KL2 Mentored Career Development Scholar Program

Mentored Research & Career Development Support 

The KL2 Scholar Program offers training for mentored research and career development support for clinical junior investigators. Its goal is to stimulate innovative research initiatives and career development. The program is tailored to the research and career development needs of each scholar and offers didactic education, mentored research, interdisciplinary works-in-progress seminars, and team-building experiences.

The overall goal is to foster translational research on clinically relevant questions enabling basic science findings to be more rapidly applied to clinical problems. The length of the program is one or two years, based on available funding. Scholars commit to a minimum of 75% protected time (50% for surgeons) for research and training. They are encouraged and provided resources to seek independent grant research support during the award period. Each scholar participates in the University of Utah Vice President’s Clinical and Translational (VPCAT) Research Scholars program that includes didactic education, mentored research, interdisciplinary works-in-progress seminars, and team-building experiences. 

The KL2 program co-directors meet with scholars quarterly to oversee the mentorship of the scholar to assure progress. Each scholar creates and completes an Individual Development Program tailored to their research and career development needs. Scholars have access to biostatisticians in the CCTS Population Health Research Foundation for Discovery, and the CCTS Funding and Program Development Service (FPDS) provides grant submission support. These resources facilitate appropriate study design, collection of pilot data and the preparation and submission of competitive grant applications. 

Since the start of the KL2 Program, 18 scholars graduate and currently are funding 3 scholars. Since graduating, scholars have seen great success including over 184 publications and 83 abstracts/presentations. Of the graduates, 94% (17) received extramural funding (averages 3 awards per funded scholar); 83% (15) are still at the University of Utah; and 100% are still performing clinical and translational research. These graduated scholars are moving forward as independent investigators as is reflected in the extramural award rates: 44% (8) have received a NIH K Award; 11% (2) have received VA Career Development Awards; and 11% (2) have received a prestigious foundation career development award. This equates to a 67% career development award rate that is also further enhanced by the KL2 scholars’ continuing success: 28% (5) have received R Awards since graduating and 6% (1) received a CDC U01 Award. In total, the KL2 graduates have received 51 extramural awards totaling over $21 million in funding. Another example of the extraordinary success of the KL2 Program is Dr. Matthew T. Rondina. Dr. Rondina was accepted into the KL2 Scholar Program in October 2008. Since that time, he has been awarded a K23, R03, R01, and accepted the role as Director for the Precision Medicine Foundation for Discovery at the University of Utah CCTS. Furthermore, Dr. Julie H. Shakib, a 2011 KL2 Scholar graduate, has been awarded a prestigious foundation career development award, a CDC U01, and accepted the role as Co-Director for the Workforce Development Foundation for Discovery at the University of Utah CCTS.