NIH Pain Consortium: Grant Mechanism Webinar Series

The webinars will occur on the 2nd Thursday of the month 3:00-4:15pm ET. 

The goal of the series is to inform the pain research community of funding opportunities and other resources provided by the NIH.


Title Date
Clinical Mentoring Grants April 8, 2021
Pre-Clinical and Translational Grants May 13, 2021
Early Career Grants June 10, 2021
Institutional Training Grants July 8, 2021
ESI, NI, and Established Investigators August 12, 2021
Technology Development/ Therapeutic Development September 9. 2021
Clinical Phased Mechanisms October 14, 2021
NIH Staff roles in the process and high-level overview of before and after grant submission December 9, 2021
Preparing/writing the application/submitting the grant January 13, 2022
How to build a budget February 10, 2022


View previous Webinars:

April 8, 2021 - Clinical Mentoring Grants


Question and Answer Summary: April 8, 2021, Webinar 1: Clinical Mentoring Grants


Q: Which Institutes participate in the K24 award program?
A: Information about participating Institutes and their specific requirements can be found here:


Q: Must I apply for a K01 grant within a certain timeframe after completing my terminal degree?
A: Generally, the timeframe is less important than whether you have an independent grant, which would disqualify you for a K01 award. Check with the Program Officer at the Institute or Center where you submit your application.

Q: I was previously funded by a K23 award. Am I eligible for a K24 award?
A: Yes, some K24-funded investigators were previously funded by a K23 award, but it is not a requirement. The K24 award is intended for investigators who wish to mentor clinician scientists.

Q: I was previously funded by an institutional K12 award. Am I still eligible for a K01 award?
A: Typically, you can be funded by an early career development award for a total of five years across the K12 and K01. Your K01 application should explain your need for additional mentoring time after completing the K12.

Q: Can I apply for a K23 grant while in residency?
A: You can submit your application during residency, but your clinical training must be complete before you begin work under the career development award.

Q: I’m a post-doc. Am I eligible for a K award?
A: Typically, you must hold a full-time faculty position and receive a letter of support from your institution to receive a K award. You can apply for a K award during your post-doc, but for most Institutes and Centers, you cannot receive an award until you have completed your post-doc. However, the K99R00 is intended for post-docs.

Q: I completed my residency or post-doc in the United States but am originally from and was otherwise trained in another country. Am I eligible for a K23 or K24 award?
A: You must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident to be eligible for a K23 or K24 award. Check the specific Funding Opportunity Announcement to confirm that you meet the residency or citizenship requirements.


Q: How many publications make me competitive for a K01 award?
A: This answer depends on the field and specific Institute or Center to which you will submit your application. Speak with the Program Officer about the typical number of publications for K01 applicants at their Institute or Center.

Q: How many first author publications should I have to make me competitive for a K award?
A: This varies by field of research, but most K01/K23 applicants have some first author publications.

Q: Does NIH plan to prioritize pain researchers under career development mechanisms?
A: This answer is very dependent on the specific Institute and Center to which you will submit your application. There is no NIH-wide prioritization for pain researchers.

Q: How much funding must I have to be competitive for a K24 award?
A: This answer depends on the specific Institute or Center, but you must be able to show that you have the funding necessary to conduct research and mentor future clinician scientists. Some Institutes and Centers require applicants to hold an R01 or comparable award.

Q: I earned a PhD in an indirectly related field that normally does not perform clinical trials. Could I still successfully apply for a K01 award (clinical trial required)?
A: The reviewers generally favor multidisciplinary teams with relevant expertise, so teams may include intervention specialists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and more. A large interdisciplinary team may compensate for less than sufficient relevant expertise. Speak with the Program Officer at the Institute or Center to which you will submit your application to determine the range of fields of funded researchers doing clinical trials.

Q: Will NIH fund K awards from midcareer investigators who want to learn new research skills to expand their line of research?
A: The focus of the K24 award is on the applicant mentoring the next generation of clinician scientists. Some Institute or Centers may use the K01 award to expand research to a new field, but most do not. Speak with the Program Officer at the Institute or Center to which you will submit your application.


Q: I want to work with a new mentor to gain training and skills in a new area, but we don’t have a prior collaboration or relationship. How should we present that information?
A: A mix of mentors with whom you have and have not worked is often helpful. The letter of support from the new mentor should be especially strong and clearly describe how you will work together. If you have served on committees together or worked together on other activities, that information should also be mentioned. Speak with the Program Officer at the specific Institute or Center to which you will submit your application.

Q: I recently completed my PhD, and my dissertation chair retired. How can I identify new mentors?
A: We recommend that you start with other faculty members in your department, your PhD advisory committee, your collaborators, and anyone involved with a CTSA program or mentoring group if your institution has one. Good candidates are people with a good funding record and with whom you might want to work.


Q: Once I receive a K01 award, which other funding mechanisms can I apply for?
A: You will be eligible for most awards except for another career development award or an earlier career award, such as a post-doc specific grant. You can speak with a Program Officer about other opportunities when you have your K01 award.

Q: Does NIH require or encourage that the candidate change institutions when transitioning from the K99 to R00 phase of the award?
A: Each Institute and Center has different answers to this question. Speak with the Program Officer for your K99 award.

HEAL Initiative

Q: Do NIH or the HEAL Initiative provide training or other resources to researchers develop skills in recruitment or retention strategies and patient engagement among diverse groups? I would like to include this information in my grant application.
A: The HEAL Initiative has held multiple webinars and workshops on recruitment and retention strategies in pain and opioid use disorder patient populations. They are or will be available on the HEAL Initiative’s website.

Q: Does the HEAL Initiative offer any specific programs for early-stage investigators?
A: No, not currently. The HEAL Initiative posts funding opportunities in a timely manner, so you should regularly check for Funding Opportunity Announcements.

Q: How can I learn which research projects have been funded by the HEAL Initiative?
A: Under “Funding” on the Initiative’s website, you can find details on every grant awarded. See here:


May 13, 2021 - Pre-Clinical and Translational Grants


Question and Answer Summary: May 13, 2021, Webinar 2: Pre-Clinical and Translational Grants


Q: What is the most useful general tip I should keep in mind?
A: Your mentors are successful in part because they have garnered communications and relationships with Program Officers over years. Always contact Program Officers and build those relationships.

F series

Q: Should only first-author publications be included in the biosketch for an F series application?
A: No. Your biosketch can include publications for which you are a contributing author or first author.

Q: How important is it to provide preliminary data in the approach section for a predoctoral application?
A: Expectations for preliminary data are lower for predoctoral applications than for postdoctoral applications, and preliminary data are never required for a fellowship application. In general, preliminary data are used strategically to support the feasibility of a novel technique or a concept that is not widely available in the literature. You may not know whether your reviewers want preliminary data until you receive a summary statement requesting those data. Reviewers want to learn about your approach to the science so the Research Strategy section—which is limited to six pages—should not be filled with preliminary data.

Q: I’m an MD/PhD student interested in studying basic pain mechanisms. Can I apply for an F series award from NINDS or NIDCR?
A: Neither NIDCR nor NINDS support the F30 dual degree individual fellowship, but an applicant could apply for an F31 award to support the PhD portion of their training. Different Institutes have different eligibility requirements, and you are welcome to contact Program Officers with an abstract and specific aims. Program Officers will direct you to the best fit.

Q: Should I use a specific format to respond to critiques on an F31 submission (e.g., a single page with bullet points describing edits made based on critiques)?
A: No, there is no specific format. Your response should be respectful and at most one page long. The types of critiques you receive will determine your approach to the response; for example, you might address varying concerns from a specific reviewer or critiques raised by all three reviewers. If you notice a poor score for a particular category, you should focus your response on that one. You are encouraged to write to the Program Officer to discuss the summary statement upon receiving it.

Q: I am a predoctoral candidate in the process of getting published. Should I state in my application that I have papers in the process of submission?
A: Yes. You cannot cite those papers unless they are available as preprints, but they should be mentioned in your personal statement, career development plan, or training plan.

Q: Is the F99/K00 meant to support an applicant in the same lab over the course of the pre- and postdoctoral training period? Is it possible to change laboratories during the transition?
A: It is both possible and strongly encouraged. In fact, most FOAs on the topic state that you must move to a new lab and often to a new institution. When applying, you do not need to identify a postdoctoral mentor, but you should plan a general research direction.

Q: Are the study sections for peer review the same for F awards as typical R01 awards?
A: No, they are not the same study sections.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the type of study I can propose for an F series award?
A: Yes. Freestanding clinical trials cannot be funded by an F series award. NICCH further prohibits any freestanding clinical study, so any applicant planning to work with human subjects needs to define that project within the context of a sponsor’s ongoing work or needs to be conducting secondary data analysis on a completed trial.

Q: Can I be considered for an F series award at more than one Institute?
A: You are strongly encouraged to use the optional assignment request form to identify your top choice and secondary choices for Institutes to review your work. However, CSR will make the final decision on where to send your application, and an Institute that believes an application is not a good fit will send it to secondary Institutes for consideration. In addition, you are strongly encouraged to speak with program staff before submission, because they might be able to direct you in the best direction.

Q: How should I choose the Institute to which I submit my application?
A: First, write your abstract identifying the gap in knowledge, what has been studied, and what you propose to do. Use the NIH Matchmaker ( for initial guidance on which Institute to apply to and under which mechanism. Then contact that Program Officer. You cannot know the current priority areas for a given Institute without asking, and it is in your best interest to speak with Program Officers before applying.  They can direct you to a better fit if the Matchmaker misdirects you.

Q: How should I approach research applications for diversity awards?
A: First, confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements described in the FOA. If you apply for an F31 Diversity award, your sponsoring institution will need to provide a “description of the candidate’s contribution to the program goals.”  Otherwise, most recommendations for other F series awards will apply to Diversity awards. Please refer to the table in this link for Institute-specific F31 Diversity application eligibility, requirements, and contacts:

Q: Can non-U.S. citizens apply for an F series award?
A: Most funding mechanisms are reserved for citizens, non-citizen U.S. nationals, or U.S. permanent residents. However, you can apply while permanent residency is pending if you are confident that you will receive your Green card within 1 year. Other mechanisms may have different eligibility requirements, and you are encouraged to check individual FOAs.


Q: When will last year’s LRP contract applicants know the status of their application?
A: Awardees will be notified starting at the end of July. If you pass the first round of selections, you will be asked to provide information about student loan debt. Please gather that information ahead of time to accelerate your response.

Q: Is the LRP available for postdoctoral researchers only or is it open to predoctoral students as well?
A: Individuals are eligible to apply for and receive the LRP award after receipt of their doctoral level degree is conferred. However, as an example, if you will graduate in December, you can still apply during the September to November cycle because awards are not finalized until July 1.

Q: I am a postdoc currently funded by a T32. Can I apply for an LRP?
A: Yes, you are eligible to apply for an LRP.

Q: Can I be considered for an LRP award at more than one Institute?
A: When you apply for an LRP, you can select primary and secondary Institutes that you would like to review your application. If the primary Institute initially identified by CSR determines that your proposed project does not align with its current priorities, it will send your application to the secondary Institutes.

Q: Can I renew for a second year of LRP if I am also awarded a career development/K award that same year?
A: Yes. The two are not interdependent, and you are expected to apply for other funding opportunities after receiving an LRP. Because the LRP will not provide resources or funding for your research or salary, you are allowed to use the same project to apply for each. Also, please mention that you were able to secure additional research funding in subsequent applications.



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