Institutional Career Development (K12) Programs

NICHD provides the following answers to common training-related questions to help potential trainees navigate through the application process. Please note that these answers are specific to the NICHD’s procedures and activities.

For more general answers, visit the NIH Research Training and Career Development website

If, after looking through the FAQs, you still have questions about extramural training, contact Dennis A. Twombly, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NICHD Office of Extramural Policy.

Institutional Clinical Scientist Awards(K12) support programs with a set number of positions or "slots" for fellows. The fellows spend 2 to 4 years conducting research with a qualified faculty mentor. Some K12 programs are administered by a group of mentors at a single institution, while others involve a nationwide consortium of institutions and mentors. The Program Director (PD)/Principal Investigator (PI) of a K12 program must be a senior faculty member with outstanding credentials as an investigator and mentor. Prospective trainees apply directly to the PD/PI of the program. The PD/PI and/or Steering Committee decide which applicants to support. NICHD sponsors K12 programs in several different disciplines. These grants are re-competed on a periodic basis through Requests for Applications. A list of active programs is available at Career Development (K) Awards.

Standardized data tables for institutional training programs (e.g., T32 and K12 programs) are located at The data tables are designed to enable consistent entry and review of data for training program faculty and scholars. These data tables are extremely important in providing information about faculty and trainees. Review of continuing programs (renewals) as well as new programs depends heavily on documentation of past mentoring success. Applicants for K12 grants should refer to the current version of the Funding Opportunity Announcement for a list of required data tables. 

Applicants should follow the SF424 institutional training grant instructions, including instructions for the data tables, with some exceptions. You should read the Introduction to the data tables linked on the above website before starting to prepare the tables. K12 programs are usually targeted to postdoctoral level clinician-investigators. Hence the version of tables for postdoctoral fellows should be used.

The data tables should be numbered consecutively and titled as indicated in the instructions. You can find the list of table numbers/titles in the "Sample Data Tables"
In deciding how to fill out the tables, it is helpful to heed the general guidance given in the instructions:

The data in these tables help present a detailed documentation of your Training Program. Please summarize the data in the body of your grant application and in footnotes at the bottom of the data tables as indicated. Use the data to support the presentation of your training program as described in the body of the application.

Applicants should balance the need to convey the strengths of the program faculty and trainees versus providing too much information that might serve as a distraction for reviewers.

No. All of these career development awards require a minimum of 75% effort (9 person-months). However, trainees on an institutional K12 program can apply for subsequent support on an individual K award. According to NICHD policy, cumulative support under an institutional K program (K12) and an individual mentored K award is 6 years. This is stated in the "Tables of IC-specific Information, Requirements, and Staff Contacts" for the mentored K award Program Announcements.

There are several policy provisions that dictate allocation of effort and whether or not salary can be accepted from non-K activities. These restrictions apply to mentored K awards (K01, K08, K23, K25, and K99) as well as most K12 appointees.

  • A mentored K award recipient must devote a minimum of 75% effort toward research and career development activities.
  • NOT-OD-17-094, Salary Supplementation and Compensation:  The recipient institution may supplement the NIH or AHRQ salary contribution on K awards up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale. 
    • For effort directly committed to the K award, salary supplementation is allowable, but must be from non-federal sources (including institutional sources).  Non-federal or institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the goals of the K award. 
    • For effort not directly committed to the K award, K award recipients may devote effort, with compensation, on federal or non-federal sources as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) or in another role (e.g., co-Investigator), as long the specific aims of the other supporting grant(s) differ from those of the K award.
top of pageBACK TO TOP