KL2 Clinical and Translational Science (CATS) Scholars Program

Now Accepting Applications!

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites Letters of Intent for the Clinical and Translational Science (CATS) Scholars Awards.  These two year awards provide a vigorous mentoring and career development program for clinical and translational scholars in disciplines and professions such as medicine, dentistry, engineering, social work, nursing, and pharmacy. The CATS Scholars Program is intended to accelerate the career progression of scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to clinical and/or translational research. Ideal candidates are junior faculty who will have completed the majority of their formal research training and now require protected time to develop a specific research project that will lead to external funding.

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Program Benefits
Core Components  
Scholar Requirements
Mentor/Department Requirements
Eligibility for Application
2020 Application Overview & Deadlines

Benefits of the Program: 

  • 75% release time for research and career development, which will be funded by the CATS Program up to $100,000 (the home department/unit must commit to this release time in writing at the time of application).
  • Funds to support scholarly activities. Scholars will receive $25,000 annually to support their scholarly activities, as well as $2,500/year for research related travel.
  • Individualized career planning and formalized annual review of progress
  • Monthly career development workshops and activities
  • Peer review of grants and external presentations
  • Mentoring from senior faculty
  • Access to subsidized CCTS core services (requires submission of an application/proposal for approval)
  • Additional funds for external enrichment activities to support career development goals

Core Components of the CATS Scholars Program  

1) Mentoring: Teams, Individual Development Plans, and Career Guidance

Following admittance into the program, each Scholar creates an Individual Development Plan (IDP) under the guidance of program mentors. The IDP process allows for customization of the program based upon the needs of each Scholar, and also provides an opportunity for each Scholar to reassess their mentoring team, adding or subtracting members as needed.

2) Coursework
Decisions about enrollment in formal coursework are made during the IDP process, and courses are selected to help scholars improve or gain core competencies in areas as identified during the planning stage.  All Scholars are encouraged to take HPA 591: Grant Writing for New Investigators.

3) Career Development Sessions
CATS Scholars are required to attend monthly Career Development Sessions. Career Development Sessions include both Workshops and Peer Review Activities. CATS Scholars are also required to take training in the Responsible Conduct of Research.

4) Team Science Initiatives
Team science and collaboration are integrated into the CATS Scholars career development activities both in the Career Development Workshop Series and in formal coursework as appropriate to Scholar needs.

5) Community Engagement
As appropriate to their research, CATS Scholars are encouraged to consult with the CCTS's Community Engagement Advisory Board (CEAB) to describe their research and ask for feedback.  Scholars may also enroll in coursework relevant to health disparities and community engagement. 

6) External Enrichment Activities

Scholars are encouraged to engage in outside experiences that are relevant to their proposed research and career development goals. Examples of such opportunities might be taking a short interval in residence at another academic institution in order to learn an advanced technology, or attending a workshop or training program designed to increase skills in leadership or project management. Additional CCTS funds are available to support external enrichment activities.

Scholar Requirements

  • Undertake research/career development under a 75% protected time agreement.
  • Attend all CATS Scholars programmed career development activities (2-3 hours per month).
  • Under program guidance, prepare an Individual Development Plan and undertake the recommended elements of that plan.
  • Participate in an annual self-assessment.
  • If using human subjects, provide NIH format Human Subjects section prior to appointment to the program.
  • If conducting animal subject research, provide a current IACUC approval letter in application. 

Mentor/Department Requirements

  • Guarantee 75% protected time to the Scholar for the duration of the award, and 50% protected research time for (1) year following completion of the program.
  • Guarantee tenure track appointment (if not yet tenure track).
  • Mentors agree to meet regularly with Scholars to support their development, and to attend the annual scholar assessment meeting.
  • Mentors are encouraged to attend mentor training as offered, and will be asked to assist in career development activities for Scholars as appropriate. 

Eligibility for Application

  • Junior faculty (assistant professor and below) holding a research and/or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent and prior research training, e.g., the MS CTS (through the CCTS), a PhD, MD, or equivalent. Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible. 
  • Tenure track appointment, or if not, assurance from the department head that the scholar will be transitioned to a tenure track position prior to appointment to the program. 
  • Department/unit assurance of 75% protected time for research once in the program.
  • Substantial prior research experience that allows development of an independent research program.
  • Primary research interest in clinical and/or translational science.
  • Interest in active participation in a mentored career development program.
  • NIH requires that applicants must be United States citizens, non-citizen nationals, or individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence who hold an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551, or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. 
  • Those who have served as former or current principal investigators on any NIH research project grant (other than NIH Small Grants (R03) or Exploratory/ Developmental (R21) grants or their equivalents), or on any equivalent non-PHS peer-reviewed research grants that are over $100,000 direct costs per year, or as project leaders on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (e.g. a P50 grant) are NOT eligible.
  • Candidates who have a currently pending NIH K series (i.e., K01, K08, K99, etc.) application are NOT eligible. Those who held a K previously are encouraged to inquire about their potential eligibility. 
  • Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. UIC is dedicated to increasing the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences. 

2020 Application Process & Deadlines

January 17, 2020: Submission portal opens for full applications and letters of recommendation
February 3, 2020: "How to Apply for a Clinical & Translational Science (CATS) Award Workshop"
March 9, 2020: Application Deadline: 5:00pm CST
June 1, 2020: Anticipated award start date

Full 2020 CATS Scholars Program RFA
Full Application Instructions


Review our KL2 FAQs
For additional questions regarding the program, please contact Charlotte Jackson at ccjacks2@uic.edu.