The VCU KL2 program is supported by the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award and administered through the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Through the award, the Wright Center provides early-career researchers with dedicated time to help their findings benefit human health more quickly, while becoming successful, independent translational scientists. We engage with a diverse pool of faculty mentors and mentees across a range of disciplines to approach science through a “disease-agnostic” translational lens. This dynamic and responsive program is unlike any other at VCU and is a benefit we provide to researchers as the only academic health center in Virginia to receive a Clinical and Translational Science Award.

Meet our current KL2 Scholars

KL2 Scholar Alumni

KL2 Program

There is a national need to increase the clinical and translational research workforce, and to prepare our future research leaders to address existing health care challenges along with the challenges yet to come. VCU is committed to building the commonwealth’s research capacity to meet the health care needs of tomorrow. A key step in this process is providing early-career investigators with the skill sets required to translate their research discoveries into clinical treatments. The KL2 program has been a promoter of such training and is the pinnacle program of a university-wide research capacity-building workforce development plan. The need for training in translational science, the demand for such training, and the availability of a rich environment at VCU to provide such training form the rationale for the Wright Center KL2 program.


The KL2 program has completed enrollment for the current awards cycle.

Program Outline

Clinical Research KL2 Scholars are recruited from a robust and diverse pool of junior faculty within the translational workforce development pipeline at VCU, which includes a number of feeder programs such as T32 programs and the university’s Rising and Emerging Scholar programs. During the three year award, KL2 scholars have 75 percent protected time to pursue a mix of:

  • Required and elective coursework
  • Workshops (community-engaged research, informatics, team science, etc.)
  • Innovative externships
  • Grant writing and review opportunities
  • Hands-on research, including managing finances, presentations/publications and team science,
    designed to lead to research independence


Specific competencies, milestones and timelines will be established, monitored, and facilitated by an individual development plan that includes career and content mentorship to support development of skills needed to:

  • Establish and manage research teams
  • Identify funding sources
  • Write grant applications that are tailored to funding opportunity announcements
  • Maximize professional development 

Minimum qualifications to apply:

Full-time faculty position (current or offered for external candidates) in one of the schools or colleges at VCU, or partnering institutions, and possession of a terminal degree.

  • Candidates with M.D., D.O., D.D.S., Pharm.D., or Ph.D. at the assistant professor rank.
  • An ongoing program of research with an established mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Support is provided for a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years of consecutive funding
     for each scholar, consisting of 12-month appointments.
  • At the time of their appointments, scholars must NOT have pending an application for any other PHS
    mentored career development award (K07, K08, K22, K23, etc.) that duplicates any of the provisions of
     the K component.
  • Former or current PDs/PIs on any NIH research project grant (this does not include NIH small grants
    (R03), exploratory developmental (R21) or SBIR, STTR (R43, R44 grants)) or equivalent non-PHS peer-
    reviewed grants that are over $100,000 direct costs per year, or project leaders on sub-projects of
     program project (P01) or center grants (P50), are NOT eligible to participate as scholars.
  • Appointed scholars are encouraged to apply for individual mentored K awards (K07, K08, K22, K23,
    etc.) and independent awards (R01, R03, R21); if successful, the KL2 appointment would be terminated
     and funding would be received from the new individual K or R award.
  • In keeping with the type of mentoring and career development being provided by the CTSA, a Clinical
    Research KL2 Scholar candidate who is already in the process of applying for an independent
     mentored career development grant, a P01 grant, or R01 grant is likely too senior for the KL2 award.
  • Scholars in the last two years of their appointment period may reduce effort on the mentored career
    award to a minimum of six-person months and hold concurrent support from their mentored career
     award and a competing PHS research grant on which they are the PD/PI or component lead.
  • Are eligible for NIH career development and research awards (i.e., U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and permanent residents)

To apply

The current KL2 Program awards cycle is complete. Please check back for information on the next awards cycle.  

Selection Process

Clinical Research KL2 Scholars are selected by a panel of Wright Center faculty members and will be based upon the potential impact of the candidate’s competitiveness and career development goals and objectives.


Please direct questions about the application process to:
Rob DiRenzo, M.S.
Faculty Professional Development Manager
Phone: 804-628-9395
Email: direnzor@vcu.edu

Cite & Submit: UL1TR002649

Publications supported by the Wright Center must cite the CTSA Grant number (UL1TR002649) and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. We rely on these citations as a critical performance measure when reporting annual productivity to the NIH.

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