The K Awardee to R Advancement Training (KARAT) Program is a new Department of Medicine initiative for NIH mentored K-awardees or other equivalent mentored Career Development Awardees (CDA). Under the leadership of Oliver Eickelberg, MD, the Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Research, the KARAT program provides a broad range of career development activities and academic support including grant writing workshops, grant reviews, academic skills training, networking and peer support for our K/CDA awardees. Only participants in the KARAT program who have completed their first year of mentored training are eligible to apply for this mechanism of Catalytic Grant funding.

We currently have an unprecedented number of talented K/CDA junior faculty in the Department who are transitioning into our next generation of independent PI leaders. The transition from mentored junior faculty to independent researcher, however, is a precarious and difficult period of the academic career pathway. The K/CDA awardee must generate a novel line of research and body of supporting work that is clearly independent of their current mentor.

To assist with the transition to R-level funding, the Department of Medicine has created a new funding opportunity to provide Catalytic Grants to K/CDA awardees to enable and develop innovative and exciting lines of research that will lead to independent funding. The Department plans to support up to $500k per year in total funding for the Catalytic Grants for an initial period of two years—future support is dependent on available funds and success of the first two years of the program. Dr. Eickelberg will oversee peer-review of applications and awards will range from $10-50k per year, depending on budget justification of the applicants.