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Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Program

Eligible applicants must have a tenured-track faculty position, apply to the program before or during their first faculty year, and must have a commitment from their department chair to provide five years of at least 50% protected time for research.

The award includes $100,000 in salary support and $50,000 for supplies per year.  Indirect rate (8%) is allowed. Applications are due October 3, 2022. Award notifications will be made in January, 2023. Applicants must attend the NRCDP retreat held November 11-13, 2022. Due to the ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic, virtual participation option will be provided. However, all applicants are expected to attend the retreat.

Candidates who are awarded the NRCDP (K12) grant are expected to attend the NRCDP retreat during the two years of K12 funding plus the 3 years immediately following K12 funding (i.e. for 5 consecutive years) to provide updates to their research progress, receive continued mentoring from senior neurosurgeon-investigators and NIH personnel, and provide advice, insights and mentorship to future NRCDP applicants and award recipients.


  • Eligible candidates are junior neurosurgical faculty within one year of finishing residency or fellowship
  • Only one application is allowed per person (whether as fellow or faculty)
  • Applications should be submitted here
  • Questions should be sent to

Format for Applications

  • Please follow standard NIH guidelines in preparing application for a K award – 11-point Arial font, 0.5-inch margins, and standard spacing, so that the applications are legible
  • Please prepare separate Adobe PDF files and upload them individually on the application form

Required Elements (Deadline: October 3, 2022)

  • Cover Letter
  • Specific Aims: 1 page
  • 12 page application covering:
    • Significance
    • Innovation
    • Approach
    • Mentoring and Career Development plan
  • Letter of support from Chair
    • This signed letter must include a commitment from the applicant’s Department Chair that the scholar will have at least 50% protected time for five years from the start of NRCDP funding. This protected time must consist of a full 2.5 days during the Monday through Friday workweek and must continue even if there is a gap in funding after the 2nd year of NRCDP funding, as long as the NRCDP scholar is committed to pursuing his/her research program. The applicant’s non-research responsibilities should be explicitly specified (e.g. 1 day = 20% of weekly effort, 1 month = 8% of yearly effort, significant on-call responsibilities is not protected time for research (on call responsibilities should be explicitly stated).
    • This signed letter must also include a commitment from the applicant’s department chair that the scholar will have the necessary resources (lab space and equipment for example) to carry out the proposed work [note that the applicant must have access to dedicated space, but this space can be in the mentor’s laboratory when appropriate].
    • This signed letter should also indicate any startup package or any other financial resources for research provide to the applicant.
  • Letter from the candidate’s Research Mentor(s) to include the following:
    • The candidate’s qualifications to conduct the proposed research
    • The mentor’s qualifications to guide the research, including, if relevant, any research resources that will be provided by the mentor.
    • The mentorship plan. This should include a description of how the mentor will guide the candidate both with regard to research progress and research career development. In addition, the mentor should comment on who will provide guidance for career development with regard to navigating a dual career as clinician and research scientist, and how this guidance will be provided.
  • NIH biosketch from the applicant and mentor
  • References (at least two letters)
  • Budget justification
    • The candidate should explain, in very broad terms, the anticipated cost of the project. If costs are anticipated to exceed the $50,000 per year provided by the K12 award, the candidate should state where the additional funding will come from and the individual providing the funding should confirm in the relevant part of the application (e.g Chair letter if coming from the Chair, mentor letter if coming from the mentor, etc.) that the funding for this candidate needed to do the proposed work will be provided.