NIH – Short-term Mentored Career Enhancement Awards for Mid-Career Investigators to Integrate Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences (K18 Clinical Trial Required)

September 25, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Participating ICs:  

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
    National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
    National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
    Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives,
    Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

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 Career Enhancement Award for Experienced Investigators (K18) is to provide support for experienced scientists who either wish to broaden their scientific capabilities or to make changes in their research careers by acquiring new research skills or knowledge. The purpose of this FOA is to provide such investigators with support for an intensive period of mentored research experience to acquire new research capabilities in research areas supported by the sponsoring NIH Institute(s)/Center(s). Such experiences will afford candidate investigators protected time to: 1) enrich and expand their expertise and research programs through retooling in new techniques, emerging technologies, and/or scientific areas; and/or 2) redirect their research programs in new trajectories; and/or 3) catalyze research collaborations in new research directions.  It is expected that this initiative will lead to new and/or augmented research programs competitive for NIH funding.

About OppNet

OppNet is a trans-NIH initiative that funds activities that build the collective body of knowledge on the nature of behaviors and social systems and deepen our understanding of basic sociobehavioral mechanisms and processes. All OppNet initiatives invite investigators to propose innovative research that will advance basic social and behavioral sciences and produce knowledge and/or tools of potential relevance to multiple domains of health research. All NIH Institutes and Centers that fund research and Program Coordination Offices within the NIH Office of the Director (ICOs) collectively manage OppNet’s scientific direction yet may not participate in every OppNet FOA. Consequently, applicants should review the list of ICOs in this FOA’s Components of Participating Organizations. For more information about OppNet, visit

OppNet strives to ensure that proposed projects focus primarily on basic sociobehavioral and biopsychosocial sciences. OppNet acknowledges that disease-, risk-, and wellness-contexts can provide opportunities to study basic behavioral or social processes, basic biobehavioral or biosocial interrelationships, or methodology and measurement relevant to basic behavioral and social sciences research (b-BSSR). Though OppNet defers from imposing a definition on the field, OppNet uses the following statement to guide the concepts it develops toward funding opportunity announcements: b-BSSR furthers our understanding of fundamental mechanisms and patterns of behavioral and social functioning, relevant to the Nation’s health and wellbeing, and as they interact with each other, with biology, and with the environment.

Research Scope

Examples of research topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Cross-training and collaboration among researchers with expertise in animal models of basic behavioral and social processes and those studying similar or related processes in human subjects. For example, a researcher who studies human aging might propose to work with a corresponding expert who studies cognitive aging among model animals.
  2. Increased collaboration among basic and applied sciences and researchers to facilitate basic-applied translation. Innovative approaches to change individual health-related behaviors and/or social systems begin with basic (or fundamental) research that illuminates mechanisms and targets involved with attitudes, decision-making, and behavior change and maintenance. Applied (or intervention) research can identify intractable unhealthy behaviors or efficacious interventions whose original designs did not include sufficient basic measures to explain the intervention’s efficacy–thus suggesting basic research questions. For example, an applied researcher who repeatedly has found that a setting-based social-network intervention results in sustained healthier behaviors might propose to train with a basic sociologist with expert knowledge in social network nodes and ties.
  3. Interactions among biological, behavioral, and social processes. Examples include and are not limited to, behavioral cardiology, cell biology, economic neuroscience, genetics, (self-) management of chronic conditions, neurolinguistics, live and virtual social networks, and the spread of disease or wellness. For example, a behavioral or cognitive neuroscientist may propose to extend training in the field of computational sciences; a disease-specific researcher might seek training in cognitive, social, and/or decision-making processes for future more comprehensive approaches to embodiment.
  4. New approaches to research design and data collection, measurement, and analysis. Sample projects include research tools that could be used in behavioral and social sciences, engineering and technological sciences, in biomedical sciences, or interactions of multiple disciplines. Big data collection and analysis also is appropriate for this announcement. For example, a computational scientist who designs and analyzes mobile health applications might propose to train with a cognitive or developmental neuropsychologist; a neuroscientist might seek additional training in behavioral and/or systems science and vice versa.

ICs participating in this FOA may have specific interests. OppNet strongly encourages researchers to contact Scientific/Research contacts well in advance of submitting applications. Some IC-specific interests appear below:

  • NCCIH Interests.  The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is interested in supporting applications that propose cross-training and collaboration among basic and applied complementary and integrative health (CIH) researchers to facilitate basic-applied translation of mind-body interventions (e.g., yoga, tai chi, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, manual therapies, and complex interventions such as music and art-based approaches); cross-training of CIH researchers studying mind-body approaches in biological, behavioral, and social science fields, or vice versa; cross-training of researchers with expertise in animal models of basic behavioral and social processes with relevance to pain research, and those studying similar or related processes in human subjects; or, enhanced training of CIH researchers studying mind-body interventions in new approaches to research design and data collection, measurement, and analysis. Investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans with NCCIH program staff prior to submitting their application.
  • NIMHD Interests.  The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) seeks to increase and maintain a strong cohort of investigators in minority health and health disparities research.  Applications are accepted for all areas of research including biomedical, clinical, population health, behavioral, and social sciences.  NIMHD supports the study of many aspects of minority health and health disparities— from genetic, molecular, and biologic science to clinical, behavioral, and translational research, as well as research on health systems and workforce development.  NIMHD focuses on the full continuum of causes of health disparities and the interrelation of these causes.

Deadlines:  March 6, 2018, and March 6, 2019


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities