National Institutes of Health Career Development (K) Awards to Young Surgeons: An Academic Milestone or One-hit Wonder?


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

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Awards and Prizes, Biomedical Research, Career Choice, Female, Humans, Male, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), Research Support as Topic, Specialties, Surgical, Surgeons, United States


Medical Education | Surgery


OBJECTIVE: To assess contemporary trends in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Career Development (K) Awards within the Departments of Surgery and its impact on the likelihood of achieving independent R01 grants.

BACKGROUND: The NIH provides K-type Career Development Awards to nurture young clinicians toward a productive academic career, thereby maintaining a pipeline of physician-scientists. However, the impact of K awards on career trajectory of surgeons remains unclear.

METHODS: The NIH grant data was queried for all new K08/K23 grants awarded to Departments of Surgery (1999-2019). Principal Investigators' data and grant-related information was obtained.

RESULTS: The NIH awarded 298 K08/23 surgical grants ($41,893,170) over the last 2 decades. Median budget increased from $116,370 to $167,508 (P

CONCLUSION: Although the majority of K awardees maintain an academic career, only a limited number of grantees progress to obtain NIH R01 funding. Increased mentorship, financial support, and infrastructure are needed to facilitate career development awardees opportunities to enhance their ability to achieve independent funding.

Publisher or Conference

Annals of Surgery