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Increasing Access to the National Institutes of Health Career Development Awards for Interventional Radiologists

      The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is comprised of 27 institutes and centers (ICs) of which 24 award grants. In 2018, the NIH was appropriated a budget of $36.6 billion, of which around $23 billion (62.8%) were used for funding extramural research grants (

      NIH data book - NIH budget history. Accessed February 26, 2022. Available at: https://report.nih.gov/nihdatabook/category/1

      ). Most of the ICs have career development (K) award programs that provide support to early-career scientists and physicians who are interested in developing independent research careers. The mentored clinical scientist research career development award (K08) provides support along with protected time to non-tenured junior faculty level clinician-scientists who want intensive, mentored research career development. Usually, candidates applying for this award are required to devote nine person-months annually (75% dedicated effort) to the K08 award while maintaining an active clinical practice. However, among academic radiologists, as members of a procedural specialty, interventional radiologists (IRs) struggle to maintain clinical and procedural skills while working clinically at only 25% effort (
      • Franceschi AM
      • Rosenkrantz AB.
      Patterns of recent national institutes of health (NIH) funding to diagnostic radiology departments.
      ). Time required to maintain a full-time IR practice includes seeing patients in clinic, performing procedures, pre- and post-procedural patient management, participating in multi-disciplinary rounds, teaching, performing administrative duties and adhering to regulatory requirements, thus, IRs cannot realistically commit 75% of their time to research. Additionally, the 75% dedicated effort puts a financial burden on the departments of these interventionalists which makes many institutions unwilling to support these awards. Currently, a number of NIH ICs allow surgeon-scientists to apply for the K08 award at a reduced effort of six person-months (50% dedicated effort) on a case-by-case basis after the assessment of their justification of reduced effort, career plan, and institutional support (

      Updated NCI guidance concerning the mentored clinical scientist research career development award: percent effort of surgeon-scientists for K08 awards from NCI. Available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-21-054.html. Accessed February 26, 2022.

      ). In recent years, reduced effort to apply for K awards has been approved for surgeons by the NCI and for specialties like vascular surgery and interventional cardiology by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (

      Updated NCI guidance concerning the mentored clinical scientist research career development award: percent effort of surgeon-scientists for K08 awards from NCI. Available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-21-054.html. Accessed February 26, 2022.

      ,

      NOT-HL-21-003: Updated NHLBI guidance concerning mentored career development (K08 and K23) awards: percent effort. Accessed March 4, 2022. Available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HL-21-003.html

      ). To assess the eligibility of IRs for this exception, we sought guidance and clarification from key NIH institutes and centers (ICs).
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      References

      1. NIH data book - NIH budget history. Accessed February 26, 2022. Available at: https://report.nih.gov/nihdatabook/category/1

        • Franceschi AM
        • Rosenkrantz AB.
        Patterns of recent national institutes of health (NIH) funding to diagnostic radiology departments.
        Acad Radiol. 2017; 24: 1162-1168https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2017.02.018
      2. Updated NCI guidance concerning the mentored clinical scientist research career development award: percent effort of surgeon-scientists for K08 awards from NCI. Available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-21-054.html. Accessed February 26, 2022.

      3. NOT-HL-21-003: Updated NHLBI guidance concerning mentored career development (K08 and K23) awards: percent effort. Accessed March 4, 2022. Available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HL-21-003.html

      4. National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Training. Outcome Evaluation of the NCI Career Development (K) Awards Program. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/grants-training/training/funding/kaward-report/full-kaward-report.pdf. Accessed February 26, 2022.