Project Description and Eligibility Requirements

Project Description and Eligibility Requirements



Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is pleased to announce a call for applications for the K12 Paul Calabresi Career Development Award for Clinical Oncology. This MSK K12 program is a nationally recognized high volume program designed to train the next generation of translational cancer physicians. This program seeks to recruit and train eligible MD, DO, and MD/PhD applicants derived from multiple specialties including medical oncology, surgical oncology, GYN oncology, radiology, radiation oncology, pathology, neurology, pediatric oncology, and infectious diseases for careers in cancer related translational research.

Project Description and Eligibility Requirements

K12 scholars will undergo a 3 year program designed to familiarize awardees with both pre-clinical bench-top basic research as well as translation of the research to the clinical setting. During the 3 year award period K12 scholars will be provided with 70-80% protected time (50% for surgeons) for required course work and laboratory research with 20-30% of time committed to clinical responsibilities. Coursework and research training will lead to a Master of Science  in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research offered by the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. It is understood that graduates from this program will be wholly prepared to move forward in academic careers focused on translating pre-clinical findings to clinical trial research.

Eligible applicants include both senior fellows eligible for promotion to junior faculty positions as well as junior faculty within the first 3 years of their initial appointments.

This K12 training program will provide awarded scholars with the advanced skills necessary to perform state-of-the-art clinical research and provide them with the ability to:

  1. Perform clinical therapeutic research that develops and tests scientific hypotheses based on basic science and clinical research findings;
  2. Design and conduct hypothesis-based, clinical therapeutic protocols and adjunct biological analyses and for clinician candidates to administer all phases (i.e., pilot/Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III) of cancer therapeutic clinical trials that prospectively evaluate both clinical and relevant biological endpoints;
  3. Conduct cancer therapeutic research in a team research setting in which basic and clinical scientists collaborate and interact to expedite the translation of basic research into patient- oriented therapeutic cancer research; and
  4. Obtain peer reviewed funding to conduct basic science and translational clinical research which in turn will enable trained scholars to embark upon careers as successful independent clinical investigators.


Applicants will be required to identify both a laboratory mentor as well as a clinical mentor at MSK able to guide them through the training process wherein the laboratory mentor trains the applicant in the conduct of clinically relevant laboratory research while the clinical mentor trains the applicant in clinical trial design and the associated approval process. In some select cases a single mentor may serve as both the laboratory and clinical mentor. It is expected that the applicant’s research proposal is one which involves pre-clinical research that could reasonably be expected to evolve into a clinical trial over the 3 year funding period. In some cases, applicants may select clinical and laboratory mentors at MSK who are not currently assigned to the K12. However, these mentors are subject to approval and review by the K12 principal investigators. Applicants who select mentors outside of the K12 must have these mentors approved by the program’s PIs.


  • Applicants must be a United States citizen or non-citizen national, or have legal admission into the United States as a permanent resident.
  • Applicants must have either an MD, DO, MD/PhD, or DO/PhD degree(s).
  • US board eligible and must have or plan to have an appointment in Memorial Hospital.
  • Eligible applicants include both senior fellows eligible for promotion to junior faculty positions, as well as junior faculty within the first 3 years of their initial appointments.
  • Applicants from multiple specialties and MSK training programs including medical oncology, surgical oncology, GYN oncology, radiology, radiation oncology, pathology, neurology, pediatric oncology, and infectious diseases will be considered.
  • The program will consider similarly eligible applicants from institutions outside of MSK wherein the program will assist suitable applicants in identifying laboratory and clinical mentors at MSK prior to submission of the application.
  • K12 scholars may not be the principal investigator on any NIH R-type awards, program project (P01) awards, mentored career (K-type) awards or other similar research grant awards.

What the K12 Program Provides to Scholars

  • Salary and fringe support during the entire 3 year training period to be covered by the K12 award and scholar’s Department.
  • Additional funding for research costs and tuition for the Masters of Science in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research
  • Promotion to a junior level faculty position (either instructor or assistant attending level 1) for senior fellow applicants by the end of their second year in the program, at the latest.
  • 3 years of both laboratory and clinical mentored support.
  • Significant graduate level didactic training in cancer biology and clinical trial research that leads to a Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research
  • Specialized training in grant writing designed to guide scholars in obtaining individual NIH funding, which in turn will promote scholar’s careers as independently funded translational clinical investigators.

Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research

The K12 Clinical Oncology Research Training program will leverage the innovative curriculum within Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School’s new Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research. The Master’s curriculum is composed of courses in clinical trial design, biostatistics, protocol writing, grant and manuscript writing, cancer biology, and observerships on institutional protocol approval committees. This didactic training will provide scholars with a comprehensive research foundation to assure that all K12 graduates understand how to conduct clinical research that is informed by basic science and the pragmatic realities of running clinical trials. Scholars who complete these courses over the 3 year training period and meet the standards for Satisfactory Progress will be awarded a Master’s in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research.

Satisfactory progress through the Master’s program is achieved and maintained by meeting the following requirements:

  • Completion of at least 31.5 graduate credits (a combination of 19.5 course and 12 research credits)
  • Timely completion of all course requirements and demonstration of research progress
  • Maintaining a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • No more than two Incomplete grades are allowed in any given semester, unless they resulted from an approved leave of absence that began before a final grade was assigned
  • Demonstration of progress in the research project and the ability to demonstrate growth in research skills
  • Ensuring that their laboratory and clinical mentors submit evaluations at the end of each year
  • Successful and timely completion of the Capstone Project, which may include a submitted first author publication or grant application
  • Presenting research at the Master’s program work in progress seminar series. (Scholars may use the K12 work in progress to fulfill this requirement)
  • Presenting research at minimum of one local or national conference

In some cases, MD/PhD scholars may opt-out of pursuing the full-master’s program depending on their PhD training and previous research experience. MD/PhDs will pursue select Master’s core courses that include training in clinical trial design, biostatistics, clinical research management, and protocol writing.

Observerships on MSK institutional clinical trial approval committees:

A better understanding of the clinical trial approval process will be invaluable for scholars moving towards independent careers in clinical investigation. To this end, the K12 program will additionally institute an observership program wherein K12 scholars will observe the review life-cycle of selected institutional committees involved in the protocol approval process. Specifically, scholars will follow at least two protocols as they are reviewed the MSK Research Council and MSK IRB.

Other educational experiences:

The center sits in the midst of a richly collaborative tri-institutional consortium including the Weill Cornell Medical School and the Rockefeller University. Additional off-site short course opportunities will also be encouraged. One example of such a short course is the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in advanced biostatistics. Funding to attend additional training conferences will be provided through the K12 program. These elective courses can be used to enhance the education of the K12 candidates but will not be required as part of the core curriculum.