Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the NIH MOSAIC Program

MOSAIC K99/R00 Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity

The MOSAIC program has three K99/R00 NOFOs:

Not all NIH Institutes and Centers participate in each of these Announcements. Applicants should carefully note which ICs participate in each announcement and view their respective areas of research interest and requirements at the Tables of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts website. ICs that do not participate in this announcement will not consider applications for funding. Consultation with NIH staff before applying is strongly encouraged.

Answers to Questions Cover the Following Topics:

MOSAIC Program Description

The Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) program is part of NIH's efforts to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce, and is designed to facilitate the transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds, for example individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce at the faculty level, into independent, tenure-track or equivalent research-intensive faculty positions.

The program has two components: an institutionally-focused research education cooperative agreement (UE5) and an individual postdoctoral career transition award (K99/R00) to enhance diversity. The objective of the MOSAIC Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00) is to enhance workforce diversity by facilitating a timely transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds (e.g., see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity) from their mentored, postdoctoral research positions (K99 phase) to independent, tenure-track or equivalent research-intensive faculty positions (R00 phase).

MOSAIC K99/R00 Eligibility Information

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria specified in the NOFO can apply. Program priority is to address documented underrepresentation at the faculty level (e.g., see NIH's Notice of Interest in Diversity).

The overarching goal of this program is to enhance the diversity of independent investigators conducting research within the NIH mission. Institutions are strongly encouraged to identify candidates who will enhance diversity on a national basic (e.g., see NIH's Notice of Interest in Diversity).

Additionally, it is widely recognized that scientists from underrepresented groups often assume disproportionate academic service and outreach loads, even during their training, and that these contributions to the research environment are generally not appropriately recognized and rewarded in the measures of career advancement (i.e., "the diversity tax"). The MOSAIC K99/R00 program seeks to support early career scientists with demonstrated and compelling commitments and contributions to enhancing diversity in the biomedical sciences.

Applicants' track record and proposed plans with respect to advancing diversity are assessed as part of the review process. Candidates who describe an aspirational commitment to diversity, but who don't have a track record of demonstrated commitment typically do less well in peer review. This information is provided to applicants so they can decide which mechanism is best for their career goals (e.g., the MOSAIC K99 or Parent K99).

No. One difference from the Parent K99/R00 Announcement is that MOSAIC awards are limited to US citizens and permanent residents. From the NOFO: “By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status).”

No. DACA recipients are not eligible for the MOSAIC K99, as DACA does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. For NOFOs that do not have a citizenship requirement, such as the parent K99, DACA recipients would be eligible to apply.

Generally, the 4-year period begins when an applicant has completed all requirements to satisfy their doctoral degree (e.g., completed their dissertation defense).

Time spent in a Ph.D. advisor's lab as a postdoctoral researcher does count toward the 4-year limit.

Yes. Consistent with the NIH Extension Policy for Early Stage Investigator Status (ESI), NIH will approve an extension of one year for childbirth within the 4-year K99 eligibility window. Applicants who will be PD/PIs on a K99 application must provide the child's date of birth in the extension request justification submitted to IC program officials and/or scientific/research contacts listed in the NOFO at least 12 weeks before submitting an application. Please refer to NIH Extension Policy for Eligibility Window for Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00).

Parental, medical, or other well-justified leave for personal or family situations is not included in the 4-year eligibility limit, nor is clinical training with no research involvement (e.g., full-time residency training). Part-time postdoctoral research training, related to personal or family situations or occurring during a research residency or fellowship, will be pro-rated accordingly. In addition, time spent conducting postgraduate clinical training that does not involve research is not considered as part of the 4-year research training eligibility limit. Only time dedicated to research activities counts toward the 4-year limit. Please refer to NIH Extension Policy for Eligibility Window for Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00).

Applicants seeking an extension of the 4-year eligibility window must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 12 weeks before submitting the application.

Generally, it is good to provide information about your training in a table format (date, description, percent effort in lab) to help NIH effectively evaluate the request and the length of the extension. A sample format is below:

DatesDescriptions% Effort in Lab
8/2018 - 2/2020Postdoctoral Research, Full time100%
2/2020 - 8/2020Medical Leave0%
9/2020 - 12/2020Postdoctoral Research, Part Time50%
1/2021 - 10/2021Postdoctoral Research Full Time100%
10/2021 - 1/2022Childbirth and Parental Leave0%
2/2022 - PresentPostdoctoral Research, Full Time100%

NIH no longer provides autmoatic extensions for COVID-19 related training disruptions (for example of previous extensions, see NOT-GM-22-020).

Applicants seeking an extension of the 4-year eligibility window must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 12 weeks before submitting the application.

In a cover letter with the application, the investigator should include an explanation of the special circumstances of their career training that warrants consideration for an exception from the 4-year limit.

MOSAIC K99/R00 - Application/Award Information

Both the MOSAIC K99/R00 award and parent K99/R00 provide up to five years of support in two phases:

  • The initial (K99) phase provides support for up to 2 years of mentored postdoctoral career development.
  • The second (R00) phase provides up to 3 years of independent research support, which is contingent on satisfactory progress during the K99 phase and an approved, independent, tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position.

MOSAIC K99/R00 scholars are part of organized scientific cohorts and participate in mentoring, networking, and professional development activities coordinated by MOSAIC Institutionally-Focused Research Education Award to Promote Diversity (UE5) grantees.

As with all K99/R00 awardees, MOSAIC scholars propose rigorous research and career development activities—and their mentors provide tailored career development plans—as part of their applications. Additionally, MOSAIC scholars have demonstrated compelling commitments and contributions to enhancing diversity, as well as substantive plans to continue these activities as part of their independent research careers.

Per the NOFO, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply no later than the third year of their postdoctoral training to ensure awardees receive maximum benefit from both the K99 phase of the award, and to facilitate a timely transition to independence. However, candidates can apply at any time during their eligibility window, as long as the time frame is well justified.

NIH encourages applicants to apply as early as possible to facilitate their career transitions. Because the program aims to support the career development of scholars early in their postdoctoral training, candidates who have not yet published a first-author manuscript during their postdoctoral training, but whose previous and current studies and future plans are likely to support a successful independent research career are encouraged to apply.

There are many ways to demonstrate productivity before a manuscript is formally published, including preprints which can be included in the biosketch section of applications (see NOT-OD-17-050 on Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products).

The MOSAIC K99 application follows the page limits of other K awards (see: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/format-and-write/page-limits.htm#car). The one exception, the Description of Institutional Environment has a two-page maximum. Applicants should disregard the following warning message "The Description of Institutional Environment attachment on the PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form is limited to 1 page." This NOFO permits 2 pages for this attachment.

Biosketch instructions are available here: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm. ​Please use the Non-Fellowship Biosketch.

Yes, the NIH Data Management and Sharing policy applies to all research that generates scientific data, including, K99 awards.

Be sure to follow all instructions in the SF424 Application Guide, "Other Plans" Section, including addressing all Elements of a Data Management and Sharing Plan.

The current MOSAIC UE5 Awardees and their websites are listed below:

Please consult the webpages to understand the types of activities and time commitment for MOSAIC K99/R00 scholars and their mentors. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include the MOSAIC UE5 activities as part of their Plan for Career Development.

NIH staff (i.e., MOSAIC K99/R00 program officers) assign scholars based on a range of factors including the type of research they are conducting as well as the capacity for the UE5 awardees to serve additional scholars. All UE5 awardees provide comparable and high-quality professional development activities. In the “Candidate’s Plan for Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period” section, MOSAIC K99/R00 applicants should provide a list of up to 10 keywords regarding their scientific area as well as a prioritized list of areas of professional development to aid in matching scholars into scientific and career development cohorts.

Typical UE5 Assignments for MOSAIC K99/R00 Scholars based on scientific disciplines include:

  • American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB): Cell biology, developmental biology, basic neuroscience
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB): Chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology
  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC): Minority health, health disparities, clinically related studies, population health, social and behavioral science, medical technology
  • American Society for Microbiology: Microbiology and immunology

Yes. MOSAIC K99/R00 applications must include:

  • Diversity statement: The application must include a diversity statement from the candidate applying for the K99/R00 award (i.e., the postdoctoral fellow). The Diversity Statement should include a description of the individual's commitment to diversity in the biomedical sciences, and any past or present leadership, mentoring and outreach activities to enhance diversity - especially involving groups underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise (e.g., certain racial/ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, women, and other groups as described in the NIH Notice of Interest in Diversity). Describe planned activities during the career award to develop or enhance skills in working effectively with talented scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds and to promote inclusive and equitable scientific biomedical research environments.
  • Description of Candidate's Contribution to Program Goals: As this is a diversity-related NOFO, applications must include the "Description of Candidate's Contribution to Program Goals" on the Career Development Award Supplemental form. The Description of Candidate's Contribution to Program Goals is distinct from the Diversity Statement in the Other Attachments Section, and it must be signed by an institutional official (in most cases the dean or the chair of the department).
Applications lacking either of these attachments will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

No. The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. An individual may not have two or more competing NIH career development applications pending review concurrently. In addition, NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101)

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria specified in the NOFO can apply. Previous application to the Parent K99/R00 does not impact your ability to apply for the MOSAIC K99/R00 program. Note, as you are applying for a new notice of funding opportunity, this would be considered a new application, not a resubmission (or A1).

Please consult the Tables of IC-Specific Information, Requirements, and Staff Contacts and email the relevant Scientific Contact with a specific aims page and biosketch to assess appropriateness of the proposal.

If you're a postdoc interested in the MOSAIC program, but your research falls within the mission of an NIH Institute that is not participating in the program (i.e., NCI), we encourage you to reach out to Dr. Kenneth Gibbs and Dr. Kalynda Gonzales Stokes to discuss your options.

MOSAIC K99/R00 - Review Information

MOSAIC K99/R00 applications will be reviewed by review panels organized by the Review Branches of participating ICs. Some Institutes and Centers use standing study sections to review their K awards, while others organize special emphasis panels. The name and contact information for the scientific review official (SRO) assigned to each application will be posted in the eRA Commons once the assignment has been made, and any review related questions can be directed to the assigned SRO.

MOSAIC K99/R00 applications use Standard Due Dates. A table summarizing this information is presented below.

Cycle ICycle IICycle III
Application Due DateFebruaryJuneOctober
Scientific Merit ReviewJune/JulyOctober/NovemberFebruary/March
Advisory CouncilSeptemberJanuaryMay
Earliest Start DateDecemberAprilJuly

Yes. The Scientific Review Officers of participating ICs will ensure that reviewers have the relevant expertise to review the application, bearing in mind that MOSAIC is intended to support a broad program of research and the breadth of research areas that are encompassed by the missions of participating ICs.

Rosters will be available 15 days before the study section meeting.

The review criteria are the same (Candidate, Career Development Plan/Career Goals and Objectives, Research Plan, Mentors, Environment & Institutional Commitment). In some cases, the wording has been modified to enhance clarity and ensure the candidate's record is evaluated relative to their years of experience. Additionally, there are review criteria to assess the candidate's, mentor's, and institution's commitment to diversity in the biomedical sciences, and intention to participate in the MOSAIC UE5 activities.

Yes. Appeals are allowed for PARs. For more information on appeals, see NOT-OD-11-064. Before beginning the appeals process, the applicant is strongly advised to speak with the program director responsible for the application. 

The summary statements for MOSAIC applications will be made available to the Advisory Councils of participating Institutes and Centers in the same way as for other applications.

MOSAIC K99/R00 - Post Review Issues

Participating IC will notify applicants when to submit Just-in-Time information. This information will be requested for all applications under consideration for funding, but the request is not meant to imply a guarantee of funding the application.

Each IC will make funding decisions consistent with their priorities and missions.

For NIGMS, staff will carefully consider the study section and advisory council recommendations, including the scores and language in the summary statement, and Just-in-Time information. As with all funding decisions, NIGMS uses a multifactorial process that also considers the breadth of the Institute's research portfolio.

Investigators who contact Program staff will be provided feedback in the usual way on the reviews and their prospects for receiving a MOSAIC K99/R00 award. As always, staff cannot make any definitive statements until the plan to make an award is approved at an appropriate level. The Notice of Award is the only official notice of a government commitment to fund an NIH award.

MOSAIC K99/R00 - R00 Transition

To activate the independent phase of the grant, individuals must have:

  • Been offered and accepted a tenure-track, full-time assistant professor position (or equivalent) by the end of the K99 project period.
  • Made adequate progress in the K99 phase.

Note: Transition from the mentored phase to the independent phase is intended to be continuous in time and, except in unusual, extenuating circumstances, the awarding NIH Institute/Center will not extend the K99 phase beyond the 2-year limit. ICs may, at their discretion, make exceptions to this time limitation when individuals have been invited for faculty job interviews but final decisions have not yet been made by the potential R00 institution or, rarely, because of unusual, extenuating circumstances.

Each participating NIH Institute and Center has its own process. Contact the program officer and grants management official for the K99 award to discuss the transition process and timeline. General instructions are found in "Section VI. Award Administration Information" of the MOSAIC K99/R00 Notice of Funding Opportunity (see "Transition to the Independent Phase").

Candidates are required to devote no less than 75% of their full-time, 12-month professional effort to research (i.e., full-time for 9 person-months). That said, the required 9 person-months of research effort need not be devoted exclusively to the R00-supported research. Per the NOFO, the sponsoring institution must document that protected research time will be guaranteed (minimum of 9 person-months or 75% of the candidate's full time professional effort) at least for the duration of the R00 award.

The total cost for the R00 may not exceed $249,000 per year. This amount includes salary, fringe benefits, research costs, and applicable indirect costs. Indirect costs vary by institution and will impact the direct costs drawn from the grant.

Example:
If the indirect cost rate is 50%, then the maximum direct costs are $166,000.

$249,000 (Total Costs) = $166,000 (Direct Costs) + $83,000 (Indirect costs, or 50% of the direct costs)

MOSAIC UE5 Program - General Questions

Yes. Per NOT-GM-23-005, higher education institutions are eligible to apply. Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education (e.g., scientific societies) remain eligible to apply.

Applications are encouraged from organizations (1) composed of biomedical researchers (e.g., scientific societies, academic institutions) capable of providing skills development, mentoring and networking to MOSAIC K99/R00 scholars conducting research in the areas of program need specified in the Notice of Special Interest, and that include individuals with active research project grants in these areas of program need (see NIH RePORTER); (2) with experience serving as a centralized entity to enhance scientific communication and networking among scientists conducting research; (3) with an established record of providing professional development and networking activities for the next generation of biomedical researchers; (4) with a demonstrated commitment to enhancing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce, for example, individuals from underrepresented groups; and (5) with the resources to support the proposed program, e.g., the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational capacity.

Awardee organizations must provide career development and mentoring activities aligned with and appropriate for the disciplinary backgrounds of scholars supported through the MOSAIC K99/R00 program. Areas of programmatic need will be indicated through Notices of Special interest (NOSIs) released annually by NIH. Applications that do not address the program areas of need specified in the NOSI will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed.

Applicants must be able to provide well-designed and appropriate mentoring, skills building, networking and professional development in one or more of the following scientific areas of program priority:

  • Neuroscience related to basic, clinical and translational research, mental health and addiction.
  • Basic, clinical and translational physiology and pathophysiology of multiple human organ systems.
  • Population health studies, including health promotion, minority health and health disparities.

For more, see NOSI for the November 2023 receipt date is NOT-GM-23-004.

Yes. Multiple organizations can partner for a MOSAIC UE5 application, with one organization serving as Primary Performance Site Location. If multiple organizations partner for an UE5 application, follow all instructions for Consortium/Contractual Arrangements in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.