NIDCD has just updated their advice to young investigators. It’s called Launching Your NIDCD Research Career. Lots of the advice is IC specific, but lots can be transferred to others ICs.
What am I eligible for?
Each of the award mechanisms for supporting research training and career development addresses a specific career stage and set of training needs. You should review the eligibility criteria and provisions of the funding mechanism in which you are interested. In addition, we strongly encourage you to contact the designated NIDCD program officer for your desired research training mechanism.
This is a useful list of the NIDCD contact people.
What factors should I consider in choosing the most appropriate funding mechanism?
Your level of education and research experience
Predoctoral level, postdoctoral level, or newly independent investigator
Citizenship status requirements
U.S. citizenship, permanent residency, non-citizen national (living in U.S. territories) status, foreign national in the United States on a temporary visa
Whether you are a member of an underrepresented group in biomedical or behavioral research
Including racial and ethnic minority groups, or people from disadvantaged backgrounds or who have disabilities
The kind of support you are seeking
Stipend or salary support
Research development support (e.g., equipment, supplies, technical support)
Duration of support
This info is valid for everyone. There is also a list of mechanisms, things to think about as you assemble your application. I also like:
What makes a K08/K23 application successful? When considering whether to apply for a mentored K award, consider the questions below:
Do you have prior research experience?
Have you been first author on published or in-press experimental research papers?
Have you held a small, peer-reviewed research or seed grant from a funding agency or professional society?
Do you have strong institutional support (a favorable research start-up package or protected research time)?
If you are submitting a revised application, have you provided strong responses to reviewer critiques?
Have you contacted the NIDCD program officer responsible for the K award program?
I started to highlight one of these, but realized all are important.