Office of Research Advancement

NIH K-Award Program

Recognizing the importance of clinician-researchers to the future of the nation's health, the National Institutes of Health has developed a series of K-awards to support their career development. Some of these awards also support scientists, engineers, computational biologists, and other purely research disciplines. 

In FY08, the Keck School launched an initiative to support clinician-researchers in their application for NIH K-awards.  Non-clinician faculty members were also included in these activities. The number of participants increased rapidly and the initiative quickly showed success.  In FY07 the Keck School had 2 individual NIH K-Awards.  In FY11 it had 17 such awards, with 6 more at research affiliate Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  With this increase in critical mass, the need for a full-fledged program became recognized.

In July 2011 (FY12), Laurie D. DeLeve, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed as founding Director of the NIH K-Award Program. Dr. DeLeve began her faculty career at USC and is currently a tenured Professor of Medicine. She directs a successful and active NIH-funded laboratory research program within the Division of Gastrointestinal & Liver Disease, where she also carries out her clinical duties.  Dr. DeLeve also serves as Associate Chair for Research in her department. 

Those interested in individual K awards (e.g. K08, K03, K99) through the NIH K-Award Program might also consider a KL2 institutional award through the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI). The KL2 award supports scholars by giving them access to career development mentors, research funding, and salary support. Experience gained and pilot data collected through the KL2 program can help increase the probability of securing a subsequent individual K award. Learn more about the KL2 award.

Because the NIH K-Award Program is directed towards obtaining NIH grants, it is administered through the Office of Research Advancement. 

The Director has the following objectives:

  • To create a single career development 'home' for all NIH K-awardees, prospective awardees, and their mentors — bringing together the disparate groups in different departments and divisions on the HSC campus and the campuses of the Keck School affiliates
  • To provide career development advice and counseling for NIH K-awardees and prospective awardees.  To serve as a "go to" person for their mentors, shepherding them to the right places for help.
  • To coordinate a program of activities for NIH K-awardees, prospective awardees, and their mentors; coordinate activities with the CTSI and draw on educational resources developed by the CTSI.
  • To monitor the progress of all NIH K-awardees and prospective awardees, drawing on approaches developed for CTSI trainees.
  • To provide assistance to the Dean’s Office in tracking NIH K-series grants, awardees, prospective awardees, and their mentors.

To learn more about the NIH K-Award Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and to become a participant, please contact Dr. Laurie DeLeve.

University of Southern California University of Southern California