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 FOAs:

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

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, 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

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).

Am I a good fit for the MOSAIC program?

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).

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. 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 FOA at least 12 weeks before submitting an application. Please refer to NIH Extension Policy for Eligibility Window for Pathway to Independence Awards 9K99/R00).

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 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.

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, 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.

See NOT-GM-21-057 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 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.

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. However, candidates can apply at any time during their eligibility window, as long as the time frame is well justified.

It’s great that NIH encourages applicants to apply early. I’ve made a lot of progress my first few years of postdoc, but I don't yet have a first-authored publication from my postdoc. Should I wait to apply until it’s published?

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).

What are the page limits for sections of the application?

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 FOA permits 2 pages for this attachment.

Where can I find biosketch instructions?

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

Who are the MOSAIC UE5 Awardees?

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.

How will I be assigned to a MOSAIC UE5 awardee?

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.

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.
  • Description of Candidate's Contribution to Program Goals: As this is a diversity-related FOA, 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.

Can I apply for both the MOSAIC K99/R00 and Parent K99/R00 at the same time? Or can I apply for two MOSAIC K99/R00 FOAs at the same time (e.g., Clinical Trials Required and BESH Required)?

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 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 (e.g., NCI or NICHD), 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 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.

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.

For the October 2021 receipt date only, the due date for new applications will be October 27, 2021 (resubmissions will be due November 12, the standard due date).

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 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.

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 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.

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 a guarantee of funding the application.

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 uses a multifactorial process that 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 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 UE5 Program – General Questions

Can academic institutions apply for the MOSAIC UE5 grant?

No. Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education 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.

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.

The NOSI for the November 2021 receipt date is NOT-GM-21-051.

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 2021 deadline?

Yes.

Note, NIGMS does not intend to fund additional UE5 awards for the upcoming receipt date, however other participating ICs may, consistent with their mission's and overall program priorities for the NIH MOSAIC program (see NOT-GM-21-051). Scientific societies interested in applying to this FOA are strongly encouraged to reach out to the appropriate scientific/research contacts listed in the FOA to learn more.