In February, the AUA responded to a Request for Information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on lowering percent efforts from 75 percent to 50 percent within the Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Awards (K08).
The K08 provides support and "protected time" to postdoctoral and non-tenured junior faculty level clinician-scientists who are interested in intensive, mentored research career development experience in basic, translational, and/or patient-oriented cancer-focused-research.
Currently, many applicants do not attempt to apply for these grants because their institutions will not allow them to spend 75 percent of their time in the lab and only 25 percent in clinic.
Based on an AUA survey, with more than 200 AUA member respondents, the AUA advocated for a reduction of the percent effort to 50 percent. The lowering of the percent effort to 50 percent would allow more surgeon-scientists to apply, and to address major needs in moving research discoveries forward into clinical practice.
The AUA submitted a letter, and through a grassroots campaign, an additional number of individual members sent letters supporting this change in effort.
On April 14, the NCI officially changed their rule to allow K08 applicants to apply for awards at 50 percent effort. The AUA received the follow response from NCI Center for Cancer Training Director Oliver Bogler:
“I particularly appreciate that you gathered input from across your organization and included it in your reply….Your response informed the decision to make the changes outlined in the recently published NOT-CA-21-054. NCI will now allow surgeon-scientist applicants to reduce the percent effort required for conducting research career development on a K08 award below 75% (nine person-months), but no lower than 50% (six person-month).”
This has been part of a long standing and ongoing effort within the AUA to work with federal research institutions to offer feedback on award mechanisms to ensure the conduciveness of urologic research. And without the help of our base of members, this would not have been possible. We thank you for your valuable input and appreciate your support in advancing urology and supporting our next generation of surgeon-scientists.