K Scholars Program With an Outside Award

The UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) K Scholar Program provides clinical and translational research training and mentored support to individuals with career development awards at UCSF and affiliated sites (e.g. Kaiser, San Francisco Department of Public Health, UC Berkeley), including those from NIH (e.g., K23, K01, K08, K12, K99/R00) and other organizations (e.g., VA, AHA). Enrollment in this program provides a supportive environment, weekly works-in-progress and methodology seminars, as well as access to core faculty who provide expertise and guidance in research methods, biostatistical analysis, manuscript and grant writing, and career advisement.


The goal is to increase the number and quality of outstanding clinical investigators skilled at leading multidisciplinary research teams. The overarching goal is to promote clinical and translational investigation that will have an important impact on the health of the public.


Candidates must be members of the UCSF faculty (or equivalent at UCSF affiliated institutions) by August 1 of the application year, and they must hold a UCSF K12, NIH K23 or similar career development award that supports 75 percent effort for training and research and has at least three remaining years of funding. An exception to the faculty level appointment is for those who are in the K99 portion of their K99/R00 award.

Program Requirements

  • Didactic Training in Clinical and Translational Research. Formal training in a rigorous and comprehensive clinical research program is imperative for establishing independence as a clinical investigator and a secondary degree in a clinical research-related field is an important attribute. For K Scholars who do not have a secondary degree in clinical research, the K Program strongly encourages enrolling in UCSF's Master of Advanced Study in Clinical Research Degree or Advanced Training in Clinical Research (ATCR) Certificate program.
  • Commitment to Regular Attendance at Friday Morning Seminars. Scholars play a key role in providing critical feedback to their colleagues. Absences should be minimized to those required for vacation, illness and scientific meetings.
  • Payment. CTSI K Scholars will need to pay $4,000 per year to participate in the program. Scholars may use funds from their K awards to pay this fee. This fee covers access to core faculty time for consultation in research design, biostatistical analysis, qualitative methods, manuscript and grant writing, and career advisement, which would cost substantially more to individuals outside the CTSI K program. We recommend that individuals writing new K grants include this fee in their K grant budgets. Note that the $4,000 fee will not be required of those simultaneously enrolled and paying for the Master's in Clinical Research Degree or ATCR Certificate programs.
  • Duration of Commitment. Initially one year, renewable annually for the duration of the career development award.

Key Program Elements

Note that the K Scholar Program is conducted remotely for the most part, with Friday activities taking place over Zoom. The program periodically conducts these sessions in person to allow for community building. Scholars are notified in advance to plan for being onsite at Mission Hall. 

  • Weekly Methodology Seminar: Fridays 9-10 a.m. These seminars, on a wide variety of topics relevant to research methods and career development, are given by CTSI K program faculty, as well as invited speakers from UCSF and elsewhere.
  • Weekly Works-in-Progress Seminar: Fridays 10-11:45 a.m. This serves as the core conference attended by the K-scholars, in groups of 10, with two experienced clinical research faculty: a clinical researcher and a biostatistician. Scholars present and discuss their research works-in-progress each week in a supportive and constructive environment, considering study and grant ideas and designs, implementation issues, analytical quandaries, research results, and drafts of grant applications and manuscripts. The work of two scholars is reviewed each week in the first year, with each scholar presenting about every five to six weeks. The frequency of works-in-progress meetings declines in subsequent years.
  • Career Development Workshops. A few special workshops are provided each year on career development topics of interest to scholars, e.g., leadership, negotiation, hiring/managing, media and messaging.
  • Grant Writing Workshops. Scholars are encouraged to take the R01 grant writing workshop in their second or third year of the program. The workshop is conducted twice per year, fall and winter, and coincides with NIH grant deadlines.
  • Career Mentoring, Expert Advice and Guidance. Each CTSI K Scholar will be assigned a K faculty advisor and a K faculty biostatistician. The K faculty advisor is an important source of career guidance outside your home department. The K Faculty biostatistician provides biostatistical advice on your research, a service that most scholars find invaluable. In addition, you have the opportunity to work one-on-one with our manuscript writing coach, Amy Markowitz, and grant writing experts, Judy Hahn and Tom Mitchell, on preparing manuscripts and grants.
  • CTSI K Scholar Retreat. In August, there will be an overnight retreat to kick off the program and provide the opportunity for old and new scholars to get to know the program faculty and staff, and each other. The retreat is paid for by the K program.


The admission process is rolling so that applicants may apply as soon as they receive a K award and decide that this program fits their needs. Applications should be submitted by August 1, 2024. Applications may be accepted later (though no later than August 31).  Applicants will be notified of acceptance into the K Program within a month of applying. Although applicants are admitted on a rolling basis, the number of scholars we can admit is limited by the number of small-group works-in-progress seminars we can accommodate each year. Therefore, we encourage your early application to the program as we may need to limit enrollment. The program begins with an overnight retreat in Aug 28-29, 2024, and Friday morning sessions begin September 6, 2024. The application requires direct data entry by the applicant, as well as uploading PDF documents from your NIH K or other career development award grant application. The intent is that you simply use the materials you prepared for your career award application; no need to update or change. The Department Chair's letter should indicate that applicants will have Fridays available to participate in this program. For questions about the electronic submission process contact Gianna Guerrero at [email protected].

Required Elements for CTSI K Application

CTSI K-Specific Information Type of Entry
CTSI K Applicant Contact Information Direct Entry
CTSI K Applicant Demographics Direct Entry
CTSI K Mentor(s) Information Direct Entry
CTSI K Department Chair's Statement CTSI K form (Word doc)
NIH/Other Career Development Award Application Elements  
Candidate's NIH Biosketch PDF attachment
Candidate Information PDF attachment
Research Plan & Specific Aims PDF attachments