The NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award began in 2006 as a grant mechanism that supports young scientists in transitioning from postdoctoral training to an independent research career. Recently, the parent program announcement for the K99/R00 award was resissued (see PA-14-042). The new PA spells out new eligibility requirements and describes the ideal candidate in more detail, as follows:
Applicants must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or the subsequent resubmission or revision application. The K99/R00 award is intended for individuals who require at least 12 months of mentored research training and career development (K99 phase) before transitioning to the R00 award phase of the program. Consequently, the strongest applicants will require, and will propose, a well-conceived plan for 1–2 years of substantive mentored research training and career development that will help them become competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty positions and prepare them to launch robust, independent research programs. An individual who cannot provide a compelling rationale for at least one year of additional mentored research training at the time of award is not a strong candidate for this award.
This change in eligibility criteria (from no more than 5 years of postdoctoral training to no more than 4 years of postdoctoral training) means that postdoctoral fellows should plan to submit their K99/R00 application no later than their third year of postdoctoral training in order to have at least one grant cycle to revise and resubmit their application before becoming ineligible.
As always, if you have questions about this or other NIH funding opportunities, you should consult the most recent program announcement (in this case, PA-14-042), the program officer at the NIH institute you want to apply to, and your research mentor. The BRET Office of Career Development is also happy to consult with postdoctoral fellows who are contemplating applying for a career development award.