Early-career clinician scientist faculty often need extended protected time and mentoring support to successfully transition to independence. For some individuals, an appointment at the instructor level prior to being inundated with the full load of clinical and other faculty responsibilities that accompany tenure-track faculty appointments is optimal until the faculty member has acquired the competencies needed to function as an independent clinician scientist. For others, with significant prior research experience, appointment at the assistant professor level is optimal. Resources to support the career development of early-career faculty include mentor matching, graduate courses in clinical & translational science, pilot funding for research, and funding for focused career development.

Mentor Resources

The available research on successful academic career development identifies effective mentoring as among the most important requirement.  Support for identifying potential mentors is available through the Center for Clinical & Translational Science Career Development Office

Career Development Office

Elective Coursework

Formal research training is available to faculty through tiered graduate programs in clinical and translational science that are offered by the Department of Behavioral Science. 

The Certificate in Clinical & Translational Science program provides entry-level competency training in Clinical and Translational Science and is the entry point for scholars interested in CTS research, broadly defined. The key elements of this certificate include (1) a curriculum focused on core CTS research competencies, (2) availability of evening courses. Credits from this program can be applied to the MS or PhD programs in CTS. 

Certificate in CTS

The Master of Science in Medical Sciences (CTS Pathway) offers a clinical and translational science pathway for those with a rigorous medical sciences background (e.g., health-related professional degree, MS or PhD in basic medical sciences) or those seeking a dual degree (e.g., MD/MS). The program provides mentored research training with a flexible curriculum tailored to the needs of professional scholars interested in designing, implementing and publishing their own research studies or contributing to clinical and translational science teams. The pathway offers 24-credit (thesis required) or 30-credit options each consisting of 14 credit hours of competency-based training (i.e., Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science) combined with additional coursework and independent study (10 or 16 credits) tailored to the scholars’ research career interest; a program of mentored research training, and a Masters defense focused on the scholar's independent research study.


The PhD in CTS is an interdisciplinary program designed for professional scholars committed to leading interdisciplinary CTS research teams, sustaining independent research programs that promote innovation and new discovery, or both. In addition to extensive research training, PhD candidates are able to receive expanded training in the skills required for meeting career objectives: grant writing, grant management, team leadership, and personnel and laboratory management. Like the MS program, the PhD program in CTS emphasizes mentored research training with a primary mentor and a PhD advisory committee. The mentor and the advisory committee are charged with supporting the scholar’s overall career development; they play a prominent role in coordinating the scholar’s curriculum, research training, and career development. Successful completion of the degree is contingent upon the scholar’s completion and presentation (written and oral) of well-reasoned research that yields clinically significant, publishable CTS knowledge.

PhD in CTS

Pilot Funding Opportunities

A variety of pilot funding opportunities are available to faculty in the College of Medicine.  Pilot funds are available to support 1) early-career investigators, 2) investigators at all stages of career development to stimulate innovation that will lead to extramural funding, 3) disease-focused research (e.g., Cancer, Aging, Diabetes, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury), 4) inter-institutional collaboration, 5) community engagement, 6) drug development, 7) clinical studies that are developed by multi-disciplinary teams, 8) community partnerships, and 9) small grants to help strengthen applications for extramural research grants.

The Center for Clinical and Translational Science offers pilot award

Pilot Research Funding Opportunities

Career Development Awards

The University of Kentucky KL2 Training Program in Clinical and Translational Science is an NIH-supported research training and funding opportunity for junior faculty to foster a career in clinical/translational research. The aim of this multidisciplinary career development program is to assist junior faculty in developing a clinical/translational research program through a structured program of career development and mentorship, including didactic coursework, mentored research and multidisciplinary teamwork. A key component of this program is the interaction between the awardees and their mentorship team. The goal of the program is to help awardees ultimately obtain an individual career development award (i.e. K) or an independent investigator (i.e. R01) award.


The multidisciplinary Scientist/CLinician development AwaRd (SChoLAR) Program provides mentored research training for exceptional early career faculty who are interested in pursuing careers in academic medicine as a physician scientist faculty at UK.   Funding is provided for release time and research support, which is renewable for up to two years if the candidate is demonstrating appropriate progress, based on Faculty Oversight Committee evaluation. Scholars are also offered loan forgiveness per year of faculty service. The goal of the program is to help awardees ultimately obtain an individual career development award (i.e. K) or an independent investigator (i.e. R01) award.

SChoLAR Program

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) is an early career faculty development program (K12) supported by NIH.   BIRCWH scholars receive state-of-the-art training, collaborative opportunities and in-depth mentoring experiences that enable them to develop independent research programs in women's health.


Several NIH-sponsored Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) provide support to foster the research endeavors of junior faculty, providing mentorship, resources, pilot projects and facilities to enhance translational studies on major health issues within the state, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Center for Cancer and Metabolism
Center for Molecular Medicine
Center for Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases