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2024 Call for Applications



The Pre-K Program is a 2-year interactive program designed to equip junior faculty with the knowledge and competencies to effectively apply for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Career Development Award (K Award). An additional goal is to positively impact the diversity of UConn affiliated researchers applying for K Awards and create a culture that supports this goal.

The Pre-K Junior Faculty Career Development Award Program curriculum assists faculty in developing a strong NIH K Award application by focusing on identifying mentors, writing specific aims, developing a research plan, determining career development needs, obtaining letters of recommendation and institutional support, and general grantsmanship. The program is open to all faculty members at UConn Health/UConn or affiliated institutions with the rank of Assistant Professor. Successful applicants are awarded 30% protected time. For UConn Health/UConn faculty, 0.15 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) (15%) salary support is provided by The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the remaining 0.15 FTE (15%) salary support by the applicant’s department. UConn Health/UConn faculty are also eligible to receive funds to support travel to a national mentorship conference provided by The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering.

Faculty at affiliated institutions (e.g., Connecticut Children’s, The Institute of Living, and JAX) should apply only if their respective institution will cover 30% of their protected time and related travel costs.



  • Two-year commitment to the Pre-K program (Fall 2024-Spring 2026)
  • Commit to devoting 30 percent of full-time professional effort to the program with approval from applicant’s department chair/head.
  • Attend bi-weekly 90-minute program sessions (virtually hosted on Thursday mornings, schedule TBD).
  • Identify a multidisciplinary mentorship team with extensive clinical, translational, or basic research experience; one of the members of whom is willing to serve as the primary mentor for the applicant’s K Award application.
  • Prepare materials (such as specific aims, manuscript drafts, responses to review, etc.) in advance of Pre-K scheduled meetings, as specified in the syllabus.
  • Submit an NIH K award application within the first year of the program (by June 2025).



All applicants must:

  1. Possess a doctoral-level degree in a health discipline that can be applied to clinical, translational, or basic research. These degrees include, but are not limited to, MD, DO, DMD, DDS, DPH, PharmD, as well as PhD in clinically relevant fields, such as biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioral science, social work, biomedical engineering, or nursing;
  2. Be a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible;
  3. Hold a junior faculty appointment at time of application at UConn Health/UConn or an affiliated institution. For applicants from UConn Health/UConn, their department will be required to provide 0.15 FTE (15%) salary support. For applicants from a UConn-affiliated institution (e.g., Connecticut Children’s), the applicant’s institution will be required to support the 30% of full-time effort;
  4. Commit to pursuing an academic career in clinical, translational, or basic research; and
  5. Must not have received substantial prior research support as a Principal Investigator from the NIH, such as R01, U01, Center or Mentored Career Development (K) grants, or as project leader on sub-projects of program projects (P01) or center grants (P50), or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grant.

Those with an interest in the field of regeneration through the convergence of research on stem cells, developmental biology, biomaterials, physics, data science, or clinical translation are especially encouraged to apply.

Application Process


Submission Deadline: 5pm on Sunday May 5, 2024

Applicants will submit their application package directly into the application portal.

Application Documents:

  1. NIH Biosketch – Use the most current Biosketch format (Rev. 10/2021 Approved Through 01/31/2026); follow the ‘Instructions for a Biographical Sketch’.
  2. Letters of Support – Please include letters of support from your Department Chair and Primary Mentor. The Department Chair letter must include a commitment to allowing the applicant 30% protected time for the program. The Primary mentor letter must include a commitment to serving as the primary mentor for the following: 1) during the development of the K-award application (i.e., the Pre-K period); and 2) during the K-award funding period if the application is funded.
  3. Research Plan Proposal– Submit a Research Plan Proposal for the project that you envision would be included as part of your K application. The proposal should include Project Title, Specific Aims and Hypotheses, Proposed Methods, and Relevance to Clinical and Translational Research. This plan should be limited to no more than 2 pages, single spaced, Arial11-point font, 1-inch margins exclusive of references.
  4. Pre-K Program Agreement – Please upload a signed PDF program agreement. Access the form by visiting this link: