START (TL1) Mentored Translational Research Training Program

START (TL1) Mentored Translational Research Training Program

The MCW Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is seeking applicants for the Scientific Teams Advancing Research Translations (START) TL1 Mentored Clinical Research Training Program. The START TL1 award supports trainees seeking a practical introduction to clinical and translational research. The TL1 award provides full-time research training support for one year for a.) awardees with clinical doctoral degrees (i.e. DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, AuD, DPT, DPH, DNSc, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research or practice), and b.) medical school, doctoral- or master-level students (i.e. MD/MS, MD/PhD or PhD students) seeking additional training in clinical research.

Status: Open for Applications

  • Letter of Intent Deadline:
    December 21, 2016
  • Notice to Apply:
    January 15, 2017
  • Application Deadline:
    February 28, 2017
  • Award Start Date:
    July 1, 2017

The overall goal of START TL1 Program award is to increase the number of well-trained clinician-scientists who can lead the design and oversight of future clinical investigations critical to transforming the translational process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.

During the year of research, trainees will participate in workshops that teach grant writing, manuscript writing, and other professional development skills, including best practice strategies to optimize communication skills.

Trainees will also receive Team Science experiences as a vertically integrated training experience.  Medical and graduate students conducting clinical and translational research will be matched with an MD-fellow to experience T3-T5 types of research projects directed to improve the health of human populations.  This will include activities with high school and undergraduates from our pipeline programs, to reinforce the impact that clinical and translational research has on human populations within our community.

Trainees will participate in bi-annual conferences to present their current studies in a team-based environment.

The training experience will be optimized by the use of Individual Development Plans (IDP).

For this award cycle, applications are being accepted for:

  • Pre-doctoral awardees (MD/PhD, PhD, MD/MS) conducting clinical and translational research
  • Postdoctoral awardees (DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM,  ScD, EngD, AuD, DPT, DPH, DNSc, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, a doctoral degree in nursing research or practice or an MD obtaining additional Masters training) conducting clinical and translational research

Please read this RFA carefully for complete eligibility requirements related to the applicant and type of research proposed.

The start date for the TL1 award is July 1, 2017. The one-year appointment can be renewed once by approval of the admissions committee, for a total possible appointment of two years.

The MCW CTSI START TL1 training program is part of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program, the goal of which is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. It is funded through a grant from the National Center for Clinical and Translational Science (NCATS).

Publications arising from any research project receiving support from the CTSI should acknowledge support by stating “Support received by grants TL1TR001437 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.”

All TL1 awardees will receive:

  • Stipend support awarded at the NIH allowed annual maximum:  For Pre-Doctoral Scholars (PhDs, MD/MSs, MD/PhDs) is 80% protected time with a stipend of $23,376 for one year.  For Post-Doctoral Scholars (MD Fellows) is 80% protected time with a one-year stipend, dollar amount varying depending on years of experience. Please see link for additional information.
  • Up to $5,700 for Pre-Doctoral Scholars and for Post-Doctoral Scholars up to $10,350 to defray the cost of the research program (including fringe benefits and travel to national meetings)
  • Access to the CTSI professional services and staff including biostatistics, subject recruitment, and human subjects approval; and
  • Access to a training curriculum in clinical and translational research methodology and specialized training seminars.
  • Up to 60% of tuition may be reimbursed.

Please read all parts of this application carefully before applying.

Key Dates

Key Dates

  • Letter of Intent Deadline: December 21, 2016
  • Notice to Apply: January 15, 2017
  • Application Deadline: February 28, 2017
  • Award Start Date: July 1, 2017

Submission Process

Submission Process

The application submission process is a two-phase process.  The Letter of Intent in Phase I and the Application (and other required documents) in Phase 2 are submitted electronically to the CTSI office for administrative approval via the START Program. Only candidates who are recommended by the Review Committee will be invited to submit an Application in Phase II.

Phase I: Submission of Letter of Intent

  • The Letter of Intent is submitted electronically to the CTSI using the START Program Application form. Applicants will need to be logged into the site with their CTSI credentials to access this form.
  • Personal Information
    Applicants are to complete the requested personal information and attach a Personal Statement (2-page limit), which includes a description of their academic qualifications, prior training background, previous research experience and interest in the program.

Phase II: Responding to Invitation to Apply

  • Successful candidates will be invited to complete a Research Proposal (3-page limit) and attach a Letter of Support by the primary mentor.
  • Application should be submitted electronically to the CTSI using the START Program Application form (find link at TL1 Application Instructions).
  • Applicants will need to be logged into the site with their CTSI credentials to access this form.

Research Proposal

A description of a sound research project that is consistent with the candidate’s level of research development plan must be provided. Please use Arial with font no smaller than 11, single-space text with margins at least ½ inch on all sides.

The research plan should be organized under the following sections:

  • Research design, methods, and aims
  • Significance
  • Approach, Feasibility, and Environment

*Plan for Data and Safety Monitoring

Studies that involve clinical trials (biomedical and behavioral intervention studies) must include a description of the plan for data and safety monitoring of the research and adverse event reporting to ensure the safety of subjects.

**Training in Responsible Conduct of Research

The applications must include a description of a program to receive formal or informal instruction in scientific integrity or the responsible conduct of research. Applications without plans for instruction in the responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete. Candidates should consider instruction in the following areas: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data management. Document prior instruction in, and propose plans to receive, instruction in the responsible conduct of research in terms of subject matter and duration of instruction.

The candidate should consult with mentor regarding the development of this section if needed.

Letter of Support by Mentor

Note: Not required for predoctoral MD/MS Students as mentors are not assigned at the time of application.

The application must include a signed statement from the primary mentor providing:

  • Primary Mentor
    1. Why applicant is appropriate for the START program
    2. Resources and research environment the mentor will provide
    3. Mentor’s expectations of the START Scholar
    4. Mentor’s action plan for the project execution for the START Scholar
    5. Statement of the START Scholar’s protected time for research/research training
  • The Primary mentor must agree to provide annual evaluations of the candidate’s progress for the duration of the award.

Program Requirements

Program Requirements

  • MD/PhD, MD, PhD and postdoctoral MD/MS candidates must name a Primary Mentor, who, together with the applicant is responsible for the planning, direction, and execution of the research project. The mentor should be recognized as an accomplished investigator in the proposed research area and have a track record of success in training independent investigators in clinical and translational research. The candidate and mentor must describe a career development program with an emphasis on clinical and translational research that maximizes the use of relevant research, educational resources, and qualified faculty as mentors in clinical and translational research.
  • Predoctoral MD/MS candidates are not required to identify a mentor.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Before you apply, please note the following information.

Eligibility criteria for TL1 applicants (established by our funding source, the National Institutes of Health) are as follows:

  • Citizenship Status: At the time of appointment to the training program, individuals selected to participate in the training program must be US citizens or permanent residents of the US at the time of the award. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible to apply unless they have begun the process for becoming a permanent resident and expect to be admitted as a permanent resident by the award date. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for NRSA support.
  • Education/Training: Eligible applicants must be current a.) MD fellows or b.) doctoral- (PhD or MD/PhD) or master- level students in a dual program (e.g. MD/MS) who are enrolled and in good academic standing at MCW or a partnering institution in health-related graduate programs.
  • Effort: Trainees must be able to commit full-time effort in the program at the time of appointment.
  • Training Support: No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate NRSA support at the pre-doctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training and individual fellowship awards.

TL1 Application Instructions

TL1 Application Instructions

  • Please read these instructions carefully before going online to apply. The application must be completed and submitted online through the link below.

CTSI START Letter of Intent

Please sign in to access this form. If you haven't signed up yet, please join CTSI.

Lost your password?

  • The application process is designed so that you can save your information and return to it (you will be given a code, so be prepared to save that information).
  • Materials must be submitted online in PDF format.
  • Please use Arial with font no smaller than size 11. Use single-space text. Margins should be at least ½ inch on all sides.
  • The letters of support should be addressed to Dr. David Brousseau, incorporated into a PDF file and uploaded in the TL1 application.
  • Please make sure you have completed all sections of the entire application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. No late applications will be accepted.


It is expected that the applicant will identify a mentor in their area of clinical or translational research who is likely to be a member of the faculty in the applicant’s unit. Under guidance from the mentor, the applicant will further develop their proposal that describes the clinical research project to be undertaken. Your mentor is responsible for:

  • Guiding and encouraging the design and execution of an original, high quality, clinical research project.
  • Supervising the preparation of a final report.
  • Providing career development and counseling.
  • Attending CTSI Mentor training.

Your mentor should meet with you regularly at least monthly and attend occasional meetings/trainings for TL1 trainees and mentors organized by the CTSI.

Project Summary (Research Plan) (limit—3 pages)

The Project Summary should not exceed 3 pages.

The proposed research must fit the following definition of clinical research and be situated somewhere on the translational research spectrum from T1 to T4. See Appendix 1 for more information.

Clinical Research: Research with human subjects that is:

  • Patient-oriented research. Research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Excluded from this definition are in vitro studies that utilize human tissues that cannot be linked to a living individual. It includes: (a) mechanisms of human disease, (b), therapeutic interventions, (c) clinical trials, or (d) development of new technologies.
  • Epidemiological and behavioral studies.
  • Outcomes research and health services research.

The Project Summary should be organized as follows:

(a) Research design, methods, and aims

  • Provide a project summary which includes the research design, methods, and aims and objectives of the project, using language that is understandable to a scientifically or technically literate reader not in your field.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology.

(b) Significance

  • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses.
  • Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
  • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.

(c) Approach, Feasibility, and Environment

  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate.
  • Describe where the study will be conducted and how the environment with contribute to the probability of success. Discuss how the project will benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements.
  • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.
  • If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work.
  • Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and precautions to be exercised.

Literature Citations

Literature citations will not be included in page limits.

Supporting Materials

Transcript from Doctoral Granting Institution. Postdoctoral applicants should provide a transcript to document graduate and undergraduate education.

Additional Information

  • The CTSI START TL1 Committee will make recommendations for funding of TL1 trainees. Reviewers will evaluate the applications by reviewing: the Trainee, the Training Plan, the Mentors, and the Researc
  • Individual Development Plans will be submitted early in the training program and reviewed every three months.
  • Appointed TL1 Trainees are not allowed to simultaneously hold another appointment or position.

Appendix 1: Spectrum of Translational Health Research

Per regulations, Ruth L. Kirschstein TL1 awards fund translational research that occupies a particular space on the Clinical & Translational research spectrum: T1 to T4.

Below are definitions and more information.

Translational research involves moving knowledge gained from the basic sciences to its application in clinical and community settings. This concept is often summarized by the phrases “bench-to-bedside” and “bedside-to- community” research. As the concept of translational health research has evolved with practice and time, it is clear that translational research encompasses a bidirectional continuum. For didactic purposes, translational research has often been described in phases of translation, or “T-phases.”

  • T0 refers to basic scientific discovery (Not funded by this award). T0 is characterized by the identification of opportunities and approaches to health problems.
  • T1 seeks to move basic discovery into a candidate health application. Research examples include: human physiology, first in humans (healthy volunteers), proof of concept, Phase 1 Clinical Trials.
  • T2 assesses the value of application for health practice leading to the development of evidence-based guidelines. Research examples include: Phase 2 and Phase 3 Clinical Trials.
  • T3 attempts to move evidence-based guidelines into health practice, through delivery, dissemination, and diffusion research. Research examples include health services research related to dissemination, communication, and implementation; and clinical outcomes research.
  • T4 seeks to evaluate the “real world” health outcomes of population health practice. Research examples include: population level outcome studies; studies of the social determinants of health.

Clinical and Translational Spectrum

Source: Harvard Catalyst Pathfinder / Accessed June, 2015.

Appendix 2: Core Competencies for Clinical and Translational Investigator Training

Appendix 2: Core Competencies for Clinical and Translational Investigator Training

The task of CTSA education programs is to prepare the next generation of investigators to conduct clinical and translational research that will address the health care challenges faced in the United States. Creating a recognizable discipline centered on clinical and translational science will help build this workforce. To help establish the discipline, the CTSA Education and Career Development Key Function Committee has drafted national standards for core competencies in clinical and translational science.

The thematic competencies identify common, basic elements that should shape the training experiences of junior investigators by defining skills, attitudes and behaviors that can be shared across multidisciplinary teams of clinician-scientists. The overall goal is to create a competency-based education for training clinician-scientists that will define the discipline of clinical and translational science.

Research Methods

  • Identify major clinical/public health problems and relevant translational research questions
  • Identify, interpret, and critique literature and assess the state of knowledge regarding a problem
  • Know how to design a study protocol for clinical and translational research
  • Understand study methods, design and implementation
  • Use appropriate laboratory, clinical, and population research methods
  • Understand the principles of the conduct of responsible research

Analysis, Statistics, and Informatics

  • Be able to use appropriate statistical methods and conduct relevant analysis
  • Be competent in appropriate bioinformatics

Community & Communications

  • Understand the principles of community engagement in clinical and translational research
  • Navigate competently among diverse populations and cultures
  • Be able to communicate scientific findings to your peers and to disseminate scientific knowledge to those outside your field, including other scientists, university administrators, policy makers, and the public

Leadership & Training

  • Participate in cross-disciplinary training and mentoring
  • Demonstrate leadership and professionalism
  • Engage in translational teamwork

Contact Us

Contact Us

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NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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