NIH Backgrounder
Office of the Director

Friday, March 6, 1998
5:00 PM Eastern Time

Wendy Baldwin, Ph.D.
Deputy Director for Extramural Research

New Initiative in Clinical Research Training and Career Development

NIH today announced three new types of career development awards that are aimed at increasing the participation of clinical researchers in medical research and enriching the pipeline of people properly trained to do clinical research. The new awards, which NIH expects to begin funding in Fiscal Year 1999, will support young investigators who have just completed specialty training and mid-career investigators; institutional curriculum awards will be offered to help teach the essentials of clinical research to young trainees and junior faculty. "These awards, which incorporate the recommendations of the NIH Director's Clinical Research Panel* , will address a clear and pressing need in clinical research training and career development," said Harold Varmus, Director of NIH.

In recent years, medical researchers have seen tremendous progress in their ability to understand the fundamental biological processes that underlie diseases. Clinical investigators serve as the bridge that joins such fundamental research to patients and, ultimately, to improved public health. For some time, there has been widespread concern about the shortage of clinical investigators who can design, conduct, and report such patient-oriented studies. The new career development awards, part of a class known as K awards, were developed after NIH conducted an intensive analysis of existing grant opportunities and unmet needs, and listened to various outside advisors.

These core awards will be used by every NIH Institute. They will serve as important additions to the NIH's strategies to enhance and expand clinical research training and career development. "NIH is committed to addressing this need, and fully expects that the future of medical research can be changed by the programs we are initiating in the near future," said Harold Varmus.

Details will be available in the April 6, 1998, NIH Guide Notice. On that date, more information will also be available from the web site of the Office of Extramural Research at (

*The full text of the NIH Director's Panel on Clinical Research report is available via the Internet at (