NIH/NHLBI – Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01 Independent Clinical Trial Required)

July 23, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

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 this NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is to provide salary and research support for a sustained period of “protected time” (3-5 years) for intensive research career development for individuals from diverse backgrounds including those from groups underrepresented in research areas of interest to the NHLBI. The career development will take placeunder the guidance of an experienced mentor in the biomedical, behavioral or clinical sciences leading to research independence. Specifically, the grant seeks to: (1) advance the awardee’s career development trajectory by strengthening research capacity, publishing, and other scholarly activities; (2) improve success and retention in a research career; (3) promote scientific collaborations that lead to acquisition of new skills or research in other fields of scholarly interest; and (4) enhance the diversity of highly trained investigators in research areas of interest to the NHLBI. The expectation is that, through this sustained period of research career development and training, awardees will launch independent research careers and become competitive for new research project grant (e.g., R01) funding.


The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from minority and other health disparity populations into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities. For more information, see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-18-129.

This program provides research development opportunities for non-tenured science faculty from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups. The research development program of the candidate should be based on the candidate’s scholastic background, previous research experience, past achievements, and potential to develop into an independent research investigator.

Scientists and physicians with some research experience who need guided course work and supervised laboratory experiences, as well as faculty who need an intensive research experience under the guidance of an established scientist, are eligible to apply.


Although the NIH currently provides opportunities to develop research careers and improve participation for individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from nationally underrepresented groups with low participation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, a report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (see, provides strong evidence that diversity remains an important problem that the entire research enterprise must actively address. There is abundant evidence that the biomedical and educational enterprise will directly benefit from broader participation. Recent studies have supported the argument that diversity enhances the quality of education in multiple settings. Surveys have revealed that a diverse faculty is important to attract students from diverse backgrounds, including those underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, and has a positive impact on retention and career mentoring for these students. Moreover, a diverse faculty can significantly contribute to a balanced research agenda. Thus, a diverse research and teaching workforce provides a valuable and more comprehensive educational experience for all faculty and students.

Promoting the participation of faculty from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups, is one means of preparing emerging NIH-funded scientific talent for an increasingly diverse workforce and society. A diverse faculty is critically important in all institutions and can play a significant role in scientific discoveries and strengthening the institutional science infrastructure as a myriad of ideas are brought forth through discourse, thought, and theory, as well as in the different cultures and backgrounds of faculty, staff, and students. In 2013, only 3.8 percent of science and engineering (S&E) and health doctorate holders employed by universities and 4-year colleges were African American, and approximately 4.5% percent were Hispanic. (See data at

In 2010, the Bureau of the Census reported that nearly 20 percent of the United States population had a disability. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that in 2012, 11 percent of college students had a disability, and 34 percent of undergraduates with disabilities are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. The NSF also reported in 2014 that nearly 6.8 percent of all science and engineering (S&E) doctoral degree recipients were persons with a disability. (See data at

Given the substantial need for physicians, physician scientists, and others who will be involved in the care of minority and other health disparity populations, more efforts are needed to encouragethese student populations to pursue biomedical careers.

NHLBI’s Research Agenda and Focus

NHLBI encourages research training and career development crossing disciplinary boundaries (e.g., biophysics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, bioengineering, systems science, and big data science) to develop a new interdisciplinary work force. Also of interest to NHLBI are training and career development efforts that focus on implementation research which recognize the numerous knowledge and practice gaps that impede evidence-based interventions from producing optimal health outcomes.

The research proposed must be directly responsive to the mission of the NHLBI. The NHLBI does not support projects primarily focused on malignancy-related research. Studies that address a mechanistic correlation between cancer (i.e., lung cancer) and primary pulmonary diseases may be considered within the mission of the NHLBI. Applications on vaccine development will be considered nonresponsive for this FOA. Applications on respiratory pathogens will be considered within NHLBI’s intent for this FOA if studies focus on the host immune response. Other potential overlapping areas of interest shared by the NHLBI and other Institutes/Centers of the NIH include myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders, hematological malignancies resulting from disruptions in hematopoiesis, and the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and other cellular therapies. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NHLBI before submitting an application to determine the NHLBI programmatic appropriateness for this FOA and the mission of the NHLBI.

NIH defines a clinical trial as “A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.” (See NOT-OD-15-015).

NIH not only supports trials of safety and efficacy, it also supports mechanistic exploratory studies that meet the definition of a clinical trial and are designed to explore or understand a biological or behavioral process, the pathophysiology of a disease, or the mechanism of action of an intervention.  These studies may focus on basic and/or translational discovery research in healthy human subjects and in human subjects who are affected by the pathophysiology of diseases and disorders. By addressing basic questions and concepts in biology, behavior, and pathophysiology, these studies may provide insight into understanding human diseases and disorders along with potential treatments or preventive strategies. NIH also supports biomarker studies that meet the definition of a clinical trial and that may provide information about physiological function, target engagement of novel therapeutics, and/or the impact of therapeutics on treatment response. NIH thus supports studies that meet the definition of clinical trials (as noted above) but do not seek to establish safety, clinical efficacy, effectiveness, clinical management, and/or implementation of preventive, therapeutic, and services interventions.

Note: This FOA is designed specifically for applicants proposing to serve as the lead investigator of an independent clinical trial, a clinical trial feasibility study, or an ancillary clinical trial, as part of their research and career development. Applicants not planning an independent clinical trial, or proposing to gain research experience in a clinical trial led by another investigator, must apply to the companion FOA (see RFA-HL-19-026).


  • non-AIDS proposals – October 10, 2018, February 11, 2019, October 10, 2019, February 11, 2020, October 9, 2020, February 11, 2021
  • AIDS proposals – January 8, 2019, May 6, 2019, January 8, 2020, May 6, 2020, January 8, 2021, May 6, 2021


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities