Programmatic Expectations for KL2 Scholars and Mentors

We are pleased that you continue to be interested in our KL2 program and remain available to answer any questions that you may have. As you prepare your application we feel it’s important that you have full understanding of the commitment that you, your mentor, and your department will be making as part of your participation in the KL2 program. Unlike individual K awards or other types of awards, the KL2 program is an institutional research and career development program. As such there is mandatory participation in our programmatic activities designed to accelerate your transition to independent R01 funding. Participation in each of the activities below is mandatory whereas participation in the CTSI Special Seminars is strongly encouraged.

KL2 Training Day (KL2 Seminar)

The Training Day will be held usually on the first Monday of the month year-round from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day consists of a seminar, career development activities, lectures and peer to peer presentations and mentoring activities. The location alternates between the University Park and Hershey campuses. Teleconferencing is not done for the following reasons. We have found that there are added benefits to face-to-face interaction including development of collaborations between scholars including joint grant submissions and publications as well as increased opportunities for networking and sharing best practices. The expectation is that all scholars will attend each training day and scholar’s individual schedules should be optimized to permit this. We understand that there may be special situations that arise that should be discussed with the KL2 program directors in advance of the seminar if there is a reason that attendance isn’t possible.

Mentor Memorandum of Understanding

It is common practice among CTSAs for KL2 scholars and their mentors to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that serves as an agreement on the part of mentor and mentee to follow best practices for mentoring relationships. A sample memorandum is available for use.

Mentor Workshop

Optimal mentoring is key to the success in the transition of junior faculty from K to R01 funding. We require that the primary mentors for each KL2 scholar participate in our Best Practices in Mentoring Workshop that consists of completion of some online case studies (takes approximately 2 hours to complete) and a face-to-face two-hour workshop. Mentors must participate in the workshop during your first year in the KL2. The workshop is offered on both the Hershey and UP campuses.

KL2 Scholar Mentoring Experience

The CTSI seeks to increase the scientific and racial/ethnic diversity of present and future clinical and translational scientists. KL2 scholars will be asked to attend a session to interact with students in Penn State’s summer programs for undergraduates, such as the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), McNair Scholars, Upward Bound Math and Science Program, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), etc.

CTSI Mentoring and Career Development Advisory Panel (MCDAP)

With our recognition of the importance of mentoring and networking, each KL2 scholar will be assigned a CTSI MCDAP mentor who is a senior faculty member. The MCDAP mentor serves as a resource to help address issues that could arise with regard to your mentoring. The KL2 scholar can provide input on the selection of their MCDAP mentor. The panel of MCDAP mentors also evaluates the progress of our KL2 scholars twice a year.

Individualized Development Plan (IDP)

As part of the ongoing review process, KL2 scholars will be required to work with their mentors to develop their Individualized Development Plan which states their short and long term goals and the milestones needed to achieve them. A sample IDP will be provided.

KL2 Progress Reporting

KL2 scholars are required to complete a progress report every six months and yearly following completion of the program. Progress reports are reviewed by the scholar’s primary mentor, MCDAP mentor and the MCDAP panel. In addition a very short summary of the progress report is sent to the NIH each year.

All KL2 scholars are required to have training in the responsible conduct for research. The mechanisms by which this may be achieved are outlined here.

CTSI External Advisory Board Meeting

Each year, generally in the fall, the CTSI’s external advisory board (EAB) and often our NIH Program Officer meets with the leadership, members and KL2 and TL1 scholars within Penn State’s CTSI. Scholar attendance is required at this meeting and select scholars may be asked to give a brief presentation on their research. In addition there may be an additional one or two mandatory CTSI programmatic activity each year.

CTSI Special Seminars (Strongly encouraged)

The CTSI offers a series of seminars to optimize your training and scholars should make efforts to take advantage of these opportunities. These include the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) seminar series covering special topics in biostatistics, epidemiology and research design and the Bench to Bedside and Beyond (B3) seminar series that is held monthly and consists of a didactic lecture and a separate 1 hour workshop later that same week.