational researchers from a variety of disciplines engaged in all types of translational research.

TRI defines translational science as that which transforms scientific discoveries arising from laboratory, clinical, or population studies into clinical applications to reduce disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality. TRI conceptualizes translational research as occurring on a bi-directional continuum of T1 through T4 research that addresses human health questions and creates human health interventions.

Research may include patient oriented research, translational research, small and large-scale clinical investigation and trials, and epidemiologic and natural history studies.

How is the KL2 program funded?

The NIH KL2 Mentored Clinical Research Scholars program is a key component of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as part of a broad Clinical and Translational Science Award Program (CTSA) initiative.

Who are the participating institutions?

The schools and colleges of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (all campuses), Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

What is the duration of the training period?

The traditional training period is two years, but an optional third year extension is available on a case-by-case basis.

What are the benefits of the program?

Scholars will received 75 percent of their salary (up to $95,000, including fringe). If 75 percent salary exceeds $95,000, the college/department/division will need to support the balance. Scholars will also receive up to $25,000 per year for research, tuition, travel expenses and education materials in support of their career development plan.

What permissible work/education activities fall within the 75 percent protected time?

The protected time is for multidisciplinary clinical and translational research with training and mentoring activities.

May I negotiate to devote less than 75 percent effort to the KL2?

In general, 75 percent of the scholars’ full-time professional effort must be devoted to the program to comply with NIH requirements. However, certain surgical specialties may request less than 75 percent, but no less than 50 percent, protected time for this program. Justification will require documentation that more than a 25 percent clinical commitment is required to avoid loss of competence or credentialing in specified clinical skills. Any applicant who is interested in applying while committing less than 75 percent effort for the academic aspects of the project should discuss their interests with the before applying.

If a portion of KL2 salary is provided by a department, does this mean that the percent effort devoted to KL2 activities may be reduced?

No. At least 75 percent effort of a full-time position must continue to be dedicated to the approved KL2 research and training activities regardless of the source(s) of salary funding. The fact that a department may fund a portion of the scholar’s salary does not allow the scholar to redirect effort toward departmental priorities outside of those approved as part of the research and career development activities of the KL2.

I have another award that supports me for 75 percent of my research effort; can I retain that award while keeping the KL2?

No. Accepting the KL2 indicates that the awardee accepts the entire award at 75 percent effort toward their KL2 research proposal. This is a critical NIH requirement.  From the perspective of the NIH, one cannot guarantee that obligations or responsibilities from the other award will not conflict with the requirements of the KL2.

Are other federal grants (e.g., R01 or R21) allowed to support the remaining 25 percent salary not covered by the KL2 award?

Scholars may not concurrently receive salary support from other U.S. public health service sources (NIH, CDC, FDA, etc). Scholars may apply for individual K awards and, if successful, would negotiate adjustment of the KL2 support with approval from both TRI and the federal funder.  Please see the following link for more information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch12.htm

With preapproval from the NIH, KL2 Scholars may receive VA salary for clinical time. Most scholars will receive support from teaching or clinical activities. Non-awards and non-federal grants may also be used to support the remaining 25 percent effort. Grants from private foundations, voluntary organizations (e.g. American Heart Association, Cancer Society) and professional societies are all acceptable. Federal grants MAY supply additional research support, but not salary.

In general, any questions about grant support as a KL2 Scholar should be addressed to Program leadership.

Can scholars apply for individual K Awards while in the program?

Scholars may apply for individual K awards and if successful, the KL2 would be terminated and funding received from the new individual K award. Please see the following link for more information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch12.htm[/toggle][toggle title=”How can I best use the 25 percent non-supported effort?

The scholar’s non-supported effort must be devoted to activities related to the development of a successful clinical and translational research career.

Typically, these activities include clinical, administrative, and/or teaching efforts. The divisions/departments must not require extra duties or responsibilities that reduce the scholar’s protected time that would interfere with the purpose of the career development award.

What percentage of clinical time is allotted?

Depending on your other non-research responsibilities, you can devote up to 25 percent of your time to clinical activities.

Can I work on several research projects under my 75 percent protected time?

Yes. However, these research projects should be approved and be aligned with your overall research theme, objectives, and specific aims.

Do I need a research mentor to apply?

Yes. KL2 Scholars must have a research mentor(s) to apply to this program. The qualifications and commitment of the research mentor(s) relative to the goals and objectives of the applicant is an important consideration in the review of KL2 Scholar applications.

How do I select a mentor?

Scholars are responsible for recruiting their own mentors. Scholars should have one primary mentor as well as two or three other mentors on their mentoring team.  The KL2 program directors and staff are available to assist with this process.

Your mentor should be committed to helping you attain research and career development goals. For research this may include direct support of research studies, assistance in experimental design, analysis/interpretation of research results, preparation for formal presentations, manuscripts, and grant applications. For career development this may include notifying you of scholarships/awards/programs that may be of benefit to your career development, helping you network and build professional connections in your field of study, assistance with promotion and tenure, providing support and advice for long-term goal setting.

The strength of an applicant’s mentors will be an important factor in assessing his/her application for funding.

Will there be funding provided to potential mentors?

The primary mentor will receive salary support for 5 percent effort; other mentors do not receive support. This compensation is provided by TRI and is not part of your Scholar budget.

Is there a limit on time since completing postdoctoral training, or at what stage should prospective KL2 scholars be?

The KL2 program is designed for applicants who are early in their professional careers; typically within five years of completion of training. This award is not meant to serve as support for applicants already established in their field, nor is it meant to aid in a career change. Individuals who have achieved the rank of associate professor are not eligible. KL2 Scholars must hold a doctoral level degree. We are seeking individuals at an early stage of their career, even while they are in subspecialty training.

Do I have to have a faculty appointment?

Yes. At the time of the application, each potential KL2 Scholar must be a faculty member and have the full support of their research mentor, home department, and school.

If I am a faculty with a VA appointment, does this limit my eligibility for the KL2 program?

Possibly, depending upon the extent of commitment (percent effort) to the VA. Federal salaries cannot be considered as part of the KL2 commitment as federal salaries are separate appointments that are not included in the institutional appointment or payroll distribution. Thus, KL2 scholars may NOT be supplemented with VA sources in a manner to meet the basic eligibility requirement of a KL2 (75% of a fulltime appointment with the institution). Applicants with VA Appointments are encouraged to talk to the Program directors before submitting an application.

If I have applied for permanent resident status but have not yet received an alien registration card, am I eligible for KL2 support?

No. All KL2 Scholars must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or 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).

Are KL2 Scholars permitted to take courses?

Yes. Scholars are encouraged to take courses to supplement their individual backgrounds and research needs. This should be described in the training plan in the application

Is travel support available for those who wish to attend scientific meetings?

Each scholar is allocated up to $25,000 per year for research, tuition, travel expenses and education materials in support of the scholar’s career development plan. Scholars are expected to attend the annual Association for Clinical and Translational Science Conference and should factor the cost of this trip into their travel budget.

Am I eligible for the KL2 program if I have already applied for another career development award (including a federal K award)?

Please consult with one of the KL2 directors regarding the timing of submission for KL2 support in relation to other career development awards.