What to know about the Postdoctoral Process - Transition


How do I avoid a gap in funding as I go from a postdoctoral award (F32) to a mentored career award (K01, K08, or similar) or an independent research award (R01, R21, or similar)?

Work closely with your Government Program Official. If you are planning to submit a new application, give yourself 13 - 20 months to submit the application before you need it to be funded. Although there is no guarantee of avoidance of a gap in funding, this strategy will allow you to provide time for review. If you do not plan to submit an application, you can arrange to train under someone's research grant, usually an R01.

How can I find out about NIDA's Institutional Training Grants (T32s) for postdoctoral training?

NIDA sponsors several institutional training grants, also known as T32s. These are training grants given to institutions for training pre- and postdoctoral students. You will find a listing at our Research Training Sites page. Determine which ones sponsor postdoctoral trainees. Read about their programs. Contact the Principal Investigator listed and/or your Program Official for additional information.

When can I apply for a grant to follow my individual postdoctoral grant (F32) or my postdoctoral appointment on an institutional training grant (T32)?

The best time to apply for the next grant is 13-20 months before you would need to be funded. Usually, this is 13 to 20 months before your current grant ends.

What kinds of grants may I apply for, to follow my individual postdoctoral grant (F32) or my postdoctoral appointment on an institutional training grant (T32)?

The following are the most common.

  • K01 - Mentored Research Scientist Development Award  
    This mechanism provides support for 3-5 years of intensive, supervised career development in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence.
  • R03 - (B/START) Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition 
    This award is to facilitate the entry of investigators who are five or fewer years beyond training status into the field of behavioral science research and is for a period of one year.
  • K08 - Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award 
    This mechanism provides for 3 to 5 years of supervised specialized study for outstanding clinician research scientists with the potential to develop into independent investigators, who have a health professional doctoral degree, and are committed to a career in laboratory or field-based research.
  • K23 - Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award 
    This mechanism supports the career development of investigators with a clinical doctoral degree or its equivalent who have made a commitment to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented research for 3 to 5 years of supervised study and research.
  • K25 - Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award 
    This mechanism is for investigators in quantitative science and engineering research who have not focused primarily on questions of health and disease, to support 3-5 years of career development in clinical biomedicine, bioengineering, bioimaging or behavioral medicine.
  • K99/R00 - Pathway to Independence Award 
    This award is a new opportunity for promising postdoctoral scientists to receive both mentored and independent research support from the same award. It is designed to facilitate those who are in the latter stage of their postdoctoral career to transition to the independent phase of their research career within 2 years. Applicants must have less than 5 years of postdoctoral (or equivalent) research experience at the time of application to be eligible.
  • R03 - NIH Small Grants Program 
    This mechanism is for newer, less experienced investigators; investigators at institutions without well-developed research traditions and resources; more experienced investigators for exploratory studies, which represent a significant change in research direction for them; and more experienced investigators for testing new methods or techniques and provides research support for up to 2 years.
  • R21 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program 
    This mechanism is for up to 3 years to test innovative or conceptually creative, scientifically sound ideas and enable exploration of the feasibility of the research question or approach. Data demonstrating feasibility are desirable. Novel and creative approaches are essential.
  • R01 - Regular Research Grants 
    The R01 grant mechanism is used for many of the research grant opportunities available at NIDA, for which see immediately below.

Where can I find a complete listing of funding opportunities at NIDA?

A complete listing of funding opportunities at NIDA can be found at www.nida.nih.gov/funding-app/pa