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K Grant Writing Groups

About the Program

What: The West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) is offering the K-Club program to provide guidance and advice to early-stage clinical and translational investigators planning to apply for a June 2024 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mentored Career Development Training Award –  a K-series grant. The K-Club program is structured as a facilitated group writing process (approximately 3 investigators to 1 faculty facilitator) which features a series of 2 hour “works-in-progress” sessions over a 12–14 week period prior to an upcoming NIH K-cycle submission. Each session focuses on a different part of the grant with emphasis on strategies to improve communication of ideas. Prior to each session, participants send their latest version of the relevant sections to all K-Club members and the faculty facilitator. All participants will arrive to the next session having read the others’ grant sections to provide thoughtful, constructive feedback to their colleagues.

Why: The NIH Mentored Career Development Training Awards are designed to assist individuals in developing their knowledge, technical competences and other professional skills needed to successfully evolve as an independent investigator. The K grant requires specific elements that differ from traditional investigator-initiated research, and it is these unique sections that are the focus of this program. 

When: The K-Clubs meet every other week on Tuesday mornings, over a 12-week period followed by a final review of the entire proposal. During the week when the K-Club is not scheduled to meet, participants are expected to meet with their mentor(s) to obtain feedback and continue development of the Approach section.

Who should consider applying: Faculty appointed as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Clinical Specialty Fellows and Postdocs interested in clinical and/or translational research careers.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the K-Club candidates must:

  1. Meet the current NIH Eligibility requirements for the K application of interest. See
  2. Be conducting clinical and/or translational research and committed to submitting an application for a K-series award at the end of the K-Club.
  3. Have published at least 1 or more first-authored peer-reviewed papers in their area of research interest.
  4. Applicants must be willing to commit to meet with their K-Club group every other week for a period of 12 weeks and participate in a final review of your completed application.

An application is required. Applications for participation in the K Grant Writing Group must be submitted via email to Joan Lakoski, Ph.D., ( by 5 p.m. EST on February 9, 2024.

How to Apply:  The following constitutes the application for the WVCTSI K-Club:

  1. A draft of your Specific Aims page.
  2. Your NIH Biosketch.
  3. The name and contact information of your planned primary mentor and a list of any other proposed co-mentors for this application, including their areas of expertise.
  4. A letter of support from your Department Chair. This letter must include:
    1.  a commitment to provide you with protected time for your participation in the WVCTSI K Grant Writing Group;
    2.  a commitment to providing you with the required percent effort of protected time upon receipt of a K award (minimum of 50%-75% effort, depending on clinical specialty); and
    3. a statement that the Chair will provide salary support should your current salary exceed the NIH salary cap. Applications that do not include a letter of support from your Department Chair will not be considered further.

K Grant Writing Groups (K-Clubs) Timelines

Contact for Additional Information: Joan M. Lakoski, PhD, Director of Proposal Development, WVCTSI (email: is available to address questions regarding this program.