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Limited Submission Internal Deadline: NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00)

January 25 @ 5:00 pm

Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals 

NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00) 

UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, January 25, 2021 


*Please distribute to relevant faculty* 

Key Dates

UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, January 25, 2021

NIH Full Proposal Deadline: February 26, 2021 

Important Information


Number of Applications per Institution: Each eligible institution may submit a combined total of three applications to RFA-CA-20-055, RFA-CA-20-056 and/or RFA-CA-20-057. Additionally, each application must be in a different scientific area as defined below.


Scientific Areas:

(A) Data Science: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, data science is defined as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry in which quantitative and analytical approaches, processes, and systems are both developed and used to extract knowledge and insights from increasingly large and/or complex sets of data. This includes cancer-focused data integration and visualization, systems biology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, informatics, genomics, precision oncology, and developing analytics for epidemiological or biostatistical studies.

(B) Cancer Control Science: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, cancer control science is defined as basic and applied research in the behavioral, social, and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that, independently or in combination with biomedical approaches, reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity, and mortality, and improve quality of life. This includes research in epidemiology, behavioral sciences, health services, surveillance, cancer survivorship, and healthcare policy.

(C) Other Sciences: For the purposes of this K99/R00 award, “Other Sciences” includes all scientific fields supported by the NCI that are not included in (A) or (B). Applicants proposing research in (C) “Other Sciences” may apply only if it is reasonable to expect them to transition to independence with an abbreviated period of mentored research and career development beyond their original doctoral degrees.


Award Information 


Award Budget: Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses. NCI will contribute up to $100,000  per year toward the salary of the career award recipient. Further guidance on budgeting for career development salaries is provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. See also NOT-OD-17-094.

Award Project Period: The maximum project period is five years. 

To Apply

Submit the following (in ONE .pdf) to by 11:59PM, Monday, January 25, 2021.


  1. Specific Project Aims, that must include: 
    • Which RFA (RFA-CA-20-055, RFA-CA-20-056, or RFA-CA-20-057) the applicant would like to be considered for. 
    • Scientific Area (Data Science, Cancer Control Science, or Other Sciences) 
  2. NIH Formatted Biosketch 
  3. Letter of recommendation from Mentor
  4. Names (along with title, department, and email) of three internal (to UNC) experts who could speak knowledgeably about the candidate’s research and who could potentially serve on an internal review panel. 
    • Please do not include the names of faculty named on the project, chairs, deans, directors, direct reports, or others who have a conflict of interest
    • Please notify all potential internal reviewers before submitting the pre-proposal
      packet to ORD
    • Given the tight turnaround it may not be possible to conduct a full internal review; if this is the case ORD will coordinate a panel review with appropriate UNC faculty and researchers.


Program Description 

The overall goal of the NIH Research Career Development program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) support a variety of mentored and non-mentored career development award programs designed to foster the transition of new investigators to research independence and to support established investigators in achieving specific objectives. Candidates should review the different career development (K) award programs to determine the best program to support their goals. More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.


The objective of the NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00) is to help outstanding postdoctoral researchers complete needed, mentored career development and transition in a timely manner to independent tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty positions. The K99/R00 award is intended to foster the development of a creative, independent research program that will be competitive for subsequent independent funding and that will help advance the mission of the NCI.


This program is designed for outstanding postdoctoral fellows with research and/or clinical doctoral degrees who do not require extended periods of mentored research beyond their original doctoral degrees before transitioning to research independence, which is common for those working in data science and cancer control science, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility. Therefore, researchers from these disciplines are encouraged to apply.


This K99/R00 award is intended for individuals who require no more than 2 additional years of mentored research and career development (K99 phase) before transitioning to the independent stage (R00 phase) of the program. Consequently, the strongest applicants will require, and will propose, a well-conceived plan for 1–2 years of substantive mentored research and career development that will help them become competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty positions and prepare them to launch robust, independent research programs.


Program Considerations

Individuals must be in mentored, postdoctoral positions to be eligible to apply to the K99/R00 program. If an applicant achieves independence (any faculty or non-mentored research position) before a K99 award is made, neither the K99 award, nor the R00 award, will be made. The K99/R00 award will provide up to 5 years of support in two phases. The initial (K99) phase will provide support for up to 2 years of mentored postdoctoral research and career development. The second (R00) phase will provide up to 3 years of independent research support, which is contingent on satisfactory progress during the K99 phase and an approved, independent tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position. The two award phases are intended to be continuous in time. Therefore, although exceptions may be possible in limited circumstances, R00 awards will generally only be made to those K99 PDs/PIs who accept independent, tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty positions by the end of the K99 award period.

Additional Information 





Please contact the Limited Submissions Team with questions at



Limited Submissions Team

Office of Research Development

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

308 Bynum Hall

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

(919) 962-7503



January 25
5:00 pm