The Penn KL2 Program

The Penn KL2 Program is designed to launch early career faculty into successful clinical and translational research careers.

Join the Penn KL2 program to advance your career development in a peer community through mentorship, personalized education, and access to resources designed for clinical and translational scientists (CTS). Leveraging ITMAT Ed's experience in CTS training, the Penn KL2 Program is designed to nurture you towards research independence by helping you:

  1. become adept at the conduct of clinical and translational science, and
  2. navigate the early faculty appointment period

Upon completion of the program, you will have mastered the CTS core competencies and achieved objective measures of success which include publications in peer reviewed journals, obtained an individual mentored career development award or independent grant funding, and continued substantial engagement in CTS.

Penn KL2 Program Components:


Research Mentor(s): KL2 scholars identify their research mentor(s) prior to applying to the program. The program advises on aligning mentor-mentee expectations and communication skills.

KL2 Advisory Committee: Following appointment to the grant, KL2 scholars identify an advisory committee which will provide scientific oversight and career advising, independent of their scientific mentors. This committee will include 3 faculty members, including the KL2 Program Director and will meet with the scholar and their mentor(s) every 6 months.

Individual Development Plan: As a part of the KL2 application, scholars articulate a learning plan. Following appointment to the grant, scholars begin the process of bringing precision to their learning plan by formulating an individual development plan (IDP) that will extend for the duration of time in the KL2 program. Scholars will review their IDP with their mentors and the KL2 program director at inception and 6 monthly intervals thereafter throughout the program.

Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research: All KL2 scholars will complete RCR training and then engage in directed experience in evaluating ethical principles through IRB membership for a minimum of 6 months. 

Grantsmanship: KL2 scholars will enroll in either MTR 6060 for K Award applications or MTR 6230 for R01 applications. Both focus on specific aims review, creating a budget, grants management, and peer to peer grant review.

Symposia: As part of the learning plan, scholars will attend the ITMAT Ed Junior Investigator Symposium and the annual Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Meeting.

Virtual CTSA Visiting Scholar Program

Professional Development Series: KL2 scholars will participate in a  professional development series. Topics include:

Research in Progress

Negotiation Skills

Communication Skills & Expectation Setting

Communicating your Science

Transitioning to Faculty

Engaging with Communities

Biomedical Librarian Support

How to Diversify a Funding Portfolio

Grant Mechanics Pre/Post Award

Valuing your Science – Academic/Industry Interface

Creating Research Budgets

Cultivating Good Research Ideas

Lab Team Management

Navigating the NIH

Culturally Aware Mentoring

Emotional Intelligence/Difficult Conversations

Additional learning plan elements available to KL2 scholars include coursework, certificates, masters degree, workshops, and externships.

ITMAT Ed Grant Library: Scholars have access to the ITMAT Ed Grant Library which includes examples of K Award submissions.

Research Navigation: With support from the Office of Clinical Research, staff with specific expertise will provide concierge service for specific aspects of KL2 research projects as required and as they are available. This includes access to tools and templates (for example, authorship agreement template and study start-up guide).

In addition to the professional development events, research in progress meeting provide the opportunity to create a cohort experience, with scholars providing peer to peer mentoring and problem solving. 

Furthermore, within the ITMAT Ed community, KL2 scholars will serve as near-peer mentors for pre and postdoctoral trainees.

Grant Funding and How to Apply

The Penn CTSA KL2 Mentored Career Development Award includes 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. 

For appointments beginning in July 2025, the application deadline is November 10, 2024.

Learn more from the request for applications - including eligibility criteria and application requirements and instructions.

Leadership & Administration

Emma A. Meagher, MD | KL2 PI and Program Director |

Megan Maxwell, MSW | Senior Associate Director, ITMAT Ed |