Strategy for postdoc or senior trainees – K award route

One thing that I have had done, and I know of other R01 types who have made this work, is to bring a postdoc in on one of my current grants, or a T-32. I’ve got money for 2-3 years, but after 1rst year, I get them writing their own K-award. [Yes, this is fucking hard. Because you’ve got to be running a project too. Time to grow up and manage your time. You’re not in grad school anymore, Toto]. If they’re really on the ball they can do this in the beginning of their postdoc. If they’ve had 2 years with me, the two of us can make a good argument for the K-award moving with them to a new job (this is a seat-of-your pants K99R00).

Another strategy, mentioned on twitter today was PI applies for R-level grant with postdoc. Then lets postdoc take grant with them. Now, this does require some trust on both ends, but it is possible. A good PI has so many projects, and too many ideas, so that someone wants a piece of the work, it’s a relief to see it go to a good home.




9 thoughts on “Strategy for postdoc or senior trainees – K award route

  1. I totally agree with this model- I think people wait too long to go for the K. I applied for my K01 during year 3 of my PD and one reviewer stated that my “application may be premature”- I got a 34, so didn’t make the cut the first round, but my PO was very enthusiastic about my resubmission (just sent in on Tuesday). Others I have spoken to (mostly peers from other departments) have also commented that a K app during year 3 was “early”. Not sure why this attitude persists.

  2. Interesting, Kate, because there’s also the perception that if you’re applying for a K with a mentor you’ve been with for several years, what new things would you learn from them in the subsequent time?

  3. So then where does the F32 award fit in for a postdoc? I applied for the F32 after 4 months in my postdoc, and my funding started right at the 1 year mark. I’ve been in my postdoc position for 1 year and 3 months – should I already be applying for the K award? All the other advice I’ve received it to think about applying next year, after I’ve been in the lab at least 2 full years.

    • F’s are “earlier” awards – fellowships. Congrats on getting one.

      You need to show some progress on the F before you can apply for the K. I was thinking about postdocs who’ve been in the saddle for a while and haven’t had indep. funding.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I made a complete jump in fields from my graduate research to my Ph.D., so I’m content to stick around a little longer — I think it also may help my case for why I’d need additional funding as a postdoc after being on the F32.

    • For me, I started my PD on a T32 in October 2010, applied for the December F32 deadline that year, and funding started July 1 2011. My F32 was for 2 years, so I applied for the K01 in February 2013. The F32 ended in July 2013, so just a few months before I completed year 3. Resubmission for the K was November 2013, so if funded (fingers-crossed!!) would start sometime in 2014, during PD year 4. All reviewers for the K01 seemed to really like that I had prior F32 funding, so it will definitely help when you decide to apply. I also felt much more prepared to write the K having already written an F, so that’s another win. It won’t hurt to start drafting some Aims for the K, even if you hold off on applying for a bit.

  4. It’s also really important to speak to a PO at the institute you would like to apply with for a K award. Similar to the R mechanisms, not every IC supports the same K awards and even the “same” K at a different IC can be for a very different purpose. The POs are great at directing people to the right mechanism for their situation and for letting you know whether it’s worth the effort to apply based on your CV. 🙂

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