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Application Information for KL2 Training Support for Junior Faculty (Fall 2023 is the expected next call for KL2 applications)

As part of UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI), the KL2 grant mechanism is an institutional equivalent of a K23, K01, or K08 award for junior faculty. The KL2 also provides didactic opportunities through ACTRI's CREST program and a mentored research experience. Successful applicants will receive up to three years of support pending good progress.

This is not a post-doctoral fellowship, but is intended for UC San Diego and ACTRI partner research institution instructors or assistant professors in any academic series as well as fellows or post docs who will have completed their training and have a faculty appointment by the time of receipt of funding.

Applicants from all departments/divisions of UCSD are eligible as well as ACTRI partner research institutions J. Craig Venter Institute, Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Research Institute, Salk Institute, and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. In addition, fellows and faculty from UC Riverside are also eligible to apply.

Candidates must be 5 years or fewer post-completion of a post-doctoral fellowship. Candidates must have a letter of support from their departmental chair to apply. Individuals who have already received a K grant, R01, or R01 equivalent grant are not eligible. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents. Candidates from groups underrepresented in biomedical research are strongly encouraged to apply. The NIH has recently formalized the definition of underrepresented groups:

Awardees must commit to 75% research effort and the awardees' home departments must commit to honoring this 75% research effort as documented in the Chair's letter. In return, ACTRI will grant up to $120,000 towards salary, plus benefits. Practicing clinicians in certain procedurally-oriented fields such as surgery may be eligible to commit 50% research effort. Please contact us for more information about this exception for procedurally-oriented fields.

Extensive formal and informal mentoring will be provided to awardees. Awardees are expected to develop and complete a training plan that includes relevant Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training (CREST) courses or other courses available at UC San Diego or elsewhere. For more information regarding CREST courses, see The application is to be prepared in a similar format as an Individual Career Development (K) Award application to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, proposals will include a one-page, 250-word maximum summary written in lay language, which will be independently reviewed by a community member panel.

Proposals will also include a letter of support from the candidate's primary mentor, which include the mentor's plan for the candidate to achieve research independence within three years. If the candidate does not have a faculty appointment at the time of application (for example, if the applicant is a project scientist or is on a contract), the departmental chair's letter must specify which appointment is proposed, indicate where the file currently is in the review process, and include a projected timeline for faculty appointment. Letters that do not specify the status of the appointment and its timeline will not be sent for review. Please be advised that funding will not be initiated until the file is approved for the proposed appointment by the department and is in process with CAP.

Upon receipt of all applications, the process continues with the following steps. After competitive review, all applicants will be notified and successful applicants will need to complete a secondary regulatory review (similar to an NIH Just-In-Time process) from the parent funder of the KL2 program, NCATS. At that time, successful applicants will provide a budget and budget justification for the $25,000 research funding (note, a budget and budget justification does NOT need to be included in the application materials).

Please use the below "Submit Inquiry" button to be on our announcements list for further updates and deadlines.

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Application Instructions

The format for this application resembles that used in individual K grant applications. Please use the links below for guidance, when appropriate.

Applicants should use the following table to guide the structure, content and page limitations of their proposals:

Description Maximum Number of Pages
Abstract ​Brief summary of proposed research project 250 words, on separate page
Specific Aims 1
Candidate Information, Research Strategy & Mentoring Plan 

Candidate's Background, Career Goals and Objectives, and Research Strategy, including references. Please click here for guidance


A plan for mentoring and all relevant career development/training activities during award period.

  • Include specific planned CREST or other courses, and how they fit into the candidate's professional development goals.


12 - not including references
Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Please click here for guidance 1
Mentor’s Support Letter, BioSketch and Other Support Page

The mentor's support letter should specify mentor's plans for supporting the applicant's training.

  • It is helpful to specify space, laboratory resources as well as proposed frequency of meetings with the applicant.
  • Mentor should also specify plan for candidate to achieve independence as a researcher within 3 years.
  • Include Other Support and NIH BioSketch documents for lead mentor.

Letters from co-mentors, if any, are also included in this section

Lead Mentor:  2 page max mentor letter / 5 page max NIH biosketch / Other Support no page limit

Co-mentors: 2 page max mentor letter only

Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development (i.e. Chair's letter)

The chair's letter must indicate department's plan for applicant, proposed academic title, and space.

Letter must also include statement that applicant will dedicate at least 75% of effort to research, and that all departmental obligations (night call, inpatient or outpatient clinical coverage, teaching obligations) will not add up to more than 25% and that such activities need approval of CTSA education committee.

Practicing clinicians in certain procedurally-oriented fields such as surgery may be eligible to commit 50% research effort. Please contact us for more information about this exception for procedurally-oriented fields.

If the applicant does not yet have a faculty appointment (for example, if the candidate is a project scientist or is on a MOP contract), the chair's letter must also include the following:

  • Assurance that file is currently being processed for a faculty appointment
  • Specific faculty position proposed for the candidate
  • Current status/progress of proposal of candidate's file for faculty appointment
  • Projected timeline for faculty appointment

Applicant’s Biographical Sketch

BioSketch must be in current NIH BioSketch format. Please click here for guidance.


Community (Lay) Summary

For independent community reviewers, draft a lay-language summary of your proposal, answering the question, “How important is funding this research to improving human health, either in the near future or distant future?”

​250 words, on separate page