NIH NIAID Career Transition Award (K22)

Note to PIs: The following program summary is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It does not replace the sponsor’s actual funding opportunity announcement. Always review the most recent version of the sponsor’s full announcement to verify that the deadline has not changed and to identify the most current program requirements.

About the program

The purpose of the NIAID Career Transition Award (CTA) program is to assist postdoctoral fellows' transition to positions of assistant professor or equivalent and initiate a successful biomedical career as an independent research scientist.


Any candidate with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status.

Candidates for this award must have a clinical or research doctorate (including PhD, MD, DO, DC, ND, DDS, DVM, ScD, DNS, PharmD, or equivalent doctoral degree), or a combined clinical and research doctoral degree.

Individuals not affiliated with an organization may apply (specific information is available for unaffiliated candidates).

Individuals are NOT eligible if they:

  • Have currently or previously held an independent research faculty or tenure-track faculty position, or its equivalent, in academia, industry or elsewhere; or
  • Have more than 5 years of related postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application or resubmission; or
  • Have been an independent PD/PI on NIH research grants (e.g. R01 or equivalent), NIH career development awards (e.g., K01, K07, K08, K23, K25), or other peer reviewed NIH or non-NIH research grants over $100,000 direct costs per year, or project leaders on sub-projects of program project applications (e.g. P01, U19).

Individuals are eligible for a K22 award if they have been, or currently are, the PD/PI of an NIH R03 or R21 grant or a PHS or non-Federal award that duplicates the specific aims or research goals of an R03 or R21 grant. Individuals are NOT eligible to apply if they have pending an application for any other PHS career development award, an NIH institute-specific K22, or a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).
Some institutions appoint postdoctoral fellows in positions with other titles although they are still in non-independent training positions. Candidates in such positions are encouraged to obtain confirmation of their eligibility before they begin to prepare their applications. It is incumbent upon the candidiate to provide evidence that the position s/he is in complies with the intent of this eligibility requirement.

Award amount and award period

Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses, as described below.

NIAID will contribute up to $ 50,000 per year toward the salary of the career award recipient. Further guidance on budgeting for career development salaries is provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.The total salary requested must be based on a full-time staff appointment. The salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned.

The sponsoring institution may supplement the NIH salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale. However, supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may PHS funds be used for salary supplementation. Institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of the career award.

In the first year of the NIAID K22 award, the PD/PI may request up to $150,000 (direct cost), and $100,000 (direct cost) in the second year. The PD/PI will have discretion to utilize the award as needed by the research described in the application, within the limits designed for the PD/PI's Salary above.

Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistants, etc. is not allowed.

Application deadline

February 12, June 12, and October 12.

Learn more


Last updated: August 1, 2019.