How to put together (your life and) a K99/R00 proposal

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UPDATE: New forum for comments/discussion/etc. started Feb. 2010:
http://k99r00-land.motionforum.net/forum.htm

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UPDATE FOR NEW, SHORTER APPLICATIONS starting Jan/Feb 2010:

Everything below still applies, and here is an additional piece of advice to you all for where/how to focus in these shorter apps:

#1 priority: "The Candidate" and career plan section.

#2 priority: Your independent research aims and plans.

I know some folks on the study section reviewing these applications, and the most common pitfall applicants create for themselves is to not have well-developed career plans with OUTSIDE, INDEPENDENT collaborators and FOCUSED, well-developed R00-phase research plans.

Take the rough % page breakdown from before (~6 pages The Candidate, ~5-8 pages intro, ~3-4 pages mentored phase research, ~8-10 pages independent phase research) and apply it to a total of 12 pages, and work on making your narrative extremely tight, focused and direct.

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So you need to get any combination of the following:

  • Your %@#& together
  • Some research funding
  • A more independent job

If you are like most people, you probably do not work in So-and-so Famous Lab and have So-and-so Famous graciously handing off fully-formed R01 proposals and setting up lunch meetings for you with collections of other Famous Faculty who can think of nothing better to do with their time than help you out with your life, who pick out just the right faculty position (or other job) for you, make a few phone calls and BINGO you’re in the club. YOU TOO can take matters into your own hands: even just the process of applying, revising and resubmitting for a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award from the NIH will help you get that shit together, whether you get it funded or not.

I am going to try to create an informal guide, based on my own experience as an A2 awardee, on how best to approach this award and revise for success if you don’t make it on your first time around. The most important thing that I cannot stress enough is DON’T TAKE REJECTION PERSONALLY. Don’t let a bad score permanently destroy your motivation—read the critique, do everything in your power to address it and TRY AGAIN.

This award is still in the wild-west phase—its first cycle was early 2006, and it has been feeling itself out over the past few years while the first couple sets of awardees made it through their mentored K99 phases and transitioned into their R00 segments. Its advantages are many: up to 2 years of post-doc funding, 3 years of funding to start your own lab, the cache on your CV, the focus of direction that it forces upon you, etc. A few kinks are still being worked out—given the painful slowness of the turning of the NIH gears, it’s relatively common for the awardees to already have a tenure-track faculty position offer, or at least some other kind of job offer that involves them moving on. It is just not practical or possible for senior post-docs (towards whom the award is aimed) to sit around by the phone waiting to hear the good news for 6-9 months (for a first submission, which can stretch to 2 years over the revision period) rather than moving on with their lives. What this means for you: APPLY EARLY! Don’t wait until you are in your 3rd-4th year to get started if you can possibly help it. BUT if you do for whatever reason wait that long, APPLY ANYWAY.

Like all NIH funding these days, K99/R00 awards are extremely competitive. Apparently they took away the K01 option and rolled it into this, so this really is one of the only transitional funding opportunities around right now. Even the Burroughs-Wellcome Biomedical grant seems to have been cut out because they said “Hey, now there is an option for you guys so we’re stepping out." It is not easy to get a K99/R00 funded, even if your research is really freaking cool and you have a great mentor. Here, however, are some key details to how to get as close to funded as you possibly can.

General notes

  1. Don’t be as ambitious as you think you need to be. Take the system (i.e. which cancer, which other disease, which organism) your lab works with and keep the fundamentals the same. Change the technology or angle to make it your own, rather than going out on a limb and starting with something totally different than what your mentor(s) have published experience in.
  2. If you do need/want to move to a new disease or organism or what have you, keep the technologies/angle the same as your mentor(s). The key is to take a relatively straightforward next step, make it your own, and find some innovative (but conservative) thing to do with it.
  3. Find an off-campus collaborator of your own. Someone who is well-known in the area but has little to no official affiliation with your mentor(s), and who has experience in whatever NEW feature of the work you are trying to make your own. Best thing is to meet them at a Gordon or similar research conference/retreat, where there is time to have a nice chat. Contact them politely and ask if they would be willing to collaborate with you on your exciting project. Ask if you can spend at least a month in their lab learning something they do (at your expense). The worst they can do is say no or not reply, so have a few lined up to try contacting.
  4. Assemble an “informal mentorship committee” that consists of the off-campus collaborator, a junior faculty member on campus, a senior faculty member on campus, and your official advisor. Ask them to act as assessors on your progress. Offer to write drafts of support letters for these people, and make those drafts address the context of their involvement (e.g. “I am delighted to offer my support and advice to X as they prepare their transition towards independence… Based on my expertise in area blank, I am happy to work with X to assess their progress on topic-blah-blah both at the time of transition and as they begin their independent position…” etc.)


The proposal

The proposal for this award requires two major sections: The Candidate and the Research Plan. Both of these need to fit into 25 pages total, and the split should be somewhere between 5-6 pp The Candidate and 19-20 pp Research Plan. I am not going to spend much time on the strategic formatting of the research plan itself. There is an excellent series on R01 proposal strategies here, for which all the same principles and most of the details apply to writing your K99/R00 research plan. However, I will give some tips that address some issues that are more specific to the K99/R00.

1. The Candidate

  • “Summary of research experience to date:” Be succinct. Do not tell your life story in flowery language, keep it straightforward but highlight any significant research experience or awards you have gotten along the way. Provide a short (2-3 sentences) description of each project’s goals and accomplishments.
  • “Graduate project description:” Write up a sub-one-page description of your Ph.D. project, addressing the three main things (in this order for maximum clarity) that anybody cares about any given research project:
    • What was the big picture point?
    • What systems/technologies did you use (specific aim-sty
      le) to address that big picture point?
    • How did your contribution turn out (advances you made, papers you got published, funding you won along the way)?

      Any more than that and the snooze factor kicks in. If you think you can’t describe the big picture about your project because it was so complex or obscure or specific, then you just need to learn how to communicate better. Everything can be described in this simple of a format, and if you can’t do it, that illustrates that the problem lies with your ability to describe your work, not the work or the readers.

  • “Current research training project:” 1-2 sentences outlining the purpose of your current (i.e. last couple of years of post-doc) work (if you are currently funded for it, make sure you stick to describing the work you have money for and not whatever other random stuff you’ve been doing instead!)
  • “Current project description:” Similar to graduate description, sub-1 page explaining the big picture, and specific aims of your current project.
  • “Discussion of current research and training program:” This is not redundant with current project description, it expands on it. This is a more thorough characterization of the type of “training” you have been getting from your environment, e.g. new techniques, new biological systems, new analytical or statistical methods; and why they are important to your development as a scientist. You also get to walk through what advances you have made towards those specific aims you listed in d. and any papers that have come out of it.
  • “Career goals and objectives, a.k.a. Scientific biography:” This is a weird one. This part is like that college entrance essay you have to write to make yourself try to stand out. You want to avoid sounding too forced or too boring, and don’t write too much. Generally keep it less than 4 paragraphs, don’t be too reflective just try to give your “mission statement” in a digestible chunk.
  • “Career development/Training activities during the award period:” DO NOT BLOW THIS PART OFF. Don’t just give some stock language about the courses your university offers in finding faculty positions or some crap. Here is where you have the opportunity to stand out, since most people just use boilerplate language. A few suggestions for looking more creative:
    • Describe your informal committee. Use bullet points to list them, and give a short paragraph about how you will meet with them once every six months or something (you don’t actually have to do the meetings, but try).
    • Describe a visit to your outside collaborator’s lab, what aspects of your mentored phase specific aim(s) you will address with their help.
    • Suggest a specific small research meeting or outside course you will attend to learn more about some aspect of your mentored phase specific aim(s). Example: plan to attend a Cold Spring Harbor course, or if you are proposing proteomics, suggest attending the Seattle Proteome Center’s informatics course, provide a link to the course.
  • “Training in the responsible conduct of research:” This can just be boilerplate.

2. Statements by the Sponsor, Co-Sponsor, Consultant(s) and Contributor(s)

  • DO NOT BLOW THIS OFF EITHER! The mentor/sponsor statement is extremely important. If you don’t trust your mentor to write a good one, you need to write it for them and get them to sign off on it. The focus needs to be about what they believe your potential to be based on your previous work/behavior in the lab, and a big part of it needs to be spent on what opportunities they will provide you to learn new things, what their expertise offers you for training, how you get to take whatever you do with you, corroborations of support for outside activities like the ones you described in your career development/training activities section, etc.
  • Who supports you is a bigger deal than you think. If you work for a younger, less-well-known PI, you will need a heavier hitter on your sponsorship committee. Find someone (preferably at your institution) who works in the area you are proposing who can serve as official “co-mentor” to you on this proposal. Do the same thing as for other support letters: offer to write a draft for their approval. Having an established vs. non-established name on here will make a difference between whether you get triaged or scored first time around, and you are not trapped if your PI is new—you just need to also get somebody more settled to sign on.
  • These one or two statements should be included in the text, but you can attach other support statements (e.g. from your informal committee members) in the appendix or whatever.

3. Environmental blah blah: Boilerplate

4. Research Plan

Like I said, not going to spend much time here, just outline a few points specific to laying out the mentored vs. independent phases.

  • Specific aims: Separate into mentored and independent phases. Do not try to have more than 1-2 aims for the mentored phase. Make the mentored phase aim(s) involve any characterization of new parts of your idea, system or techniques. Use the independent phase aims to expand on what you can establish in the mentored phase aim(s), but don’t be too ambitious even in that independent phase—stick to things that logically follow on from what you can do in 1-2 years of the mentored part.
  • Background and significance should apply to the whole project, not to one phase or the other.
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME RELEVANT PRELIMINARY DATA. This requires having a mentor who lets you generate some probably on their dollar and time, so straighten that out with them beforehand.
  • Give a timeline for the mentored phase. Suggest chunks of time that it should take you to address various parts of the mentored phase aim(s), and where you will do them (which mentor’s lab, on or off campus, etc.).
  • Make sure you split mentored and independent phases fairly equally page-wise. It is easy to spend too much space on the mentored phase section, since that is the part you know exactly what you will do for the next year or so. But flesh out the independent phase fully and thoroughly—you can’t leave it hanging as if you’ll figure it all out when you get there, you have to have a plan for how you will set it up, what the pitfalls are, and what alternatives you have in mind for when things need to be adjusted.


Revisions

Revisions are almost surely going to happen to you. Use them as an opportunity to look flexible and ready to learn, and also to genuinely improve this package you have begun to put together. I learned more about my project, my ideas, myself, and how to write a grant from going through two rounds of revisions than I would have from getting it the first time around. These pointers here apply to any revisions, not just for this grant, but I figured I would give you details of what worked for me.

In order to make your revision as successful as possible, always always make changes from the last version very clear. Underline or what have you, don’t worry about it looking messy because at least they will be able to find it if it stands out. Write your Introduction to revised/resubmission (which goes at the beginning of any resubmission) with your reviewers’ energy and attention levels in m
ind:

  • Start with an intro “Resume and response to summary statements” describing what good and bad things they had to say last time (quoting from the summary statement in italics or something like that), briefly outlining what you changed and what is new since last time
  • Define what you have used in the main proposal text to highlight changes (did you underline, or italicize, or what?)
  • Have sections with headings like “Specific response to Critique #1”
    • In these, go through point by point the criticisms (quoting the reviewer) and how you address them (new data? New aim? Took out an aim? New description of pitfall and alternative?). Give page numbers in the new revised proposal for them to refer to.
    • Keep it short and to the facts, no excuses or emotional descriptions of how important you thought something was, just DO WHAT THEY SAY.
  • The less work they have to do to see that you clearly addressed all the critiques and fixed the issues the last reviewers had with your proposal, the better off you are. Use paragraph, heading, and font style changes to delineate each thing you want to draw their attention to, and they will have no choice but to admit you did everything that was asked of you and improved the proposal.

Wrap up

This probably isn’t a comprehensive document (even though it is this long), and it won’t guarantee you the funding or a job. BUT just the process of bringing something like this all the way through the system will get you ready to go on the job market, even if you don’t get the money. A well-scored (albeit unfunded) K99/R00 proposal (or even one that got any critiques at all) can serve as the foundation for your chalk talk, helping you get all those little ducks in a row that you never realized you needed to deal with to explain to other people why they should invest in your opportunity to run the project. You have to have your shit together to deserve an independent position, and the very application for this award is a training experience in and of itself that will prepare you for what lies ahead. It's scary how you don't realize this until you are through the grinder of having tried it.

281 responses so far

  • CC says:

    If you are like most people, you probably do not work in So-and-so Famous Lab and have So-and-so Famous graciously handing off fully-formed R01 proposals and setting up lunch meetings for you with collections of other Famous Faculty who can think of nothing better to do with their time than help you out with your life, who pick out just the right faculty position (or other job) for you, make a few phone calls and BINGO you’re in the club.Also, he'll send over a few NAS members to do your laundry and wash your car. I did work in So-and-so Famous' Lab, and that's pretty much exactly how it was!

  • drdrA says:

    Awesome post....

  • Arlenna says:

    Yeah me too cc, it was like I was a made woman. He's even offered his firstborn child to be my nanny while I do the mom/lab thing.(i.e. even being in So-and-so Famous' lab doesn't make your life easy, in fact damn mine was made hard sometimes by it)Thanks drdra 🙂

  • pinus says:

    great post, full of useful information. I have a funded K99/R00 as well. The timing of these things are atrocious..too soon and you aren't competitive enough, too late and you have 'issues' about starting a job too soon after starting the K portion. Not to mention revisions! I was lucky, I was in once and done...if I had revisions, I would have just converted it to an R01 (assuming I got a job without one of these, which perhaps would have been unlikely)

  • pinus says:

    follow up question:Have you converted your K99 to the R00 phase yet? If so, roughly how long have you been on the K?my program officer told me that they (the NIH) adopted an unofficial minimum of 1 year on the K part before you can convert to the R part. I do not think that they understand the timing issues of finding a new job.

  • Arlenna says:

    So, heh, actually I am one of those people who already had something lined up by the time I even got awarded the initial K phase. Here is how it is working out for me:My initial application was in June, 2006. The first possible resubmission on that timeline was March, 2007. The next possible resubmission was Nov. 2007. My A2ness fit the profile of a lot of people: proposal was substantially different between A0 (scored at 190) and A1 (scored at 163), but only slight additions and clarifications were made between A1 and A2 (scored at 141). That means my initial application for the grant was 2 years ago--and at that point I was already a 3rd year postdoc. I applied for jobs starting fall 2006. I didn't have much luck at first, there were some sniffs (contacting my references) but no interviews until spring 2007. Finally this fall 2007 I found a position open, applied, and although they did not think me suitable for that particular position they really wanted to hire me so they managed to get a 2nd opening created in the department. I had resubmitted my A2 about six months before my interview there, and had my score by my 2nd interview, but did not get confirmation of being in the payline until May 2008 and only just got final council approval last month. I am supposed to start my faculty position in August.It's a tricky business, and I have been talking extensively to the program officer about it, and we have a solution worked out. I am going to be superstitious and not talk about the solution until after everything is fully activated, but at that point I will be more comfortable telling the details of what happens. Ultimately though, they are willing to work we me and my new department to make something work out so that I am still awarded the K99 portion initially and we will transition to the R00 at some point over the next year. I was extremely relieved to hear that, because I was so grievously worried that somehow things were completely screwed for this funding I had been working towards for two years over a catch-22 technicality.

  • pinus says:

    I am in a very similar situation with the K99 and a new position. I started applying for jobs around the same time I submitted my K99 application...after what felt like forever, it went to study section and did well enough that I didn't have to resubmit. One of the places had me back for interview #2 and offered me a position. Everybody (program, me, new institute, current PI) is working together to make sure nothing screws the pooch with the award. I understand your desire to keep mum until the deed is done. I am in the same boat...and it gets a little weird. I now just wish the award would change from pending to awarded on the commons!

  • Arlenna says:

    Yes, I had to wait a few days between my first jolt of fear and my phone call with the PO, and it was totally excruciating. I have not been so nervous in a long long time. I attempted to drown my sorrows by staying up until 3 am watching all 6 hours (in a row) of the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It helped a lot, to be transported to a world where women's biggest problems were who they would marry (although granted, that issue was a much bigger potential source of true lifelong hardship than it is these days).Mine has changed to awarded, it should do so within about a week after your council review date. Mine was 6/17, and I just checked the other day on Commons and it was changed.

  • Arlenna says:

    And as a further aside, our situations illustrate one of the kinks that needs to be addressed with these awards. The target audience for the award is precisely the people who will end up in this kind of situation. Either the review period needs to be substantially shortened, so you can get your summary statements and revise within one cycle rather than two, or they need to figure out some way to allow extensions of NRSAs or something similar to act as the K99 phase. Or, they need to change the eligibility and requirements for the K99 phase so that it is okay to do the mentored segment on a tenure track, as long as it is within a certain amount of time from starting (such that you have to have applied and been reviewed while you were still a postdoc).Otherwise, it is inevitable that the top funding candidates will also be top job candidates all within the same year of their lives.

  • pinus says:

    well said arlenna!now if only the big cheeses at the NIH would read that and understand!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Pinus/Arlenna, Congratulations for getting K99-R00 award. I am a new player and I applied for K99 in feb 2008 for the first time and got priority score 250 !!!! I am feeling so much disappointed. I am still waiting for comments. I would be thankful for your any suggestions/feedback.

  • Arlenna says:

    Try the strategies I suggest in my post for re-writing your submission. And keep trying, the more you do it the more you can learn from the critiques!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,great post! I am now preparing my K99 application hoping to be able to submit in October. I am a Postdoc and my institution is fully supporting me and clearly told me that I can have a faculty position and my own lab if the R00 phase gets funded. The thing I am concerned about(that you did not mentioned too much in your post) is some kind of "resistance" from my mentor who is not happy that I am using my time to apply for this grant instead than writing R01 grants for him (where he is PI and I cannot even be coPI). If it is already difficult to write a K99, you can imagine what a nightmare it becomes in this conditions...I guess he did not understand that I will have to take my own route one day.How was your experience about this? Any strategic suggestion?

  • Arlenna says:

    That's really unfortunate, and I'm afraid as you can see I don't have very much specific advice on that. I had two mentors, and both of them were very supportive of me in applying for the award. Depending on how well you feel you can communicate with your mentor, you might be able to sit down with him and explain how important it is to you to be able to apply for this independent funding, and how it will look really good on his own CV to have a K99/R00 trainee who goes on to become successful--not to mention that at many institutions, the indirect costs can some back to the lab in some way (which would mean a few thousand for his lab along with your mentored phase stipend). Unfortunately, in post-doc-type positions we are totally dependent on the personality of that person, since it is not a normal kind of 'job.' If your mentor just can't (or won't) understand, I advise finding someone else at the institution who is willing to sponsor you, and just do your utmost to work on the K99 proposal in time outside that you spend working for the person who gives you your paycheck. But hopefully he will see the light (and see that it is his JOB to support you for things like this) and let you spend some time on it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post! I wish I had read this earlier. I applied with the June 08 deadline and just got my score (172).Reviews are not posted yet, but I just realized that I made a very stupid mistake: the candidate + research plan sections of my application exceeded the 25 page limit (28 pages). How frustrating! Most likely I will work on resubmission. Does NIH have a formal instruction for revision?

  • Arlenna says:

    They don't really have formal instructions for the revision beyond the inclusion of an "Introduction to revised/resubmission application." I suggest, based on my experience and the advice I got from many others with years of NIH experience, that you follow a format like the one I describe in the "Revisions" section of the post so you can make a checklist of all the things to clean up when you revise. Good luck!! Starting from a 172 on your revision is a pretty good spot! Find a few significant changes to make in response to your review writeups (summary statements) and you will be well on your way! The newly announced limit on number of revisions won't apply to you yet, so you should have one more chance if your next one doesn't go quite high enough to make it through.

  • Anonymous says:

    Would you say that not having preliminary data is a one-way ticket for a bad score in all cases? What if a collaborator has, say, published previously using 1/2 of the reagents needed -- with a letter of collaboration, can these be included in preliminary data as reagents previously prepared and to be used in the proposed work? Or must the preliminary data be completed by the applicant?

  • Arlenna says:

    I can't say for sure, because I am not a reviewer for these, but I am just about positive that no prelim data would mean a lower score. Since most people will have some degree of prelim data, you would have to really blow them away otherwise to even make it out of the triage pile... 🙁 The prelim data really needs to be your independent work, otherwise it doesn't really count. See if you can do what I did, and spend a month or so in that collaborator's lab working up some prelim experiments, and that may solve your problem...

  • Anonymous says:

    I submitted a K99 at the Feb 12th deadline and have been assigned to the August/October council round. I noticed on the CSR website that there was a K99 review special emphasis panel this past Wednesday, March 18th, at my IC. Of course that is too soon to be handling my grant; rather, it seems reasonable to expect that my review meeting will be 4 months later, or July 18th. Anyone have any thoughts on this reasoning?

  • Arlenna says:

    It's probably way too early, since the reviewers would barely have had time to read them yet... but emailing your program officer (their email is in your eraCommons page for this submission) is the best thing to do in this situation. They can answer the question directly for you, and probably tell you exactly when your review date is going to be.

  • Anonymous says:

    I did email my PO and my guess was correct. K99s submitted to my IC at the Feb 12 deadline will be reviewed July 16th or 17th. Fingers crossed!(Anyone following this thread have any helpful comments from the March 18th round of summary statements?)

  • Dr. O says:

    I haven't read through all of this yet...but thank you, thank you, thank you! Hoping to get one of these together later this year, and hopefully there will be some jobs available next year...

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for putting this post together. I was just about to structure my K99 and I know now where to start... Mel

  • Arlenna says:

    I am so glad this is useful to people! When I first wrote it I had no idea this many people would be able to benefit.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks a million for sharing your experience from which I learned a lot! I got the official notification that my K99 application (submitted in June 2008) was awarded. I am very surprised because my priority score is very mediocre and I was actually preparing to resubmit. Now I have some new questions: 1) Can I adjust part of my aims, for example, change or modify one aim out of my 3 initial aims?2) Do I have to terminate my postdoc fellowship from a non-NIH foundation?3) What if I start looking for a job this autumn and move on next year? What happens to the unspent money of the K99 phase?

  • Pepsi says:

    Thanks for the wonderful insights...I would be applying from University of Hawaii.. How is that for a start ;)) comepeting against the big guns and established guys...Wodering if I could have a review from you before I send it out this June?? Not sure if this still active??

  • Kay says:

    Thank you for this helpful information. I am now preparing a K99 application for June 2009 due. I have a big issue with my mentor---he pushed me to submit this grant (and he gives me time to write it) but he does not allow me to spend money to generate my own preliminary data. The bottom line is that my preliminary data and aim has overlapping from his R01, even though everything of my preliminary data is based on my idea. But your suggestion is that we should present preliminary data and aim which are different (but not too far) from the current mentor, right?Another question is do we have to have an outstanding CV? I read some post saying that we should contact PO if we have possibility to get awarded by sending CV even before preparing the application. Do you agree to this? I have fairly good publication history, but not outstanding. But one of my friend got this award even she had only one first-authored paper in entire her career. I would be appreciated if can shear your opinion. Thank you.

  • Arlenna says:

    Sorry for the late responses! I check this thread every week or two, and don't usually have so many more comments! :)Anon 4/28: For questions 1 and 3, you'll have to talk to your program officer. You can email them and ask to set up a phone call, they are usually super nice and helpful (mine was). It's possible they might let you take the leftover K99 money with you, but sometimes they can't let you do that--it really depends on institute. For question 2, yes, I am pretty much positive you will have to give up your current fellowship--it's usually not okay to have more than one source of stipend.Pepsi: I'd be happy to help you if there is still time. My email address is: chemicalbilology@gmail.comKay: It's really tough if you can't get a little bit to support you for some preliminary data--it might be worth sitting your mentor down and trying to help him understand how important that is, especially the part about it being independent for YOU and not just an extension of his R01. If it is your idea, then that is exactly the kind of thing you should be able to use for a grant like this, but just make sure he writes about how it was all your idea and he is fully supportive of you taking that project with you when you go.For the CV thing, I think they mostly want to see that you are up and coming, active and have published a reasonable amount (although stellar will always help, it does depend on if someone wants to go to bat for you or not: the reviewer will put less emphasis on that if they really like you and your project), likely to get a faculty position soon but also still trainable. Since this is a trainee grant, they want you to look like you still need some training rather than totally ready.

  • Arlenna says:

    Sorry for the late responses! I check this thread every week or two, and don't usually have so many more comments! :)Anon 4/28: For questions 1 and 3, you'll have to talk to your program officer. You can email them and ask to set up a phone call, they are usually super nice and helpful (mine was). It's possible they might let you take the leftover K99 money with you, but sometimes they can't let you do that--it really depends on institute. For question 2, yes, I am pretty much positive you will have to give up your current fellowship--it's usually not okay to have more than one source of stipend.Pepsi: I'd be happy to help you if there is still time. My email address is: chemicalbilology@gmail.comKay: It's really tough if you can't get a little bit to support you for some preliminary data--it might be worth sitting your mentor down and trying to help him understand how important that is, especially the part about it being independent for YOU and not just an extension of his R01. If it is your idea, then that is exactly the kind of thing you should be able to use for a grant like this, but just make sure he writes about how it was all your idea and he is fully supportive of you taking that project with you when you go.For the CV thing, I think they mostly want to see that you are up and coming, active and have published a reasonable amount (although stellar will always help, it does depend on if someone wants to go to bat for you or not: the reviewer will put less emphasis on that if they really like you and your project), likely to get a faculty position soon but also still trainable. Since this is a trainee grant, they want you to look like you still need some training rather than totally ready.

  • Kay says:

    Arlenna;Thank you for your reply. I keep writing, writing, and writing...now.You cannot imagine how many people and how much you are helping people like me here.I will get you feedback about my experience. And your words "Do not take rejection personally" mean a lot to me---it has been heart breaking experiences and sometimes I could not "read" the review for a week after receiving it...

  • c_la says:

    Yes, thanks for all of the info. Quite helpful. I just received the score from my first K99 submission (29). I have no idea if this is good or not since it's based on the new system. Has anyone seen posts suggesting what is fundable? Also, are percentiles provided for K99s?

  • Arlenna says:

    Oooh, the new system! I have no idea how it works yet! That will be interesting to find out, so please check back with us once you hear from your program officer about what a 29 means. They didn't give percentiles for K99s before, but maybe they will now? Please do let us know what happens.

  • KM says:

    I also just got a priority score for my K99/R00 submission under the new scoring system. Accordingly to my program officer, the scale is from 10-90; each reviewer scores a grant from 1 (best) to 9 (worst), and the scores are averaged and multiplied by 10. No percentiles are being offered (not to me, anyway). 10 to 30 is considered "exceptional," though I'm not sure what that means, since nobody knows yet how reviewers will grade along the new curve, so to speak.My guess is that eventually you will be able to roughly "map" the new score (10-90) to the old scoring system (100 to 500). So a new score of 29 might (emphasis on the might) be equivalent to an old score of 195--probably not fundable on first try, though within striking distance for a revision. But who knows, this being the first time with the new system and being an unusually flush funding situation for the NIH? It will depend on (1) the Institute, and how much discretionary stimulus money they decide to throw at K99/R00 grants, and (2) how your particular study section reacted to the new scoring system--are they conscious that the new system can be mapped relatively easily against the old system, and pick their scores accordingly, or will they start from scratch? I bet there will be a lot of variability from study section to study section.One thing that may or may not work in one's favor--since there are no prior scores to standardize against, cutoffs will be determined purely based on this cycle's scores. If your 29 was the top of your study section's heap, you're in.

  • Mercy says:

    Arlenna,I submitted my K99 this Feb. Do you know roughly when I will get my priority score back?Thanks

  • KM says:

    Mercy,For February submissions, study sections should be meeting in June/July. You should be able to access your priority score on eRA Commons within a few days after your study section meets. In my case it was available two days later (another few days passed before I got an official e-mail notifying me that the score was available, but I had been nervously checking eRA every day anyway).If it's been more than a week since your study section met and there's still no score posted on eRA Commons, you may want to give your program officer a call to find out what's going on.

  • Mercy says:

    Thank You, KM.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,Thank you very much for posting such a detailed instructions on how to write a K99 application. I am cursing my stars for not reading this blog before submitting my A0 and A1 applications. I had committed several mistakes in my first two submissions that you mentioned not to do. For the third submission, I followed every word of your post! I just got the score - it is 13! I am not sure if it is good enough for funding by NIAID (I don't even know how it compares to old system), but definitely better than the score I got from previous submissions (A0 was 207 and A1 was 142). Thanks again. I have my own additional list of do's and don'ts which I will add later.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous with the 13,That looks pretty good to me! That means your average rating across the criteria was a 1.3 on a scale of one to nine. According to the scoring guidelines that falls between"1: Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses" and"2: Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses"There are links to the scoring guidelines at this very knowledgeable blog (which is not mine):http://writedit.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/so-with-the-new-scoring-procedure-is-an-80-good-news/

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, 13-inauspicious number is going to be auspicious for you "anonymous with 13". Its a great score and it will be funded.

  • Man says:

    Nice blog, and great comments from many others doing K99/R00.I have submitted a new application in June 2009 (A0). I am in the 3rd year of postdoc and starting 4th year in 3 months.I understand that K99 is a very very competitive award and given that its my first grant ever, many things could work against my favor. I wonder if I should already start looking for a job or something. If someone has gone through similar things, it will be great if they could share their experience and do's and don'ts.TheManWithAPlan.

  • Arlenna says:

    This is awesome, again I am really pleased that people are getting use from this guide. I am totally surprised that a 142 was not high enough to get funded, NIAID must be some crazy competition. You were probably pretty darn well-off on your A1 without me! But 13 sure sounds like it could make it!!! Especially at A2 in ARRA year, when they will hopefully try to drag you across the payline whichever way they can.Manwithaplan, best of luck to you, too. I started looking for jobs at the same time as applying myself, because I knew I couldn't wait and put all my eggs in that basket. Things turned out to be slightly complicated but worked in the end. Basically, we just have to do everything we can to try to make it in this crazy world (especially in the current situation), so I recommend covering all of your bases. You can always deal with the logistics and choices about how to sort out both when you get to that bridge.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,Yes, NIAID is a crazy place! They award only 6 K99s every year (that too in 1+2 year format compared to 2+3 at other Instt). Last year the cut off was 130! So, I was way-off in my second submission. But I work on infectious diseases (that too on a Biodefense related topic)- so I had no other options! For people who are planning on going for NIAID- general advice: make it attractive for other instt so that they can pick it up if it does not get funded by NIAID. I tried hard for NHLBI to buy it- since it is a respiratory disease- but was unsuccesful since I had too much focus on the bacterial perspective- although the final outcome would be unraveling of lung immune mechanisms. So, a general advice for applicants- make the significance as broad as possible if you are working on a pathogen related aspect and clearly state it. After talking to my PO, it does appear that 13 is an extremely good score and most likely to get funded. But, I have to wait till March, 2010 to get the final decision (as NIAID ranks all applications submitted for all three cycles only at the end of the year since they don't have a cut-off like other instt to make awards). But, the journey of submitting and revising was a rewarding mental exercise and in fact, in the process of addressing one of criticisms of one of my reviewers, I hit upon a completely new direction- I am keeping it as a second direction to pursue once I get the job! So, second general advice (irrespective of the instt you are submitting)to all applicants: THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT THE COMMENTS- some of them may really turn out to be jackpots! (although the reviewer may have asked for completely different or silly reasons). Third advice: Don't lose heart. keep trying!

  • Man says:

    Arlenna,Thanks for your opinions. I will proceed with my job search and get few other things done before I receive reviews for my application. Your inputs were reassuring to me, because I was worried that I might complicate my situation by being in the job market.It is such a tricky phase in the career, but then every mile stone has been tricky in its own way so far."Anonymous with 13": When you said make an application broad so that it could be considered by NHLBI in addition to NIAID (in your case), does this happen when you request review center assignment or did you speak with NHLBI personnel after you got your scores? I agree, this seems to be a very important thing and should be planned out very early.Its too cruel to make you wait another cycle to start your funding in March 2010.TheManWithAPlan

  • Anonymous says:

    TheManWithAPlan-I tried to sell it to NHLBI after it got reviewed at NIAID. The Director at NIAID who handles the K awards and my PO were very helpful and they tried hard to get NHLBI interested in the proposal. Apparently, I am told, if your significance is broad enough, then you should indicate that it in your cover letter to CSR and specify that more than one institute may have interest in the topic. In that way you have kept the door open for more than one instt. Wish I knew it earlier, it would have been easy to tweak the specific aims (at least wordings) to fit to two different instts. Case in a point about the advice for not taking reviewer's comments lightly: I just got the summary statement for my A2 submission. One of the reviewers has some silly suggestions. After a lot of brain storming with my mentor(s) about what it meant- I have a new set of directions that I could take in future (of course, if it works the way I think it should- which rarely happens:0)

  • C_LA says:

    Again, always interesting. Anon w/ 13, do you think an applicant's publication record could work against them when trying to sell an application to a potentially overlapping institution? As these are career development awards, I wonder whether the NHLBI would be hesitant to award one of their precious K99s to someone who is an ID researcher versus a candidate with a series of cvd-related publications. As for my K99 proposal, I specified the institute in my cover letter. I also noted that my proposal required reviewers with specialized training. I'm not a bench scientist and would have been shot down if I didn't have a kindred spirit reviewer. In fact, there was only one scientist with my background on the SEP and it was painfully obvious when reading the summary statement. The kindred spirit's scores were 1's and 2's. The other's were 3's - 5's. Very annoying.

  • Anonymous says:

    Arlenna, do you know how much of my K99/R00 proposal is expected to be accomplished? How do they examine the progress report? So far only 50% of my 3 aims are working. Since this is not a renewable grant, does it mean that it is OK to fail some aims?Can I modify some aims?Btw, it sounds crazy to set the cutoff at 130. I got my K99 earlier this year with a score of 172 (no revision needed).

  • Arlenna says:

    You know, I think it's just like most grants--you do what you can, you explore where it takes you and keep within the scope of what you proposed. But at the end of the day if your aims prove not to work but you go on to find some different way to approach the issue you were trying to address with them, then thems the breaks. As long as you don't just stop trying to do anything related to the funding and go off on some new field tangent.I had that happen in my NRSA fellowship project--it was technically pretty ambitious, and it just didn't work. So instead I just kept exploring that general area and tried to get some value out of the things I discovered as a result of figuring out the aims weren't working very well.

  • ch says:

    hi,this is great blog. I submitted one to NCI this Jun. I got the email today saying: Please check your application against the program announcement instructions in case you have omitted any section. The program announcement (PA): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-036.html for the NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) award (K99/R99, PA-09-036) including the Contacts and Special Interests/Instructions section that provides NCI specific information including increased allowance for salary and research support costs and required research on human cancer for the Howard Temin Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research(K99/R00).To correct any omissions you discover in your application, please send this material as a PDF file to me. Should I recalculate the budget? I appreciate that anyone with NCI application could give me some clues.

  • Arlenna says:

    It's hard to say for sure, because sometimes they just send those emails to everyone who submitted as a reminder to check last minute... but if your budget was lower than allowed by NCI, you could always email the program officer and ask if submitting a modified budget is the kind of thing they were talking about in that email.I know I got extra for supplies and expenses, as well as my entire salary covered, which is a pretty darn good amount, so make sure you ask for the max.When in doubt, email the PO. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Ch, you can modify your budget but I don't think you need to worry about the budget right now. In my case, they asked us to send an updated budget a few days before activating my K99; we requested some more money and they didn't even ask any question.

  • Man says:

    To Arlenna/others who have submitted/received/currently revising K99/R00: Is there anything you wish you did from between your grant submission and receiving receiving your comments?Its great to read so many related questions/answers from many people.-Man with a plan

  • Arlenna says:

    I don't have too many regrets about in between my submissions and reviews and resubmissions, because I just kept on working on the project anyway generating more preliminary data for the next round. I was lucky that I had a mentor who unconditionally supported me to do that. So if you have the support, just keep plugging away at the experiments.I guess I wish I had developed my outside collaborator earlier on, because I probably would not have had to wait until A2 to finally get funded since my proposal would have been stronger before then.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna, do you know if it is possible to rebudget specific items after accepting K99? I just realized that our lab manager and grants officer put ~$19,000/year on "fringe benefits" for my K99. However, our health insurance (family plan) is under the name of my husband and we don't want to change it due to specific reasons.I asked our lab manager and she said: "Although you are not accepting health insurance benefits, employee benefits (fringe) are taken out of your grant. So, unfortunately you can not rebudget this line item." Do you know if this is true? So in this case the institute can simply take the money out of my grant and doesn't give it back to me?

  • Arlenna says:

    **I need to put a disclaimer here that these are just my interpretations of how these things work base don my experience at my institution!!! However, while it really depends on the grants and contracts rules at your institution, ultimately what your lab manager told you is not true. Your institution might have to put fringes in the budget for policy reasons whether you need them or not, but if that money does not get used for fringes then you can still get to use it for your project. Usually at the NIH, the cutoff for budget alterations is 25% before you have to officially request permission to change allocations. So if that fringe amount of $19K is less than 25% of the overall direct costs, you can just use it to buy supplies and reagents or instrument time or something instead. Make sure your business office gives you one account number that relates to both your salary payout and supplies costs. Then you can just use the account number for an extra $19K on project-related stuff.If $19K is more than 25% of the direct costs, then you can request a budget change through your Program Officer who will probably refer you to the NIH Grants Management Specialist for your award. They can help you figure out how you are allowed to reallocate that amount in your budget. Alternatively, these things can also be addressed in your progress report, where you can report that you used N% of the amount budgeted for a different purpose and justify that purpose and reallocation.LONG STORY SHORTER THOUGH: Call your Program Officer, they can tell you a lot more about what is allowed by your NIH Institute, and maybe try to talk to a grants specialist at your university as well.

  • Man says:

    Hi Arlenna, thanks for your previous comments about "to do things between submission and receiving reviews".Couple of related questions:1. Assuming a revision is to be submitted, would the revision follow the same 3 submission and review cycles (Feb, June, Oct)? Or won't there be a defined deadline for revisions and reviews? (like submit when the revision is ready). 2. I think the new policy allows only up to 1 revision (i.e. A1). So, after A1, any revision is going to be a new submission, right?Arlenna, thanks for sharing your experience with us; not a lot of people do that and I know that having approached quite a few people who have received K99 grants.-Man with a plan.

  • Arlenna says:

    Revisions follow a different cycle, they're due about a month after the regular new submissions--the schedule is here:http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htmAnd yup, only one revision is allowed now. New submissions aren't as easy as just revising again and submitting as "new." You have to have a substantially different proposal than the previous one in order to have it pass into the system. So you REALLY have to make that first resubmission count in order to make it, or have a plan for completely redesigning your research project and career guidance plan.I think it's important to share this kind of info! It's like a version of networking, where you don't have to get as lucky with who you know "in the know," which is the hardest part of breaking into this business for most people.

  • Man says:

    Arlenna, Thanks again for sharing your experience and for the specific info / clarrification.FYI, when you Google "K99 R00 award", this post comes up next to the PA. This post is going to help many many people.-Man with a plan.

  • T says:

    Hi, This was a very, very useful post. Your tips on how to write a K99 were priceless for me, such details and sample applications are hard to find, and I find the language on the NIH websites not half as instructive as your blog! I have a few questions, would appreciate if you could help with them. 1) I am a 1st year post-doc. Could you comment more about balancing the timing of the 1st K99 submission correctly? Is it reasonable if I submit a K99 at the start of my 2ns post-doc year? Too early? 2) If I have 10 publications at the time of my K99 submission, is that enough? 3) Could you please email me your application, it would be so useful to get a good template to work off of. If not, no problem, your blog was really helpful too (tkesar@gmail.com)Look forward to your responses. Thanks again !

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi, and thanks!I think the timing is a bit field dependent: if you are in synthetic chemistry, submitting at the beginning of your 2nd year is reasonable because that's when most chemistry postdocs are getting ready to move on. But if you're in a biomedical field, you might want to hold off until mid-2nd year, just because you only get one revision these days and the review panel might think that you're too early. It's better to go a little early than too late, though, so I'd say talk to your mentor and see how your independent ideas are shaping up, and if you feel ready to write an independent project that could become the focus of your own lab, go for it! Make sure to ask for two years of postdoctoral support in that case!As for publications, that depends too, but 10 total sounds pretty decent and as long as a significant number of those are first-author you should be looking good. I had 10 with all but ~3 of them as first author, and was characterized as "highly productive" in my summary statements. Again this can be field-dependent, but depending on your time in and out of PhD 10 usually looks pretty good.I will email you about my proposal. 🙂

  • drT says:

    Hi Pinus/Arlenna,Thanks for the great information. I have a question about the K99/R00 awards associated with having a job lined up at the time of application. I have a TT job starting next fall and was thinking of submitting for a K99/R00 this year. However, that would pretty much mean very little K time if I'm lucky enough to not have any revisions to do (and if there are revisions, then the K award would essentially come through after I started my job). I was curious how your situations ended up and whether you would recommend going down the K99/R00 path given my situation. Specifically, were you able to work out your issues with the "short" K portion of the award?Thanks!

  • Arlenna says:

    If you already have a TT job lined up before applying for the K99/R00 for the first time, it is not likely that they would be able to give you the award even if you did have a very high score. And they would probably score you lower based on you looking like you did not need the additional training. It is designed to get postdocs ready to apply for TT jobs, and since you've already been able to get one you really aren't their target audience. Hiding that from them during your K99 application would be kind of dishonest, so I really don't think this is the right grant for you.My situation was very different to yours, and from what I gathered from Pinus, so was his/hers. In my case, I had already applied for the K99 and gone through two cycles of revision before I even applied to the TT job that ultimately ended up hiring me. I was still on the edge, since they would rather give these to people who are going to go spend the 1-2 years still as a postdoc before moving on. But they were gracious enough to grandfather me into the K99 portion given that I had been working on and submitting/resubmitting a nearly fundable proposal for two years before applying for TT positions.Basically, if you alreayd know you have a guaranteed TT job for next year, the K99 is not really for you. If you feel like a mentored award of some kind would help you, there are other K awards that might be more appropriate. Also, lots of foundation fellowships and other new investigator grants will allow you to start applying the year before you go as long as you have a definite start date within their timeframe of eligibility. So if I were you, I'd really be looking more at those other opportunities. And you should start writing your first R01 now, rather than a K99/R00! If you have a K99/R00-level idea which got you a TT job, then you have something worth writing an R01 about! They're about the same size and only slightly bigger in scope, and having plenty of time to get it in order before you start will make it that much sooner for you to get the big one!

  • Anonymous says:

    Also, I think R01s have a higher success rate than K99s that are very competitive. Also, with the "new investigator" and "early stage investigator" (10 years within PhD), R01 success changes are much higher than for an K99 appln. So earlier one can apply for an R01 the better.-Harmony

  • ch says:

    Hi. Recently my application has been turned down by NCI since the PO said my proposal does not include enough relevant human cancer study aims. The PO is very helpful and referred my application to NHGMS. The PO of NIC gave me two choices: 1. withdraw and resubmit to NCI this Oct; 2. wait for the review comments from NHGMS and if it is not good revise it and send back to NCI. Since I think my application is very cancer related, the chance is low in NHGMS. I am not sure how good if I submit the revised one to another institute( like this time NHGMS, next will be NCI). Any suggestions are highly appreciated!CH

  • Arlenna says:

    Hmm, it's hard to say without knowing what your proposal is about. Usually the best advice is to listen to the program officers. They usually know their stuff, and pay attention to what kinds of proposals people are submitting. If you withdraw to resubmit for October, do you plan to significantly rewrite to communicate the cancer focus more clearly? Because otherwise there isn't much point in resubmitting to NCI. They will just have the same concerns for you again, and will be especially ticked off that you ignored their concerns from the last submission. If your proposal is more about a basic biological question or a technique that COULD have applications in cancer but you don't have any specifics about that in the aims, then NIGMS is probably ultimately a better fit for you than NCI.

  • T says:

    Interesting comments recently.. I had two questions/comments.. 1) with regards to a new investigator (less than 10 years post-PhD) having a better chance at success with an R01 than with a K99. Do you agree? I always anticipated there would be a larger pool of applicants eligible for an R01 than for the K99, thereby making the R01s more competitive, despite the incentive from NIH for R01s from "new" investigators. 2) This is kind of something I often wonder about. Does your "Salary" change, i.e. get better after you get your own K-award versus when you are a "regular" post-doc funded by someone else'e R01? Look forward to comments and feedback

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi T,1. I dunno... it is so hard to say. I think it really depends on your career stage, since clearly it's easier for a postdoc to get a K99 than an R01. There may be more R01s available overall, but that doesn't mean they're easier to get. R01s are extremely competitive, and so are K99s. But as a trainee, you get SO MUCH MORE leeway in your proposal than you do on a "grown up" grant like an R01. I have really felt the burn of this as I've moved on from writing trainee grant proposals like my NRSA and K99 (both of which I got funded) compared to my recent R21 application and upcoming R01 proposal. So in a lot of ways, if you are still a trainee and can get a trainee grant it will be 'easier.' But once you've got a TT position, it's the R01 that will get you tenure so you might as well spend your time hammering away at getting an R01 funded rather than waste your effort on small money, big effort training grant/mentored stuff applications.2. You get to budget for your salary, and you can set it to be higher than your salary as paid from your mentor's R01 *IF* your salary on that grant is lower than the average at your institution or in your area. You might see if you can get some stats on the postdoc salary ranges where you are, and set your budget to the higher end of that if it seems reasonable. Supposedly the max of direct costs for the mentored phase is $90K, with $20K for supplies and expenses. So there should be room for $70K's worth of salary and fringe benefits in there--however, if the typical postdoc salary at your institution is $35K, you'll need to stay closer to that to be reasonable (you might be able to swing $45K, but it really depends on your grants management specialist at NIH, who makes the decision to sign off on your budget to release the award, and what they deem appropriate).

  • Man says:

    Hi Arlenna,My Scientific Merit Review is scheduled for Oct-Nov (cycle II). Do you have any idea when is the earliest I can expect to see my reviews? Also when can I expect to see the roster?-TMan

  • Arlenna says:

    You can start keeping an eye on your commons site for the roster anytime now, I think. As for the reviews, you'll see your score show up first anywhere between 1 week and 6 weeks or so from the review date--it just depends on how quickly they get to it. The summary statements themselves usually take a lot longer to arrive, sometimes they don't show up until almost the next submission date unfortunately. Usually sometime around 3 months from your review has been my experience, but maybe they're getting more efficient?

  • chserez says:

    Dear ArlennaMy name is Carlos Serezani and I work on macrophage and lipid mediators biology. I am planning to submitt a K99 next falla and your blog is been very helpfull... thank you very muchI was wondering if you could send me your budget for both phases.... I am having a hard time to figure out how to have a good budget and the information required for both K99 and R00 phase, inclusing the justification.I know you might get this kind of request all the time... but please help meThank you very muchCarlos serezani. My emai is cserezan@med.umich.eduthank you

  • Arlenna says:

    I'm happy to send you that Carlos--watch your email and I should get it to you over the next few days.

  • Man says:

    FYI, new 12-page limit also applies to K99/R00, I guess:http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov/page_limits.html-Tman

  • Arlenna says:

    Wow! I wonder if they are going to allow for separate space for The Candidate and the Research Plan now, or if both of those will need to be squeezed to 12 pages.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Awesome post! I will update as well after I'm done with this mess...

  • Man says:

    As per that link, 12 pages total for candidate and research, 1 page for specific aims. I can't imagine how this could be done especially when K-applicants typically won't have such a solid record and research track; it will be good if they start with R grants for now and leave Ks alone.-Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    Well, here's my advice to you all for where to focus in these shorter apps:#1 priority: "The Candidate" and career plan section. #2 priority: Your independent research aims and plans.I have a colleague on the study section reviewing these K99s now, and the most common pitfall applicants create for themselves is to not have well-developed career plans with OUTSIDE, INDEPENDENT collaborators and FOCUSED, well-developed R00-phase research plans.I will update the main post with this info.

  • has says:

    Hi ArlennaThis is an awesome siteThanks a lot for all your suggestions and guidelines. This has been a lot helpful for me. I have tried to follow your suggestions for the Candidate section. I am a postdoc in leukocyte and inflammation biology. I am trying to put together one for this Oct. I am almost finishing 5 years this dec. So not much chance of getting it awarded i guess!!!I have 7 first author and 2 other papers. I have another concern that my mentor applied for her first RO1 renewal (RO1 ending march 2010)and I donot know the chances of renewal are ... So will that be a problem, that when my K99 is being reviewed my mentor is not funded? I just have all these negative attitude towards trying this.

  • Man says:

    "has said":I think they don't really check if the mentor has an active R01. It will be ok I guess if the mentor has a strong history of successful research and successfully training postdocs and transitioning them to independence. I have been also told that in case of young mentors, good co-mentors or collaborators can make up.To me "postdoc" seems to be like the toughest phase not because of extra long hours of work, but because there is so much of uncertainty. So it is imperative one stays hopeful and look forward. At the very least, this K99 application will help us crisply shape up our research plan for the next 5 years, identify potential areas of improvement, and prepare for job talks.Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    I definitely agree with The Man here--the status of your mentor's funding during the time of your review will only be a problem if overall your mentor's CV/track record looks patchy or too new. If your mentor is a newer PI, or less strong on that front, then having extra collaborative mentors (at least one senior faculty memebr at your University and someone from outside as well) can make up for that.And yes, I agree too that being a postdoc can be an incredibly discouraging time. Some things in your life are within your control, but so many are outside of it. All you can do is your best and try to find mentors (whether they are your direct PI or not) who can help support you through your path. This grant is a way to start getting your own brain and plans on track for being independent as a PI, and can help you do that even if you never get the award (since the reviewers then give you some long-distance mentorship on your ideas and the process of putting them together).

  • meni says:

    I have a question: Has anyone here been in a situation where moat of your training has been with another PI, and you are in a new lab applying for the k99? Can I use preliminary results that are mine from another lab? Thanks!

  • Arlenna says:

    As long as your previous PI is okay with that and they fit in with your research plans, that should be fine. After all, the research in this grant is about YOU and not your PI. (The Candidate part is where they come in).

  • Anonymous says:

    Arlenna,Thanks for everything, your post is great! Now, to submission...

  • Anonymous says:

    Just got the score back, it is in borderline zone according to PO's prediction. Anyone has experience with this situation? What can I do other than waiting for final decision?

  • Man says:

    anonym: good luck and it looks like there is hope.When was your submission? Was this a revision?I submitted in June, still don't see a roster for my study section.-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just got a k99 priority score of 25, anyone knows is it fundable?

  • Man says:

    anonym:It looks like 25 is likely to be within top 10 percentile. Here is a scatter plot of new score vs percentile in NIGMS (however data are based on recent R01 submissions):https://loop.nigms.nih.gov/index.php/2009/09/22/the-new-scoring-system/Here is percentile vs funding from 2008:http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Research/Application/trends.htm-Tman

  • Anonymous says:

    I also just received a K99 score of 19 from the NCI, but the PO has no comments on whether this is going to be funded. Any ideas?

  • Arlenna says:

    Both 25 and 19 sound pretty good to me, but remember that nobody knows what will happen in this new scoring system yet--that's probably why the PO couldn't tell you for sure. Even when I had a score of 141 n the old system the PO wasn't comfortable saying "Yes, you're fundable" until after the council meeting. They don't want to get themselves in a situation where someone feels like they have been promised that they were fundable and then end up not getting funded. If I were both of you, I would feel cautiously optimistic but not hold my breath yet just in case.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlena, I had recently applied for a K99 and received a relatively good score, so I am optimistic about chances for getting funding. I am also negotiating at my current institution for a potential promotion for a research assistant prof. My question is, in this case, is there a way that I can update my budget to reflect the new (higher salary) since NCI put a cap of 100K for K99 applicant? As you know, My initial budget had to stay within the limits for postdoc at my institution and so couldn't take full advantage of allowable salary? If this is possible, do you know what is the latest time (before activation of of award) for such an update? or can it be updated after the award is initiated? Many thanks for the response in advance!

  • Man says:

    Good to see many good scores.Research Asst. Prof sounds like an independent position and is not allowed under K99 (needs to be mentored); some positions like research scientist / instructor are considered by schools are mentored positions, so that may be a possibility under K99 phase. I think one needs to be in the K99 phase at least for one year before moving on to the R00 phase; otherwise the grant doesn't serve the purpose.-Tman

  • Arlenna says:

    I agree with TMan, be very careful with your negotiation, because I was told that research assistant professor positions are not always eligible for K99 awards. You can alwasy change the budget during the JIT finalization if an award is made to you. But you'll want to start talking to your program officer right away to find out how this promotion might affect your eligibility and see if it is better to just remain a postdoc (you can still give yourself a raise if you so desire, as long as it is within the reasonable range for postdocs with your level of experience at your institution).

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I was trying to inquire about the chances of my K99 (NCI) of getting funded and was told that I have a great priority score and that my application rank as # 6. Since NCI do not issue percentile, does any one know what ranking here mean? and is this a good ranking or what?Thanks in advance.

  • Jill says:

    Hi Arlenna and everyone else, I realize no one really knows what to make of the new NIH formatting ... but I am curious what you all think!In your original comments you emphasize the importance of doing something relatively conservative for the K99, i.e. a small step away from expertise developed in the postdoc. I like that idea. But the new formatting requirements at the NIH have a huge emphasis on *significance* and *innovation* -- i.e. how will concepts in the field be changed by your work, etc.? It's hard for me to see how innovative & significant my K99/R00 work will be when it is an obvious (to me) extension of my postdoc work. I guess my question is: does NIH really mean to change their philosophy so drastically? Or is submission of what would have been a successful but relatively conservative proposal in the old system -- altered for the new format -- still likely to result in funding? Very curious what people think! Please let me know if I should clarify my questions. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    To anonymous,If you don't mind, what is your priority score? Just trying to get some idea of what a #6 rank score is. I would assume that your rank means the rank of score, in which 6 is an awesome number. No idea whatsoever about the new score system, somebody said there was no scores under 20 in some study sections, but a lot tied scores from 20 to 30, which brings the possible tied ranking too.

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi Jill, I am at a workshop right now where we are talking about a lot of that exact thing for R01s.By conservative, I don't necessarily mean not significant or innovative--you still have to find that about your work, but just don't take too big a leap away from what you've been doing. Then increase the size of your step for the independent portion.The key is to write effectively to set up the gap in the field that you will address--whether or not is is something that smoothly flows from what you've already done or not, you need to be able to lay out your specific aims page, significance and innovation sections for maximum effect to convey that there is an opening in the knowledge that your hypothesis addresses and your approach can... well, approach, in a unique way.THIS BOOK is totally awesome:http://www.grantcentral.com/workbook_nih_sf424_shortened.htmlEven though it is targeted at R01 applications, most of the conceptual and structural elements apply to the K99/R00 as well. Just remember you need to spend about 3 pages at the beginning on your "The Candidate" section. I will write a sister post in the next few days that goes along with this one to address a strategy for writing your "The Candidate" part in a similar style to the workbook I linked there.

  • Arlenna says:

    Hey Anon,I second that 6th with a great priority score sounds pretty darn good! Here's why you can't know for sure until they make their final decisions:The Council review still needs to happen. This is where experts in the area look through all of the scored summary statements and make sure none of the grants were unfairly scored too well or too badly. Usually they agree with the study section, but once in a while they pull one up from being unfairly scored too badly, or notice that one has been given a ridiculously good score that is actually kind of mediocre.Then the Program Officers look over the whole collection of scored grants, and THEY make the final decisions on who gets funded. They also mostly go with the scores provided by the study section to give the funding to the best ones. But they can decide to fund ones that are not as good because, for example, they agree with the Council review that the bad scores were unfair; or because they see a grant that addresses a major new advance that was scored badly as too risky, but they think it is important enough to fund. If I were you, I would be cautiously optimistic that 6th in the whole list meant something pretty damn good. But other than that you really do just have to wait for the whole process to go through.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Arlenna, Your post and comments are most valuable, Does the ranking though means that this is the 6th best application in this particular study section. I was told that this ranking was based on this and the previous review cycle. What does this really mean I am not so sure given that these were based on different priority scores and no percentiles were assigned.regards,

  • Jill says:

    Hi Arlenna, Thank you so much for the link and the thoughts. It will be a huge help as I put together my grant. I look forward to your next post as well 🙂 have a nice day, Jill

  • Luisito says:

    Arlenna (or anyone) I'm getting ready to write a K99 grant application but noone in my institution has a sample one that has been successfully awarded. Could you (or anyone) kindly forward me a sample K99 sample application. You will forever have my gratitude. Especially now with the new changes being only 12-page limit!! Yikes.Email is udbimpressed@gmail.com

  • kaysakura says:

    Hi Arlenna and everyone,I have a question---I submitted my K99 grant in June and the review meeting was held a few days ago. I checked my eRA common account and my status has "JIT" link and it says "pending Council Review". Does that mean I got a good score and MAY be funded? (I have not received the score yet, though)

  • Arlenna says:

    Luisito: I'll be happy to share my proposal with you, but as you pointed out, the format will be different! At least the elements of the approach section might help you.Kay: I'm afraid the JIT link usually appears for everyone and isn't any indication of your likelyhood to get funded. Every application also gets "Pending Council review." You won't know until your score shows up whether your score was good or not, and even if it might be good, you won't know if you'll get funded until you actually get the final decision. As I explained above, that's just how the system works and it can take a long time (months and months).

  • Luisito says:

    Arlenna,Thank you so much. My email is: Udbimpressed@gmail.comI agree that the 12 page limit is a very significant change, but the format and section breakdown overview will greatly help! 🙂

  • Luisito says:

    Again, thanks for this carefully thought-out post. A few questions that I have been thinking about for those who have been successfully awarded the K99:1. At the time of submission, did you have preliminary data for the INDEPENDENT phase portion? In my case, I have a healthy amount of preliminary data for the mentored phase, which basically concerns one family of enzyme my PI will continue working with, but he kindly allowed me to take an entirely new family of similar-behaving enzymes to work with in the independent phase, but I have NO data for this part; only the clones, but the expression and purification have all been published. What do you guys think?2. The new restructured grant mechanism is making me increasingly nervous. In this SIGNIFICANCE section, this is just another name for 'background and significance', agreed? As far as the INNOVATION section, I would imagine one can fuse it with the significance section, no?This is me ranting now: How do they expect someone to fit the Candidate, Career goals, and Research Plan all in 12 pages while still conveying the idea of why you need 5 years of total funding!! RRRRRrrr2.

  • Arlenna says:

    I don't know how study sections will interpret those significance and innovation sections... but they do need to be separate sections that individually address those specific things. I'm pretty sure some background info will fit into each to set the stage for the significance of the problem and innovation of your hypothesis/questions/approaches. But I think a lot of the more review-style background will have to be left out, or go in specific places in the "Approach" section to support assumptions/methods/etc. And a lot of the "if this doesn't work, then I will do this" and "if that doesn't work, then I'll do this other thing" stuff will also have to be left out. Instead a conceptual description of the pitfalls and a listing of potential alternatives will have to suffice.I know it's gonna be tough to fit into the shorter format. I suggest you outline your main proposal elements in bullet points (like described in that workbook I linked above in a comment) to lay it all out on the table, and then fill those in with detail to flesh it out.My suggestion is to roughly plan for 1 page containing both "Significance" and "Innovation" sections (roughly half a page each, or slightly balanced more towards one or the other if you want); then 2-3 pages of "The Candidate" (which you make very outline-y, even keeping your bullet points intact in the final document); and 8-9 pages of "Approach" where you devote 3-4 pages to mentored phase and 5-6 pages to independent phase. REMEMBER: outlining with bullet points of main important elements of each is your friend!!For prelim. data, I only had stuff that would apply directly to the mentored phase aims, and the way you describe your project, you will probably be fine by showing prelim data for the mentored phase part and using the mentored phase as a chance to collect that 'preliminary' stuff before moving on to your own lab. Make sure to propose experiments for that phase that will support the feasibility of what you want to do in the independent part and it should address that issue.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Arlenna,Thanks thanks thanks for all of your help. I'm in the K99 grey zone, so I am revising and resubmitting my application for the November deadline. Good news is that there really isn't much to change. However, I'm not really sure where to begin with the administrative burden. I'm also wondering whether I have to resubmit my letters of rec. etc. Do you have any pearls of wisdom?

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi anon: letters do indeed need to be redone, so maybe you can get that done first. I just asked my letter writers to change the date on their original letters and re-print them for me, to make it easier for them. Getting started on this revision will be harder for you since you have to go from 25 page format to 12 page!! You also only get one page of introduction to the resubmission (as opposed to 3 pages in the old format). Majorly bullet-point that intro to keep the length down, and don't spend quite as much time on the positives (just do a brief paragraph of resume/summary that highlights the major strengths and weaknesses the reviewers identified overall). Since you are revising for the new format, you probably will have such major differences that finding a method to highlight them (without bolding the whole freaking thing) will be hard. Russel and Morrison suggest using vertical lines just at the edges of the margin next to your text to delineate changes. If you can do this at least to any parts you changed in response to the reviewers, (and give them page or section #s in the introduction so they can find them easily) it will help you point out your relevant revisions to them. If it was me, I would start with my current proposal and just started chopping out extra detail in big chunks, cutting and pasting into a separate document (so you can put things back in later if you need to). Also go through it and try to eliminate extra words: find shorter ways to say what you said. Once you've gone through it in a first pass, then go back and rewrite your Specific Aims page to really nail home the importance of your project and remove experimental details from your aims descriptions. It's gonna be tough, but just keep working on whittling and paring down your original to a very sharp, fine point: don't lose the essentials, but do let go of the space-filling detail wherever possible.

  • Man says:

    Arlenna,I thought submissions from Jan 2010 only will have the 12 page limit. (I guess anonym will submit in Nov; would that count?)Also I was hoping that revisions won't be subjected to new page limit because first submission was based on different page limit. I am not sure, but was going to ask the SRA once I get my score and everything (mine is reviewed in mid Nov and will likely have scores available in early Dec.).-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,Sorry, I posted the earlier comment about the resubmission gray zone (which I think will now be my handle). Anyways, I too thought that I had the standard page limit for the November resubmit, which *hopefully* helps. Do you think I need to get new letters of support, e.g. from the Deans and my collaborators. If so, I seriously have 10 and this will be a big pain. I saw that letters of rec. need to be redone. Thanks!Gray zone

  • Arlenna says:

    Whoops yes sorry I missed the part where you said Nov. deadline. You will be fine, you do not have to change formats which is good.But yes indeed, you do still need to get all of those letters redone with new dates. It is a pain, but all they have to do is change the date and reprint/pdf it for you.

  • Arlenna says:

    And to be honest: you might be able to just change/add the new dates yourself in Adobe--you should definitely get email (written) confirmation from each person that you have their permission to add an updated date to their letter, but it's possible that they will allow that instead of requiring all new documents...Don't do this without asking your grant submission office and the people at NIH though (ask the PO). It may not be allowed.

  • kaysakura says:

    Arlenna,Thank you for answering to my question. The reason why I asked that question was that I found an university's website saying "When “JIT” is posted in the “Action” column of your NIH eRA Commons account, it signifies that your application has completed the peer review process and has received a rank for which funding may be possible".So I was a little confused by this, but your answer makes sense to me. Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    kay, Just as arlena said, the JIT link is there for everyone. However, in the eRA commons, if you check the status of your application you should be able to see the priority score. If there's no score, not a good sign. You may need to prepare for a resubmission.

  • kaysakura says:

    Hi Anonymous,Thank you for responding to my question. Yes, I saw my score after I asked my first comment here---and I assume I have to prepare for the resubmission. I hope the page limit will be the same as first submission.I agree with that collecting all the supporting letters all over again is a big pain....

  • Man says:

    Arlenna,Is there a way to find out if page length will be the same as the first submission for subsequent revisions? (I am waiting to get my reviews first to contact my SRA).-Tman

  • Man says:

    Ok, both new applications and resubmissions submitted after Jan 2010 will be subjected to the shorter length.http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-09-149.html-Tman

  • Arlenna says:

    I was just about to respond to that question too: yup, all submissions, whether new or revisions, have to conform to the new guidelines as of Jan. 2010.I'll reiterate that the workbook linked above in a previous comment is SO worth the money for getting a strategic plan for formatting under the new guidelines!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna, as Luisito, I am also in the process of writing my K99-R00 application. I was wondering if you could forward me a sample of a successful application.My e-mail is: viej770119@yahoo.comThanks a lot.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,This is an awesome blog! I just got a score of 33 for my A0. I had a dual assignment in NIBIB (primary) and NIDDK (secondary) and my K99 was reviewed by NIBIB. A 33 probably won't get funded in NIBIB (they only give out 5 K99/year) but may have a slight chance in NIDDK (?) Has anyone here submitted K99 to NIDDK? or had a dual assignment experience and get funded by the secondary institute? I know a case where a R01 was reviewed by the primary but funded by the secondary institute. Does anyone know the situation about K99 in NIDDK? Thanks a lot!

  • Anonymous says:

    Good luck. I think you may still have some chance in NIDDK. From the previous records, NIDDK has the highest success rate among all ICs. Just no idea how the score compared to the old score system. From this blog looks like there are not so many scores lower than 30 though.

  • Dong says:

    Hi ,very nice post , could somebody send me one copy of any successfully k99 grant ? thank you very muchmy e-mail : oliverstoney@gmail.com

  • Sally says:

    Hi all,I'm poring over the comments that I've received on my recently reviewed K99 application.... with a priority score of 22 I don't know if it'll be funded in this round, but I'm terrified of having to shorten it to 12 pages! Do you have any idea of the section breakdown? I'm starting to lose some serious sleep over this!!Thanks, Sally

  • Man says:

    Hi Sally,Congratulations for the great score. If you scroll up, you will see few posts and suggestions from Arlena for a 12 pager. Also, the link has a formatting table.I think 22 is an excellent score. As we all K99s already know, the key is to be on the top of the pile.What is your institute? Some institutes like NCI, NIDDK, NIGMS give 4 per cycle. So, with 22 you may already be within their K99 payline.I am also terrified at the thought of what might happen going from 25 to 12 pages. I really wish NIH allow the grandfathered applications do 25 pages. I think only the last two cycles from 2009 will be affected. With only 1 revision allowed, automatically everyone will be switch to a 12 pager after A1. Don't know why they think allow this (given that they have allowed infinite revisions for grandfathered applications in 2009 when the max. revisions allowed were cut to A1).Having said that, if you read closely at the document at NIH with instructions for K99 reviewers, you will see that the reviewers are supposed to take into account the priority score from the previous submission. So, automatically you next score likely will be converging to the mean in most cases.Good luck Sally!-Tman

  • Sally says:

    Hi Tman,Thanks for your advice and encouragement; it really helps! My institute is the NIBIB, and they only give 5 K99s every year, which is why I'm assuming that I'll have to do the rewrite.Thanks again for compiling such great info all together, and for guiding us newbies through the process!

  • Man says:

    Hi Sally,From what I have gathered, score in the 10 range ise very rare. So far I have come across only two K99s with scores of 13 and 19. But the former is from A2 and the latter is from A1. These are scores from NCI from the current cycle (Oct-Nov 2009). The NCI PO told these people that 13 ranks #1 and 19 ranks #2; also I came across another score from NCI which is 27 ranked #8 out of 63 applications from last two cycle. So you can see there is very few 10s and probably it is very rare for A0.One think I do not know is if scores of all applications (A0, A1, A2) are directly compared for a funding decision. Or would A0 in upper 20s be considered equally with A1/A2s in the lower 10s (just for funding).The PO at NIBIB is very nice and you could write to her to see if she can tell where you stand and the chances of funding. If the NCI range holds true for other institutes, then very likely you will be in the top 3 spots.Do keep posted if you find out more, it will help us k99s.-Tman

  • Anonymous says:

    Well interesting but misleading. The one that had a priority score of 13 was submitted to NIAID, not NCI and it's in the cycle of February. The one had 19 and 27 were from June cycle. For the October cycle it's too early to know any score yet.Plus there are three cycles not four cycles in NCI. NCI supported 20 k99 in 2007, 34 in 2008. Even if NCI funds the same number as last year, there should be more than ten slots opportunity for each cycle.

  • Man says:

    Thanks Anonym for the correction. Oct-Nov cycle I mentioned is the review cycle, but they are from the same June submission cycle as Sally.I misread the 13 score, that is actually from NIAID. But given that 19 is #2 from NCI, there is one score below 19 that is no. 1!-Tman

  • Luisito says:

    Hey K99ers,Do you guys think that the sponsor statement belongs in the new 12 page limit or can that be attached separately? Did you guys include such statement as part of your Research Design (the original 25 pages)? Notice my extraordinary efforts to maximize the 12-page limit!! UghhhhThanks!

  • Man says:

    Luisito, sponsor letters are not within the 12 page limit.-Tman

  • Arlenna says:

    You do have to have a statement from the sponsor in the main body, though, as far as I remember--I THINK it can be a short statement saying "please see attached letter," but there is a specific segment of the 12-page application that needs to be there, too. Best thing to do would be to email the SRO (scientific review official, name and contact info given in the RFA/PA page) to double check on that for the new format, and ask what is acceptable.

  • Anonymous says:

    For resubmissions, what is the page length restriction for the response to summary statements?

  • Arlenna says:

    As far as I am aware, just one page is allowed for the "Introduction to revised/resubmission application" now.

  • Anonymous says:

    NHLBI has posted a payline of 30 (in new scoring system) for K awards (this includes K99). http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/policies/operguid.htm

  • Allen says:

    just got my score this morning for NIGMS.....still trying to make sense what it means. Got a 28. Based on reading various comments here, sounds like it's tight competition between 20-30....does calling PO actually help?

  • Anonymous says:

    K99 payline for applicant of NIAMS is an amazing 14.........What can you say? If you read the criteria for the new system, those scored close must be real aliens. Let's say a total of 30 reviewers in the study section. To have an average of 14, you need around 20 1s and all others score at least 2s in a 1 to 10 scale. While 1 means everything is exceptional quality and no ambiguity at all. 2 is outstanding with very minor things. Even if I were a reviewer, I probably would not give anybody 1 after reading the criteria. It's just too easy to be picky on so many aspects.

  • Arlenna says:

    The paylines will be related a lot to the amount of money each institute has available to fund K99s--if they can only fund one or two, it ends up being very very small numbers (meaning high quality). If the paylines are that competitive, that suggests they must get many more apps for that institute than they can afford to fund.

  • Man says:

    That's interesting to know about the NIAMS payline with new scoring. I think, actually the NIAMS payline of 14 is not that surprising (fits Arlena's general description). NIAMS has only 4-5 awards per "year", that equates to ~1 per cycle. So, whatever score is at top in that cycle will determine the payline (so payline doesn't make sense in such cases). It doesn't necessarily mean scores in 10 range are common. So, logically institutes with ~1 award per cycle will have to fund the top outlying aliens. These will not likely be applicable to bigger institutes such as NCI, NHLBI, NIGMS, etc.-Tman

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi ArlenaI have had exchange some emails with you and your comments and suggestions were very helpful. I have a question and I though I could ask this here, because it might be of somebody else's.Is there any chance to send more preliminary data for the K99? If so, do you know how to find about the dates?thanks againCarlos

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi Carlos,There is usually an update period about a month before the study section meeting where you can send in a 1-page update document. Sometimes they don't let you, but often they do--and while there is no guarantee the reviewers will actually READ it, at least it's in there. You can ask the SRO (rather than the PO) about sending that in.And to Allen above: sorry I missed your question--yes, it's still worth talking to the PO, because they are the ones who ultimately make the funding decision so even if they can't say "yes for sure," they can give you a better feel for it and if they know you, that might swing them more in your direction (if you're friendly and they want to help you).

  • Allen says:

    Hi Arlenna, I did email my PO and consulted with her what my score meant. Well, she didn't think it'd be fundable given how stiff the competition was. I guess I will wait for the summary statement and evaluate whether I should resubmit next March.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh, my Gosh, sorry to hear that 28 is not fundable in NIGMS. I would guess that your summary statement will make you a little happier. I had a similar score and the ss seems very positive with only minor things. Keep finger crossed you never know if there's any surprise on the way.

  • Man says:

    Wow! I thought 28 might be in the range given that NIGMS has many more awards (16 in 2008); they also receive lot more applications (114 in 2008; success rate: 14%). I would think 28 is in the striking range if not now, at least with an A1.(To contrast, NIBIB funded 5 in 2008, received 24 applications for a success rate of 21%)

  • Anonymous says:

    In the case of K99, don't know if any IC is planning to adjust payline according to A0, A1 or A2 status. Yes theoretically the payline should be based on a similar percentage rather than a straight cutoff, which means A0 will be in an advantage, but who knows?

  • Man says:

    NHLBI FY2010 clearly show payline differences for R01 among A0, A1, and A2; but K's are clumped at a payline of 30. But others don't show any differences among A0, A1, and A2 even for R01s. I think, uniform or variable payline for A0 and A1 depends on where an applicant stands (A0 would definitely prefer a variable payline, but A1 would want uniform payline).FY10:http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/policies/operguid.htmhttp://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2010.asphttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/ep/Payplan.htmlFY09:http://www.nibib.nih.gov/Funding/Strategies/FY09http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/Funding/Grants/FundingPolicy.htm

  • Allen says:

    Yeah..I think the summary statement will be useful. It'd certain make more sense to get funded the first round. Given that I will have to re-write it to the shorter format for resubmission next year, it almost seems like I will have to put in the same amount of work as the first time around. There is also the possibility to seek funding in other institutes that receive less applications....that's what my adviser said.To the anonymous person who had a similar score as I did, did you get funded?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Allen. I am still waiting for the council review which will be soon. My SS is quite positive with words like "outstanding application and highly recommended for funding....". I decided not to consider resubmission and there's basically nothing I can do to significantly increase the score. My PO is very helpful and suggest a strong possibility of funding but no promise so far at all. This is actually frustrating because I don't know what I should do if my application is not funded with such strong summary statement. By the way I am not in NIGMS, my IC historically has awarded more numbers than yours.

  • Allen says:

    Thanks....my summary statement will come out next week. Hopefully, it will be as positive as yours, so I have more chips on the table when I talk to my PO. I'd also prefer not to reapply, given that it'll take quite a bit of time to trim down the apps to the new short length.Which IC are you in? Just out of curiosity? As for now, I'll enjoy my holidays and we will see what happens in January.

  • kay says:

    Hello Arlenna and everyone,I have a question regarding the new 12 page rules. Here is the description from PA;PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form Component Sections Length: Items 2-5 (Candidate's Background, Career Goals and Objectives, Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research) and Item 11 (Research Strategy) are limited to a combined total of 12 pages, including tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts.This means we have break up items 2-5 into (at least) 1 page each (total 4 pages) and Research plan will be at most 8 pages? (I remember I had to break up Items 2-5 into individual pdf files last time). Also, we do not have to include “Specific Aims (Item 10)” into 12 page rules…correct?I wanted to make sure this is correct before I start preparing the application. Thank you.

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi Kay, yes that sounds about right for the balance between the parts. And yes, the specific aims gets to be a separate page (so in reality you have 13 pages total including that). Remember also that the traditional "A. Spec. Aims; B. Back/Sig; C. Prelim. Stud.; D. Res. Des. & Meth." lineup IS NO MORE!Instead, "Research Strategy" has a different format now, that should include the following:A. SIGNIFICANCE (0.5-1 p.)B. INNOVATION (0.5-1 p.)C. APPROACH (rest of pp.)Where you can break up the "Approach" section into separate parts like this: • PRELIMINARY STUDIES (FEASIBILITY)• RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSor just do one whole "Approach" segment that incorporates the prelim data into the discussion of each Aim as a "Feasibility" section within that Aim. They did this on purpose, so that preliminary data would need to be more Aim-relevant, rather than just a big section where people piled in everything they ever did even if it was tangential or unrelated to the work proposed, just to show they were productive. So far as I have heard from reviewers/study section/program officers/SROs, relim data needs to be highly focused and relevant to the Aims now. No more grab-bag!

  • Kay says:

    Hi Arlenna,Thank you for your prompt response!I (I believe others, too) appreciate your helpful comments regarding how to prepare the preliminary data, too. I understand that we all tend to put all available data into the preliminary data section.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was told my score (June 2009 application) may be borderline. With the advisory council about a month ago, I was expecting to be asked for JIT details. Is there a certain time that we might expect this process to unfold?

  • Lafita says:

    My council is scheduled in January next year. You may ask your po about the progress if the council review finished. By the way, what's the status in eRA commons?

  • T says:

    Hi, I am planning a K99 in the next year and have a question. How fatal a flaw do you think it would be in a K99 application if the applicant's Phd advisor was one of the two co-mentors on the K99 application? Would that defeat the applicant's chances completely? Just wanted to get an opinion/poll. Also, thanks for the great tip on how to divide up the applications for the new format.

  • Man says:

    T,The most basic question you have to ask yourself is what aspect of your research are you going to get co-mentored on by your PhD advisor. A simple question that will arise is "why haven't you learnt what you are proposing to learn/receive training from your PhD advisor during your 5 years of PhD?". If your PhD advisor is multi-facetted and there is a reasonable justification, probably that would work too. By default this would raise a flag and you have to judge for yourself is there a very very compelling reason to have your PhD advisor in your committee.-Tman

  • AL says:

    Thank you for posting such valuable help. Can anyone provide insight on the distinction between the "Candidate Background" and "Career Goals and Objectives" sections? I'm looking at the new instructions which say: "Candidate background: Use this section to provide any additional information not described in the Biographical Sketch Format Page such as research and/or clinical training experience.Career Goals and Objectives: Describe your past scientific history, indicating how the award fits into past and future research career development." To me, "past scientific history" sounds more like it belongs in "Candidate Background". And I can't see that I have additional research/training experience not covered by my Biosketch. Should the Candidate Background section just be a summary of the Biosketch? (Do reviewers read the Biosketch?) More generally, Is it important not to overlap the information in each of these sections? Or is it advisable to re-iterate important points, in case some sections are only skimmed?Many thanks!

  • Laura says:

    Hi, everyone. Thank you so much to share your experience and lessons here. I am preparing K99 application now. Arlenna, could you please share your sample application with me? My email:laura_gl_zhao@msn.comOnly outline of your application is enough. As a new applicant, I am completely confused. Thanks you so much.

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi AL: In my application, I used the "Candidate Background" section to describe my research experiences with a few sentences of what they were about in more detail than in the biosketch. Then the "Career Goals and Objectives" was more a "personal statement" type thing, talking about where I had come from research-wise and where I wanted to go with my self and my science. If you would like to see my proposal, just send me an email at my blog email address.Laura: I will happily send you my proposal so you can see how I put it together in the old format.

  • Anonymous says:

    Any K99 grants funded from June 09 submission or close to funding? Or too early for that?

  • T says:

    Hey Guys, I have a question.. can one apply for a K99 if one has a position as (1) instructor, (2) visiting faculty, (3) adjunct faculty, (4) part-time faculty, (5) research scientist, (6) research assistant professor, so long as the above listed positions are NOT TENURE TRACK? I wad unsure of what the eligibility criterion are. Please share some info about this. Thanks!

  • Man says:

    T, the answer to that is in "is the position independent without supervision and/or would that allow you to supervise other students, hire postdocs, etc.". If no, then eligible to apply for a K99.

  • Anonymous says:

    This question is for others with gaps away from the bench (for family responsibilities, etc). I assume I need to mention this in the cover letter? (I am slightly more than 5 yrs out from my PhD graduation date-- although I have only 2 yrs postdoc experience.) But reviewers don't see the cover letter-- is there anywhere else I should address this? I don't want the gap in my Biosketch to raise red flags in the minds of reviewers.

  • Arlenna says:

    I think you'd want to mention in cover letter and in The Candidate section (both history and personal statement parts) as well as making sure your mentor statements AND letters of rec talk about it as well. Really hammer them and the CSR folks (who take in and decide on eligibility for applications) with your reason for the time since phd and gap. you should have every right to apply with that gap, but make sure they don't miss it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlena, This is a great K99-R00 resource. I wish I came across this sooner. Do you know how long it takes to find out the status (funded or not) of a grant after the council meeting?Brian.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Sally with score 22 from NIBIB, did you hear anything from the PO? I got a score of 25 (NIBIB) and anxiously waiting for the council meeting on the coming Jan 22nd.Brian.

  • kamal says:

    Hi all,Great info here. My question was about the research plan for mentored and independent phase? Do they need to be separate projects? Thanks

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi Brian: unfortunately there is no way to know for sure. It's completely dependent on the program officer's ability to make the final decisions, and sometimes that is stuck in the mud by things like NIH's overall budgeting/congressional allocations/etc. All you can do is email the PO and ask if they can give you any feel for where things are at.Kamal: They should be one big project, with the initial phases being performed under mentorship (usually to develop new skills you don't have yet, or risky aspects of the project), and the rest of the project expanded and matured during the independent phase.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you Arlena. Do you remember how long it took you to find a new status after the council meeting? I cannot seem to think of nothing else. Brian

  • Sally says:

    Hi Brian,I haven't heard anything yet, but I am also quite anxious (the NIBIB council meeting is tomorrow)! I will post as soon as I know... Good luck to you!Best,Sally

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Sally, Good to hear; did you contact the PO? Did the PO say anything about the rank and all? I am anxious too. You have a better score than me, so more chances.Brian.

  • Luisito says:

    Arlenna (or any1 with a funded K99), I have a question regarding the independent part of your proposal. I am currently developing that section but a lot of the techniques that I am proposing to use are currently available at my current institution but I cannot predict whether they will be available at my independent position. Is that an issue that I should address? How did you handle that uncertainty about the availability of the facilities in your future position?Confused, -L

  • Arlenna says:

    For things that were truly non-standard and out-there, I proposed collaborations with other people at my mentored-phase institution that were independent from my mentor, i.e. they could be established while I was there but were not just creating a permanent collaboration with my mentor's lab. For example, I needed some bioinformatics support so I got a letter of collaboration from a bioinformaticist we knew that said they would help me in an independent way once I moved on.

  • Luisito says:

    Great! That's very helpful.Thanks, Arlenna

  • Luisito says:

    K99ers,Do any of you know where to search for the available study sections for K99 applications? I looked in the CSR website and I'm only finding study sections for R01s and fellowships but not much information about the study sections for K or career development awards. Anyone has the link or information where I should be looking?

  • mahi says:

    Thank a bunch for the informationit is very useful for lots of prospective K99 candidates...

  • Anonymous says:

    Very informative post. I resubmitted my K99 grant in Nov 09. Then, I received an email saying "We are sending this e-mail to all our K99/R00 applicants for the January 26-27, 2010 meeting of the NCI Training Review Committee". I am anxious to know whether this is the meeting where the grant will be scored. If yes, will I receive the score in the next week or so? JD

  • Man says:

    Looks like this is your scientific review study section meeting (nci council is on Feb 8-9). You can check this in your eRA and likely you will see this date listed under study section review. Your score will be posted in eRA within 2 days after the study section meeting.Good luck with the application.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok, so in my era, it says Scientific Review Group: NCI-FCouncil Meeting Date(YYYY/MM): 2010/05Meeting Date: 01/26/2010If I understand it correctly, I will get a score after the meeting this week. Whether they will fund it at this score line or not will be decided at the Council meeting in May. Right? JD

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi JD: sort of--you should indeed get your score very soon after this week, and the council will make a recommendation about your score/application in May. The council doesn't make the final decision, though, so you still might not know for sure after May. The program officer will make the final award decisions, and they sometimes take longer after the council meeting because the PO is trying to find out how many they can squeeze in with their overall budget.Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle -Buddha."Just now accidently I came across your blog. What a wonderful blog! Your suggestions along with the others in the comments section are useful to most of us who are preparing their K99/R00. Learning from others experience is a great thing. As a single candle you lighted so many candles. Thanks a lot and keep suggesting. By the way, I am in my third year postdoc and applying K99 in June cycle. Anandh

  • Anonymous says:

    Can a research associate apply for a K99? Thanks for any answers.

  • Arlenna says:

    Hi anon, unfortunately research associates can' always apply for K99s. It depends on whether the details of your position in the institution where you are at allow you to independently apply for other grants like R01s or not. Ask your mentor and/or your grant specialists at your institution, and find out if you are in the kind of position where you would be allowed to apply as an independent investigator already--if so, then nope, you can't apply for a K99 (but you could apply for an R01 or R21 or similar).

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna, Thanks for your help. I am also at the same time a post doc in a T32 (which is supplemented by the Dept to an RA) and do not have any independent lab space or start up funds etc. I clearly cannot hire another postdoc AND I certainly do not have a tenure track Asst Prof position.I am still not sure about the point you made (can I apply for an R01 or not?), but given all of the above, do I still need to worry regarding the K99 eligibility?Thanks

  • Arlenna says:

    If you're on a T32, then you are probably not considered independent by your institution (which is what you'd need to be in order to apply for an R01 on your own), so I'm pretty sure you're good to go!Still, double check with your grants people, they should be able to tell you for sure.

  • Anonymous says:

    I will. Thanks for taking out time to answer these queries..

  • mahi says:

    Hi Alrenna,This is begining of my secndyear postdoc, I am getting ready to submit my K99 I have all my pre data, specific aims research plan ready but i am having struggle in writing career development plancan you please send me your proposal as model and a budget copy alsomy email id is thescientist003@gmail.com thankyou very much i really appriciate your encouragement and help for prospective K99'rs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Mahi, It seems to me that the beginning of second year postdoc is quite early to apply for a K99. I'd recommend an NRSA fellowship application instead and gathering a few publications under your belt in your current lab before taking that step. That is with the caveat that you don't already have a groundbreaking publication under your belt...

  • mahi says:

    Thanks Anon, for your suggessions & good info, I heard that we can apply for K99 until 5th year of postdoc, but is there any limit (like three times only or two times only ) to apply for K99 during postdoc period ? or else can we apply as many as times

  • Arlenna says:

    You can only apply twice--NIH only allows one resubmission as of sometime last year. Still, I don't think beginning of 2nd year is too early to start preparing an application--you might want to wait until you have enough publications to look like you're productive enough before actually submitting though.

  • JH says:

    All of these questions about eligibility (position, family leave, etc) should be directed to the IC contact listed in the PA (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_K99_R00.html). Your grants office might be able to describe your official duties and limits, but they have no role in deciding if you can apply. It would stink to spend all that time writing an application only to have it sent back.Luisito, for many ICs, K99/R00 are reviewed in house rather than by CSR. This is the link to the ICs' standing committees: http://era.nih.gov/roster/"Awarding" ICs are those that actually fund the grants. The term differentiates them from CSR, which does not fund any grants. The IC contact listed in the K99 PA can advise you which standing committees review their K99/R00s.

  • Man says:

    fyi, I have seen one K99/R00 recipient who started preparing her application in the last few months of her PhD and applied approx. around 6 months of her postdoc. She got K99 in the first try. I have seen another similar applicant in my field. But these guys kicked asses in their PhDs and they were already on their way to tenture-track jobs in tier-1.

  • Arlenna says:

    Thanks for the information about who to talk to and where to find information JH! That is really helpful. For people who are really unsure of their status, it's still useful to find out what kind of position one is in at your institution, though, so you know how to describe it to your IC contacts (so they can tell you whether it is eligible or not).

  • Arlenna says:

    By the way those interested in the January round of reviews for NCI (i.e. if you submitted fall 2009)--a little bird told me that this might have been your study section: http://era.nih.gov/roster/Prerosindex.cfm?AGENDA=222304&NABBR=NCI&FLEX1=F&START1=01/26/10&END1=01/27/10&CID=100453&CD=01-MAY-10

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Folks, Do we need to include letters of support from all advisory committee members for a k99? My advisory committee consists of my mentor + 2 other faculty. I am including a strong/detailed mentor letter. Should I need detailed letters from the other 2 advisors too, or just letters expressing their willingness to meet and advise. Similarly do I attach their biosketches and other support too?Thanks for any answers.

  • Arlenna says:

    Just letters indicating their support, and you should be somewhat specific in the drafts that you write for them, including the various things they will help you with (a technique/area, being a junior faculty member, etc.). You don't need their biosketches and other support--however, your paragraph describing them as your advisory panel member should explain who they are and what they do, as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna, Sorry to bother you again, but any advice on if we need to include biosketches and other support for our referees/references?Thanks in advance.

  • Arlenna says:

    No problem! Nope, you don't need that for them, either--only for you and your direct mentors.

  • Luisito says:

    Hey K99ers,I have a question about the cover letter. First, did you guys suggest reviewers, as well as potential reviewers that you wished not to be considered? Also, did you guys suggest scientific review groups?

  • Arlenna says:

    They have special review groups for K99s, so they won't be able to honor your request for a certain group. You could suggest reviewers you want to avoid, but it's actually a bad idea to suggest reviewers you want for NIH reviews, because that will automatically put them in conflict of interest and guarantee they will NOT be your reviewers.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,I just found out my K99/R00 (A1) scored at 29(for NCI). I guess it's in the gray zone. Since now only one revision is allowed, I guess i will keep my fingers crossed. I've heard from other websites, saying there are going to be a lot 20-30s, however, other people think it's not true. What's your opinion? Thank you very much!

  • J says:

    Luisito,It's not like a paper where you can easily ask not to have people review because they are competitors or your research contradicts theirs. You have to show how the person meets NIH's rules for a conflict. Whether or not the SRO decides your disagreement reaches the level of a conflict, you've just admitted there are controversies in your field that you should have addressed in your application.

  • Man says:

    anonym with 29: did you contact your po? from other posts it looks like 27 at NCI was ranked #8. your score is close by. you should be happy at least for the fact that NCI gives the most K99 awards among all ICs. your po could tell you where you stand in terms of funding. when is your council meeting?keep us posted when you learn more.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am anonym with 29.I haven't called my PO yet. I believe the council meeting is in May. I guess I'll have to wait until then.

  • Arlenna says:

    You can call your PO anytime to get a better idea of where you stand. The NCI PO is very, very nice and helpful so you should definitely call or email her. She has always been very responsive to me (my K99 is through NCI).

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh, Yeah, welcome to the endless waiting club! --Reviewed Last June and still no news...NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS..(^_^)

  • Man says:

    did you submit a revision even though nothing was decided yet? so, what is the norm when nothing gets decided before the next revision date--submit a revision anyway or just wait?

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh, Man, Revision? Absolutely no in my case! I am not mad at my review and quite honestly,I would say that the study section in overall did a wonderful job. For K99 there are things that cannot be improved no matter how many times you submit or how hard you work on your proposal. The revisions will most likely not affect their scoring on the mentor and the institute. What I learned from the SS is that my research was highly recommended. If not funded I'll locate a job and resubmit as an R01 or otherwise just quit.

  • Man says:

    that is great to hear! just curious about the score and the institute, would be nice to know.you are right, at the end of the day (after some waiting and calming down), the fact of the matter is this is not the end of the world. will have to use this k99 to leverage the job search. after all, this provided an opportunity to carve a 5 year research plan that could help with the job talks.

  • Allen says:

    anybody know what the payline cut off is for NCI for FY10? I've been checking my eRA commons regulatly and don't see anything useful......council met last week I think....got a 28 from the June 09 cycle.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am new to K99/r00. From the NIH website, it seems to me that each of the following, Feb12(New)/March12(rev), June12(new)/July12(rev), Oct12(new)/Nov12(rev) will be reviewed together, and given a priority score. Am I right?What if, let's say, the Feb12/March12 has much higher qualify applications than the June12/July12? Are they considering all three cycles' applications together? I am confused.Thanks!

  • Man says:

    Anonym @Feb 9: That seems to be a very relevant and important point for smaller institutes. For institutes like NCI that gives out plenty of K99s, that may not matter.At least one institute seem to wait all 3 cycles to not to miss out a good application coming in later in the year; but however, if they think it is a good grant, probably that will carry over and get funded in the next fiscal year; you don't have to worry about this.At this point (when ICs are just gaining an understanding of the new scoring trend), it will be hard to say if the long waiting is due to the intention of the ICs to not miss good applications or simply because they want to see how the new scoring system works or due to budget related delays.If you are in the initial stages of preparation and submission, probably you shouldn't worry too much about this, I guess.Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    I don't think they review all the cycles together. I am pretty sure there is a separate review meeting for each cycle. I've not heard anywhere about them waiting to see them all together to award either--it's not how IRG review works (since the study section ranks only with respect to the grants in their pile). Unless someone has heard about some specific change for the future, this is not how they have been reviewed and I do not believe this is the way these are going to be reviewed.

  • Man says:

    I was talking about funding, not IRG reviews.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Man and Arlenna.You are right. I just want to understand the mechanism of it.

  • Luisito says:

    My proposal will be submitted tomorrow at 11 am under the new format guidelines. Wish me luck and THANK YOU Arlenna for this incredibly helpful resource you have put together with this blog. I must have read every single post! Wish me luck!! I'll keep you posted on the (hopefully positive) outcome.

  • Anonymous says:

    At NIAID, they will wait for all three cycles before makinfg funding decisions. That is why you have to wait till April/May of next year (even if you have submitted the grant in Feb/March). They rank all scores and award top five or six depending on the funds available.

  • Anonymous says:

    Isn't that the funding decision has to be made before the end of each fiscal year (every aug/sep)?Anony at February 4, 2010 5:41 AM, if yours is reviewed last June, have you ever contacted your PO? I heard from the guy next door that the PO will contact personally to award the application.

  • Man says:

    Looks like the institute is collecting scores from from all 3 cycles. The last cycle reviews should be completed anytime now.For e.g., if you check awards in 2009 and 2010 from NIAID, you will see that the most recent awards are from 2009; and all start dates are clustered in May, July, August or September 2009 (ideally I would expect to see a spread through the whole year). This somewhat supports the conjecture that they are pulling top scores from each cycle after seeing all scores. So, NIAID might start giving indications which scores are fundable after the 3rd cycle review this month or next month.However, this is just my reading into the situation, not facts.-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Arlenna,Do you know if NCI treats the score from A1 equally as that from A0? For example, A0(29) will be funded but A1 has to be 25 to be funded?Thanks

  • Allen says:

    Does anybody know when we should be expect funding decision to be made for the June 09 cycle for NCI? I haven't been able to get in touch with my PO.....

  • Man says:

    Allen: I guess the NCI council was held today (caught a glimpse of the council meeting podcast). You can give a few days (at least 2 working days) and try to contact your PO.-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info Tman...I thought the council meeting was at the end of January....I guess I had the dates wrong.....definitely getting nervous about finding out.Allen

  • Man says:

    Allen, if definite decisions were made at the council your eRA status will likely reflect "council completed" or something like that sometime after Tuesday. Probably that is when your PO will likely have some answers or suggestions. (again, not facts, but just my understanding--this grants business is imprecise anyways).It must be nerve wrecking constantly think this. Hopefully you will hear good things from your PO soon. Good luck.-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Allen,just out of curiosity. Is your PO NL? Since I,as well, couldn't get in touch with my PO, for a while.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi ArleenaThis is shashi from university of pittsburgh working on liver regeneration. I am applying for the K99 june deadline. Would it be possible for you to share your application eventhough it was a 25 page proposa. I want to get an idea as to how to write the whole grant and connect the K99 and R00 phase. My email address is shd27@pitt.eduThanksshashi

  • Arlenna says:

    Anon about the A1 vs. A0 status: yes, they still treat each one relatively equally as far as I know. If anything, if you had a very good score on the A0 but didn't quite make it past the payline, they sometimes score you a little better to try to help make sure you will get funded the 2nd time around. However, this is just me interpreting their behavior in the past, each study section and PO will be different. Make friends with the PO: that is what can really help you in A1 if you were close at A0.Shashi: sure, no problem! It's "in the mail." 🙂

  • Allen says:

    Hi Tman, my eRA Commons status has been "council review completed" since 2/1. My primary is with NIGMS, but the PO there didn't think my grant will make it through. The PO at NCI though thought that there is some chance for mine to be funded there.....And to anonymous: my PO is NL. I haven't been able to get in touch with her this month. I guess one way or the other, I will find out soon.

  • Arlenna says:

    I bet NL is still being adversely affected by SNOWMAGGEDON in the DC area. Probably all POs are. That was why I didn't hear back about my NSF CAREER application for so long. She's usually pretty good unless she's out of the office or especially swamped.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Allen,Why your application's been assigned to two institutes, NIGMS And NCI? (Mine Only with NHLBI). Does the application with the score of 28 (NCI as the primary) have priority over yours, which is also 28 (primary NIGMS)?Thanks

  • Anonymous says:

    I think they will be considered differently. Otherwise, what's the point of putting them into different institutes (centers). But who knows. Just my 2cents.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Allen,I have a similar question as the above anon. Can we switch the application between different institutes? I also don't think I will be funded within my primary institute, but may have a chance somewhere else.Thanks for your help.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think you can ask for dual assignment in your cover letter when you first submit your application.On my eRA commons, it lists two institutes, NIGMS being primary, and NCI being secondary. This is my first NIH grant, so I am new to this as well.Since each institute has a different payline, it is certainly possible that my score is not good enough for the primary, but good enough for the secondary. However, I can't really say whether the same score in GMS and NCI are equivalent....my guess is that they are considered differently.I don't think you can just switch institute as you wish. Does yours have secondary institute assigned (in your eRA Commons)? I basically contacted both POs when I first found out the score to get a sense of where my application stood in these two institutes.-Allen

  • Anonymous says:

    Allen,I only have NHLBI as my primary, no secondary choice listed in my eRA account.Good luck on your application.Thanks

  • Man says:

    good luck anonym and Allen, looks like you guys are closer toward a decision. Allen that 'council completed' status from 2/1 is based on NIGMS council (which was on Jan 21-22). Since you have secondary assignment to NCI, if NIGMS decided not to fund your application likely might have been through the NCI council on 2/18. It may be a bit complex going between institutes, but if you have been in touch with both the POs, probably you are alright (meaning you don't have to wait a whole cycle to try your chance with NCI--sy. institute).Anonym, I think multiple institute assignment won't hurt, but not sure how much can be helped because each institute has only few k99 grants (NCI has more) and they might want to consider their own first before grabbing good related applications from another institute. Further, it may not be easy to interpret scores from another institute because typically applications are scored against each other (remember the new scoring intentions to use full range?) during IRG review to assign ranking.Having said that, one should try whatever they can in their power to leverage their applications.. no stones unturned.-Tman.

  • Sally says:

    Hi all,I just got word that my K99 will be funded through the NIBIB! Thanks for all the support from the people posting on this site, it is awesome!:)Sally

  • Man says:

    Congratulations Sally! Amazing, great achievement given that NIBIB awards only 5 per year. What a way to start the week!Did you learn about your ranking in your cycle? Logically you must be at the top to get funded with NIBIB's limited grants (probably that doesn't matter, but might be useful to others).-Tman.

  • Sally says:

    Thanks 🙂 I got a 22, but I don't know about my ranking. Good luck to everyone else out there!

  • Man says:

    Amazing, good luck with your actual research now!-Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    Yay!!! Congrats Sally!!! This is awesome. Hopefully others who have been successful will share their good news here, too!

  • GSK says:

    Hi Arlenna, Thank you very much for the useful info. I just heard from my PO that my K99 has been awarded. Thanks to you, I got a score of 13 (see my earlier postings) for my A2 submission at NIAID. It was ranked first among all three cycles. I had to wait this long (reviewed in June 2009)since NIAD collects info on all three cycle before awarding any. Unfortunatley, K99 phase is only for one year and R00 phase is for two years at NIAID. I don't care that much about K99 phase but a 3 year award would have been nice during R00 phase! Time to finish up, find a job and concentrate on R01 and R21!!!! In fact, efforts to address one of the reviewer's comments led to a R21 idea. Thanks, the third reviewer!! I hope you don't mind if I ask you a whole set of new questions regarding setting up lab, hiring etc. It appears that posdoc-ing was really the easy part!

  • Man says:

    Congratulations GSK! In other institutes, at least the first cycle submissions know before others (but typically wait for budget to pass, etc.). But it must feel sweet to have waited so long and come at top!Probably, Arlenna should open a new thread for K99-postdoc'ing for specific discussions. May be a forum style blog where we can see follow-up to each questions, answers, etc.-Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    Congrats GSK!!That's a great idea T-man, I know of some free forum homes where we could do this. I'll look into it when I'm back from study section (or maybe tonight after our meeting is done...)

  • Man says:

    That will be great Arlenna. Your blog is grower much faster and the forum style blogging you are planning will help for easy navigation and accommodate the growth!-Tman.

  • chserez says:

    Hi ArlennaI just look at my score and I got a 40 on my first submission.... How bad is is? I am not sure, but it does not seem so bad... I just want to thank you for your help and for the tips on the new format, which I will have to start working on soon...

  • Man says:

    chserez,which institute? in some less competitive institutes, there may be a chance, but very likely you will have to revise.(I guess you haven't switched to using the forum yet; its amazing the forum already has 35 registered users).-Tman.

  • Man says:

    chserez,which institute? in some less competitive institutes, there may be a chance, but very likely you will have to revise.(I guess you haven't switched to using the forum yet; its amazing the forum already has 35 registered users).-Tman.

  • chserez says:

    Hey TmanI applied to the NHLBI. I don't think it will make it... I guess, i have to put my shit together again and start reformatting for 12 pages...heheby the way, I am part of the forum... but i could not open a new topic... so, i decided to write on the blogcheers

  • Arlenna says:

    Huh, that's weird--I made it so everyone should be able to create new topics... Did you activate your account through an email that should have been sent? I'll go in and see if I can fix it, but also maybe go and try again to make a topic.Send me a private message on the forum if you still can't get it sorted out and hopefully we'll fix it.

  • Man says:

    I guess he was trying to create a thread in the forum home; cherez will have to choose a topic (e.g. "Proposal writing questions and discussion") and create a new thread within ("New Topic").-Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Has anyone heard anything from NCI about the K99 payline? I still haven't got the SS yet (submitted last Nov).

  • Anonymous says:

    How long after study section is the score posted?

  • Arlenna says:

    Scores are usually posted about a week or two after the meeting. I'm not sure if paylines will be able to be reported, since the scoring system changed so recently and payline is a relative term (relative to grants from the past). The PO is the only one who might be able to give you a rough indication of where your score falls. I think you can estimate that the payline will fall somewhere between 20 and 30 for NCI... and that's about as close as you can get.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey,I just applied to NCI for the first time. My application is assigned to review group NCI-F, Manpower and training etc. Does this sound right? I would expect it to be assigned to Career Development (NCI-I). Does it matter? Should I ask the PO whats going on?Thanks in advance!

  • Arlenna says:

    yup, that's right! don't worry, for special awards the CSR always puts them in the particular study sections where they are supposed to go--I have never heard of a fellowship or training grant ending up in the wrong place, and even if it did, the scientific review officer would figure it out before their meeting and send it back to the right place.

  • AB says:

    My Feb submission is assigned to NCI-F as well. I'm sure we're fine!

  • Anonymous says:

    give us the pep talk that we don't need a K99 in order to be successful (me = rejected)

  • Man says:

    Sorry to hear that. Hopefully you can resubmit if there is time left.It is true that for the moment (I mean the duration you worked on the k99 grant), we totally trust and believe that is our pathway. It is one of the pathways. The ultimate goal is to get a long term position and when the time is right secure an R01. Those are stepdy steps. Those are huge goals and we need small success in between to stay motivated. I think K99 is one such mechanism to keep you motivated with the main goal of early entry into the NIH system.There are many other ways people contribute to research. Private industries is one such example where we can also make more money.And more importantly there is family.K99 is one little thing, if it works ---GREAT! If not, we learned great things and that experience will come in handy another time. At the least, this gave an opportunity to critically evaluate your plan for the next 5 years and probably develop a long term goal.It will take some time to pull our head out and get a grip to realize this is one of many things we will do in our research career.Easier said than done. Keep motivated in any ways you can.It may help to remind ourselves of this little (!) human flaw: if things work, we tend to think we did all by ourselves and forget to acknowledge that we stand on the shoulders of others; when things don't work, we tend to forget that this experience will server as a shoulder for someone else to stand on (though the latter won't acknowledge that). But that is how evolution seems to work, no one succeeds or fails, but the system progresses. We should be happy for the opportunities to do this kind of things for living.best wishes.Tman.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pep talk, part II: There are also other ways to get funding that supports your transition to independence. Check out private foundations.

  • Arlenna says:

    Tman, you should have a blog!! 🙂

  • Man says:

    Arlenna, it is easier to follow yours and participate in the discussions in your valuable blogs/forums.-Tman.

  • Arlenna says:

    I just like the advice you give, especially your peptalk--you would make a good blogger. 🙂

  • Ray says:

    Hello, Arlenna,This is Ray working on bioinformatics. Thank you very much for sharing us with these very useful information. I am plannibng to apply for the K99/R00 June deadline. Even I have some experience with NSF proposal writing, I was not sure what to start in the first place, with the different requirements and formats. Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of your previous application? A good template would be very useful in helping me put everything together. My email address is rxu128@gmail.comThanks!

  • Man says:

    Ray, seems most switched to using the forum, why don't you post your question there?Tman

  • Anonymous says:

    can any one of you give me a sample application?

  • Arlenna says:

    You'll need to give us your information, etc. Come over and join the forum and you can ask there, a more protected space for leaving your contact information.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anyone know what scores have chances for funding at the National Eye Institute? I have a score of 32 for my application submitted in June 2009. I do not know what is going on.Jessica.

  • Arlenna says:

    I have no "eye"dea about the Eye Institute (hyuck, hyuck, hyuck--I'll be here all week!). But please let us know if you find any information! It's a smaller institute than the big old NIGMS and NCI, so there doesn't seem to be as much information out about it.

  • Man says:

    Jessica, did you try contacting your PO or speak with someone who received a k99 grant from the eye institute?Tman

  • Bya says:

    Hi Arlenna and others,i found your posts most helpful and informative. I am applying for a K99/R00 this june 2010. i started writing since a couple months ago. i am the first to apply from my institution and still uncertain of what a competitive application looks like. do you mind sharing with me your application? if you can't share the whole application, i would really appreciate it if you can share me the candidate's section especially the career development section as it's the part that's getting me stuck. thanks, and i really appreciate your help! my email: nc99163@yahoo.com

  • Wanbu says:

    What a helpful blog! Thank you, Dr. Arlenna. Currently, I am ready to submit K99this June but I think I need some corrections after reading all these helpful comments.If you are Okay, would you please send your proposal at ds5rut@hotmail.com ?It will be appreciated.

  • Anonymous says:

    Does a "not discussed" (during committee review) necessarily mean that an application is dead in its tracks? My K99 was up for evaluation at NCI-F (Manpower & training) this week and this is the "score" that I received. I'm quite disappointed naturally if this means that I didn't even get an impact score and hence am no longer in a realistic contention for the award. A summary statement is on its way, a month from now, and I'll be able to understand the critiques. But at this stage, what is the overall significance of "not discussed" and what can be implied?

  • Man says:

    Hey Anonym,"Not discussed" means they had too many applications that would prevent them from going through every applications in that cycle. Typically, K99s are reviewed at the home institute and not at the CSR. Also typically number of k99 applications received are manageable and they try to discuss all applications. I am not sure if your NCI-F is reviewed at the institute or at CSR. If they decided to discuss only the top applications with chances of funding, then typically they pick top 50 percent of applications or so.Don't be disheartened. You will have an idea when you get your summary. You have one more chance and you could significantly improve the application.Remind yourself that this score doesn't reflect the quality of your research. Just getting in front of the funding line.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for the very informative and helpful blog! I am wondering how junior the junior faculty member should be. Should they already have an R01, or at least some sort of NIH funding? Also, does anyone have an example of a 12-page application (preferably a successful one!) that they would be willing to share? Thanks in advance!

  • Arlenna says:

    Do you mean if they are a PI mentor to you? Or do you mean the candidate for the K99/R00? You can't get a K99 if you've previously gotten an R01. It's intended for postdocs or VERY new faculty. If your mentor is an assistant professor (whether almost tenured or not) you're going to have a hard time getting a good score unless you have a senior co-mentor.

  • Anonymous says:

    Arlenna, by this:It's intended for postdocs or VERY new faculty. Do you mean that Assistant Professors without R01 funding and within the 5 year time limit can apply for the K99?

  • Anonymous says:

    From NIH websit:Individuals are NOT eligible if they: * have currently or previously held an independent research faculty or tenure-track faculty position, or its equivalent, in academia, industry or elsewhere; or * have more than 5 years of related postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application or resubmission(s); or * have been an independent principal investigator on NIH research grants, NIH career development awards, or other peer reviewed NIH or non-NIH research grants over $100,000 direct costs per year intended for faculty members. See further details under 3. Other Special Eligibility Requirements.

  • Arlenna says:

    I think they added that note abuot "mentored new faculty" so that postdocs who apply for K99s and get awarded right before getting job offers don't necessarily have to decline the award. It gives them a workaround for the inevitable issues that some % of the strong applicants are going to come up against (e.g. myself: if you read the comments way upthread you'll find that I am one of those "mentored junior faculty").So, if you already hold an assistant prof position, you probably can't apply fresh for a K99. But if you apply and have a good score and then start a TT job, they might be able to work with you to let you keep the grant.

  • Anonymous says:

    What about submitting a revised application while transitioning to (or just before) a TT position?

  • Arlenna says:

    That's kind of thing that would be between you and the program officer. It's worth talking to them about!

  • HeropsysH says:

    Hi Arlenna,I am in the process of preparing my K99 application (Oct '10 deadline) and came across your blog by chance. It is a wonderful source of information!! Thanks so much for putting all this together and for all the conversations. Would you (or anyone with a successful grant) be willing to share a copy (heropsysh@gmail.com)?Many Thanks!

  • P. says:

    Just got my score to my K99 application and I got a 24. I seems from other people's comments like a good score but also institute/study section dependent. Anybody here has been successful with a K99 at NIEHS? I'd like to know what scores have been historically successful... Thank you!

  • Jian Zhang says:

    Dear Arlenna,
    I am in the process of preparing for a K99 application, and found your blog extremely helpful. I was wondering if you could email me a copy of your proposal as well as your budget for both phases? My email is: jz2364@columbia.edu. Thank you very much! --Jian Zhang

  • Mioara says:

    Dear Arlenna,

    I am working hard at my K99 to get the October deadline since this it the only time I can submit. They change the requirements and I do not qualify anymore after this deadline. My adviser believes I would probably not make it in the first shot but I am willing to make it my best application ever.
    I finally have a new and exited topic and I am putting together the ideas. I would like to see your application if possible. My email address is : mlarion@chem.fsu.edu

    Thank you so much,

    Mioara

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