Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the NIH MOSAIC Program

Applicants interested in the MOSAIC K99/R00 Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote diversity are encouraged to consult the Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements, and Staff Contacts and email the relevant Scientific/Research Contact with a specific aims page and biosketch to assess appropriateness of the proposal.

Answers to Questions Cover the Following Topics:

MOSAIC Program Description

What is the MOSAIC Program?

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 faculty careers in research-intensive institutions.

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 faculty positions (R00 phase) at research-intensive institutions.

MOSAIC K99/R00 Eligibility Information

Am I eligible to apply for MOSAIC?

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

Are individuals who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents eligible for support through the MOSAIC K99/R00 program?

No. One difference from the Parent K99/R00 Announcement is that MOSAIC awards are limited to US citizens and permanent residents. From the FOA: “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).”

When does the clock start for the 4-year limit?

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

I worked in my Ph.D. thesis advisor’s lab for a year as a postdoc before starting my “real” postdoc. Does this time count in the 4-year limit?

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

I gave birth during the 4-year window. Am I eligible for an extension?

Yes. NIH will approve an extension of one year for childbirth within the 4 year K99 eligibility window. For more, see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-011.html.

Are extensions available for other events?

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 clinical 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 would count toward the 4-year limit.

Per NOT-OD-20-011, NIH will approve an extension of one year for childbirth within the 4 year K99 eligibility window. NIH will consider extensions of the 4-year eligibility window for life events (e.g., adoption, military service, health-related issues, natural disasters) that impact research progress during the 4-year eligibility window. Applicants seeking an extension of the 4-year eligibility window must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 8 weeks before submitting the application.

What information should I provide to a program officer when discussing the possibility of an extension of eligibility?

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
8/2016 – 2/2018Postdoctoral Research, Full time100%
2/2018 – 8/2018Medical Leave0%
9/2018 – 12/2018Postdoctoral Research, Part Time50%
1/2019 – 10/2019Postdoctoral Research Full Time100%
10/2019 – 1/2020Childbirth and Parental Leave0%
2/2020 - PresentPostdoctoral Research, Full Time100%

Does NIH consider extensions in eligibility due to COVID-19 related disruptions?

Yes. Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIH will provide up to a two-receipt date cycle extension of eligibility (roughly eight additional months) for prospective applicants meeting the requirements for submission of a K99/R00 application from the time period covered by the June/July 2020 due dates through the February/March 2021 due dates (see NOT-GM-20-051).

NIH will extend the two-receipt cycle extension (roughly eight additional months) of eligibility for prospective, eligible candidates for a MOSAIC K99/R00 application. Individuals whose final due date eligibility based on a 48-month eligibility window was either the June/July 2021 or October/November 2021 will have a 2 cycle extension of eligibility (to February/March 2022 and June/July, 2022, respectively). Individuals who have previously received the 2-cycle automatic COVID-based eligibility extension for K99/R00 submission are not eligible for an additional extension.

To aid potential applicants in determining whether they are eligible for the extension, the following examples are provided:

  • Example 1: For individuals whose eligibility would normally end with the June/July 12, 2021 due dates, the temporary extension would allow them to apply for the K99/R00 in October/November 2021 or February/March 2022.
  • Example 2: For individuals whose eligibility would normally end with October/November 12, 2021 due dates, the temporary extension would allow them to apply in February/March 2022 or June/July 2022.
  • Example 3: For individuals whose eligibility would normally end with February/March 12, 2021 due dates, the temporary extension allowed in NOT-GM-20-051 allowed them to apply in June/July 2021 or October/November 2021. They are not eligible for an additional 2 cycle extension to February/March 2022 or June/July 2022.

See NOT-GM-21-037 for additional information.

What information do I need to include in my application to request an extension?

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

How does the MOSAIC K99/R00 award differ from the Parent K99/R00?

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 research training and 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 will be part of organized scientific cohorts and will 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.

When are applicants encouraged to apply for the MOSAIC K99/R00 award?

Per the FOA, 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.

It’s great that NIH encourages applicants to apply early. I’ve made a lot of progress my first few years of postdoc, but my postdoc paper isn’t out yet. Should I wait to apply until it’s published?

NIH encourages applicants to apply as early as possible to facilitate their career transitions. 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).

Have the MOSAIC UE5 awards been made?

Yes. The initial 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.

How will I be assigned to a MOSAIC UE5 awardee?

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. NIH staff will use this information make assignments.

Are there required attachments specific to the MOSAIC K99/R00 application that are not in the Parent K99/R00 application?

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.
  • MOSAIC K99/R00 applications must include the “Description of Candidate’s Contribution to Program Goals” on the Career Development Award Supplemental form. The Candidate Eligibility Statement is no longer required. See NOT-GM-20-038 for more information.

Can I apply for both the MOSAIC K99/R00 and Parent K99/R00 at the same time?

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)

If I applied for the Parent K99/R00 and was not funded, can I apply for the MOSAIC K99/R00?

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria specified in the FOA 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 funding opportunity announcement, this would be considered a new application, not a resubmission (or A1).

How do I determine if my research is a fit for the MOSAIC Program?

Please consult the Table 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 IC that is not participating in the program, we encourage you to reach out to Dr. Kenneth Gibbs to discuss your options.

MOSAIC K99/R00 – Review Information

How will MOSAIC K99/R00 applications be reviewed?

MOSAIC K99/R00 applications will be reviewed by special emphasis panels organized by the NIGMS Scientific Review Branch or Review Branches of other awarding ICs. The name and contact information for the scientific review official assigned to each application will be posted in the eRA Commons once the assignment has been made.

What is the timeline for submission, review, and award?

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

Will the reviewers have expertise in the subject area of my application?

Yes. The Scientific Review Offices 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.

How can I find the roster for the study section that will review my application?

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

How do the review criteria differ from those for the Parent K99/R00 application?

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 ensure the candidate’s record is evaluated relative to their years of experience to date. Additionally, there are review criteria to assess the candidate’s, mentor’s and institution’s commitment to diversity in the biomedical sciences.

Can I appeal the review of my MOSAIC K99/R00 application?

Yes. Appeals are allowed for PARs.

If my application for MOSAIC is not funded, will I be able to prepare a resubmission?

Yes, if you are eligible per the eligibility criteria specified in the FOA.

What will be Council's involvement in the second level peer review of MOSAIC applications?

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

When should I submit Just-in-Time information?

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 anything about the probability of an award.

How will MOSAIC funding decisions be made?

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 also considers the breadth and diversity of the Institute's research portfolio.

How will investigators be informed about the process?

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 definite 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 UE5 Program – General Questions

Can academic institutions apply for the MOSAIC UE5 grant?

No. Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education and For-Profit Organizations are eligible to apply.

Applications are encouraged from organizations (1) composed of biomedical researchers (e.g., scientific societies) with a membership of scientists conducting research within the mission(s) of one or more of the participating NIH institutes or centers, including members with active research project grants from these ICs (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.

Can multiple organizations partner to apply for the MOSAIC UE5 grant?

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.

Have MOSAIC UE5s been awarded?

Yes. The initial MOSAIC UE5 Awardees and their websites are listed below:

Will NIH accept additional UE5 applications for the November 2020 deadline?

Yes. While, NIGMS does not intend to fund additional UE5 awards for the upcoming receipt date, NHLBI, NIMH, NLM, and NCCIH are participating in the program. Scientific societies interested in partnering with NIH on this effort to reach out to the scientific/research contacts listed in the FOA to learn more.