RFA for CTSA KL2 Mentored Career Development Award

Applications for July 2024 Appointment due November 10, 2023

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) is pleased to announce a request for applications to the Penn CTSA KL2 Mentored Career Development Award. 

Applications Due: November 10, 2024 | Appointments: July 1, 2025

The award seeks to support early career faculty focused on advancing Clinical and Translational Science (CTS). KL2 scholars are awarded a minimum of two years of salary support commensurate with 75% effort (capped at $90,000) plus benefits, in addition to $25,000 for training and research related expenses. 

Review the sections below for more information about program elements, application form and requirements, and answers to frequently asked questions.


The Penn KL2 program ensures each scholar engages in an individualized, comprehensive, flexible research training and career development experience. Visit the Penn KL2 Program page to learn more.

  • Faculty appointment as of July 1, 2024 in the Medical, Dental, Veterinary, or Nursing Schools; including Assistant Professors within the first 3 years of their faculty appointment, Instructors, & Research Associates
  • A translational research proposal testing basic research findings for clinical effect (i.e. preclinical, first in human, proof of concept, phase 1) and /or focused on the elucidation of mechanistic and therapeutic aspects of disease processes
  • US citizen or permanent resident status
  • KL2 Scholars must have at least 75% of their time protected for research and career development, unless they are in procedural disciplines, in which case the requirement is for at least 50% protected time, which must be requested from NIH.
  • Applicants are encouraged to orient their research question through a health equity lens
  • Applicants underrepresented in clinical and translational science are encouraged to apply

Download a PDF of Application Requirements

All documents will be uploaded in the Supporting Documents section of the application.  The headers below align to the name of the document upload.

Required Documents

  • Research Statement
    • Specific Aims (1 page limit)
    • Research Strategy (6-page limit)
      • A sound research project consistent with the candidate's level of research development and objectives of the career development plan must be provided. The research description should demonstrate the quality of the candidate's research thus far, the novelty, significance, creativity and approach, as well as the ability of the candidate to carry out the research.
      • The application must also describe the relationship between the mentor's research and the candidate's proposed research plan.
      • Research Strategy should be organized in three sections: Significance, Innovation, Approach
    • Research Budget (1 page limit)
  • CV
  • Other funding support for applicant
    • Document that details existing grant support and grant applications under review.
  • Personal Statement (3-page limit):
    • Candidate Background
      • Describe the candidate's commitment to a health-related research career. Describe all the candidate's professional responsibilities in the grantee institution and elsewhere and describe their relationship to the proposed activities on the career award.
      • Describe prior training and how it relates to the objectives and long-term career plans of the candidate.
      • Describe the candidate's research efforts to this point in his/her research career, including any publications, prior research interests and experience.
      • Provide evidence of the candidate's potential to develop into an independent investigator.
    • Career Goals and Objectives
      • Describe a systematic plan: (1) that shows a logical progression from prior research and training experiences to the research and career development experiences that will occur during the career award period and then to independent investigator status; and (2) that justifies the need for further career development to become an independent investigator.
    • Candidate’s Plan for Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period
      • The candidate and the mentor(s) are jointly responsible for the preparation of the career development plan.  A career development timeline is often helpful.
      • The didactic and the research aspects of the plan must be designed to develop the necessary knowledge and research skills in scientific areas relevant to the candidate's career goals.
      • Describe the professional responsibilities/activities including other research projects beyond the minimum required 75% full-time professional effort commitment to the career award.  Explain how these responsibilities/activities will help ensure career progression to achieve independence as an investigator.
  • Primary Mentor's NIH biosketch and other support

Letters of Support will be requested in the Recommenders Section of the application

  • Three Letters of Support Required
    • Primary Mentor, Institutional Support (Department Chair or Division Chief), and a third letter from an additional mentor or collaborator.
    • Letter requests will be sent via the application system in the Recommenders section. 
    • Applicants should communicate with their letter writers to let them know they will receive requests with instructions to upload letters from:  ITMAT, University of Pennsylvania, lor_help@collegenet.com
  • Primary Mentor Letter Guidelines (2-page limit - share these guidelines with your Primary Mentor)
      • The commitment to mentor the candidate
      • The suitability of the trainee's education objectives for stated career goals
      • The feasibility and relevance of stated area of research to be undertaken during the program to include:
      • The resources available to complete the research
      • The availability of collaborative relationships that may be required to undertake the research question
      • Mentor's prior experience mentoring translational research trainees
  • Institutional Commitment - Departmental Chair/Division Chief Letter Guidelines (2-page limit - share these guidelines with your letter writer)
      • How the applicant’s experience and research align with goals of the CTSA KL2 mentored career development award and how the proposed research is relevant to the department’s/division’s research goals
      • Commitment of the division/department to the scholar’s research direction and career goals
      • Guarantee of 75% protected time for the scholar *for interventional subspecialties, less than 75% is acceptable*
      • Availability of resources for the mentor and scholar
      • Detail other funding available to the applicant; include # of years of support available (dept support, other grant funding, etc. - please be specific)


Application access instructions for the 2024 deadline will be added here soon.

ITMAT Education Faculty and Administration are glad to connect with interested applicants throughout the year. 

One-to-one application support is available!  Contact us and we'll be glad to discuss your potential application or questions.  In addition, we've created a list of FAQs available on this page.

  • Can I have other active applications pending for NIH mentored career development awards (e.g. K08, K23)?
    • You may have them under review when you apply for the KL2, but you may not have them under review at the time of appointment (7/1/24); please discuss your plans with us to navigate this timeline
  • Am I required to enroll in a master’s degree program?
    • No, you are not required to enroll in a master’s degree program; we ask that you propose an education program tailored to your needs in your application, which may or may not include a master’s degree program; contact us to discuss options that best suit your interests
  • How many funding slots are available?
    • There are five slots available for the 2024 cycle.
  • Does the appointment have to start on 7/1/24?
    • Yes, but there may be opportunities for exceptions; contact us to discuss your situation
  • What is the application timeline?
    • Applications are due Nov 10, 2023; Interviews will be held in December 2023; Decisions will be released in early 2024.
  • Is 75% effort toward the grant required?
    • Yes. However, clinicians in interventional subspecialties may request less effort for the specific purpose of maintaining specialty clinical competency skills. These applicants may request a minimum of 50% effort in their application. A strong justification for the reduced level of effort must be included.

Applications received after the deadline or incomplete applications will not be considered.

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