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 $4000 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 $4000 fee will not be required of those simultaneously enrolled and paying for the Master's in Clinical Research Degree or ATCR Certificate programs.
  • Teaching. CTSI K Scholars are strongly encouraged to teach clinical and translational science methods at UCSF, and will be offered the opportunity to teach a small group section in Designing Clinical Research at least once during their tenure in the K Program. We believe that this experience adds a relevant element to your career development — there is no better way to enhance expertise than by teaching!
  • Duration of Commitment. Initially one year, renewable annually for the duration of the career development award.

Key Program Elements

  • Clinical Research Facility. Scholars will be in residence on Friday mornings with access to space and to the wireless network at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (DEB) at Mission Hall on the Mission Bay Campus. Scholars may occupy a "hotel" space on the second floor of Mission Hall in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the days they wish to work at the facility. Having functional space and dedicated personnel for the scholars embedded in a much larger set of clinical research activities and support technologies is an important strength of the CTSI K Program, one that will optimize the scholars' acquisition of skills in research methodology and ability to build and lead interdisciplinary teams. Core faculty will also be in residence on Fridays to make it easy for scholars to discuss issues regarding their research with faculty or arrange meetings if desired.
  • 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.
  • Networking Lunch with Faculty and Scholars. This provides a forum for meeting and networking with other CTSI K Scholars and faculty.
  • 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.
  • 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 July, 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.
  • Scholar career development plans, progress reports, and performance feedback.

Scholar Milestones

Since our shared goal is for scholars to become independently funded by the end of their K award period (or earlier), we set out these general guidelines for scholars to consider:

By the end of the second year, and each year thereafter:

  • Three peer-reviewed publications submitted, two of these as first or last author and two representing original research.

By the end of the third year:

  • Six peer-reviewed publications
  • Develop Specific Aims for an R01 grant (or equivalent)

Scholar Performance Reviews

October of the first year:

  • Scholars, in consultation with their mentors, create a "career development plan" for review by their K Advisor.

Six months later and then annually:

  • Scholars update their career development plan for review with their mentors and with their K Advisor, and these assessments are reviewed at a KL2 faculty meeting.


There is a rolling admission process so that applicants may apply for this program as soon as they receive a K award and decide that this program fits their needs. Applications should be submitted by August 1, 2022. Applications may be accepted later (though no later than August 31). However, you should apply the moment you know you have a K award as this helps us with planning. 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 the retreat in Aug 4-5, 2022, and Friday morning sessions begin Sep 9, 2022. 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 PDF attachment