Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) TL1 Program


Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Clinical & Translational Research Training (supported by an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award [CTSA])

TL1 Application Workshop

A TL1 application workshop will be held on December 9, 2020 from 9:30am until 11:00am via Zoom. To register for this free TL1 application workshop, e-mail Dr. Janet Gross (jsgros2@emory.edu) and Cheryl Sroka (csroka@emory.edu). Include name, position, department, school, title of research study (if known), mentor’s/sponsor’s name, and NIH Biosketch (preferable) or CV. Applicants to the TL1 program are highly encouraged but not required to attend the workshop, which will also be streamed live. View prior TL1 application workshop.

Purpose

The Georgia CTSA TL1 Program provides outstanding opportunities for clinical and translational research (CTR) training for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees at the Georgia CTSA partner institutions: Emory University (Emory), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), and University of Georgia (UGA). The program is focused on providing didactic and mentored research training for predoctoral (medical students, PhD students, PharmD students) and postdoctoral (resident and fellow physicians, PhD postdocs, PharmD residents) trainees interested in a career focused on clinical and/or translational research relevant to human health.

Support

The TL1 Core provides trainees accepted into the TL1 program one year tuition support for didactic training via the MSCR program (at Emory University or Morehouse School of Medicine) or the Certificate Program in Translational Research (CPTR); stipend support, health insurance, and $1,000 total travel support for the annual Southeast Regional Clinical and Translational Science Conference and Translational Science meeting in Washington, DC. In addition to didactic training (e.g., MSCR program), all TL1 trainees will have mentored research training and carry out a hypothesis driven research proposal (clinical or translational research) relevant to human health under the guidance of their lead mentor and mentoring team. The proposed research project must include a well-articulated human component and an explanation of how the research translates to improving human health. For example, studies including humanized animal model systems may be eligible. However, studies that focus on basic science are not eligible for this particular TL1 funding mechanism. Most trainees accepted into the TL1 program have pursued the MSCR as the component of their didactic research training.

Candidates and Goals

The Georgia CTSA TL1 candidates are recruited from a strong and diverse pool of potential candidates at the Georgia CTSA partner institutions, which include Emory, Georgia Tech, MSM and UGA. Our academic institutions feature world-class research facilities and an outstanding research environment that provides exceptional opportunities for multidisciplinary CTR training for junior investigators in public health, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, and nursing. The Georgia CTSA is dedicated to providing predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees with state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, tools, and methods to improve human health through rigorous clinical and translational research training. Through the TL1 Program, the Georgia CTSA will increase the translational research workforce and enhance career development of future leaders of the biomedical research workforce, a major mission of NIH.

There are two TL1 tracks: a predoctoral track (e.g., for PhD graduate students, medical students, PharmD students) and a postdoctoral track (e.g., for physicians in residency or fellowship training, PhD postdocs, and PharmD residents). 

Eligibility

Per NIH requirements, TL1 program applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Acknowledgments

All publications derived from work supported by the TL1 award must acknowledge the Georgia CTSA TL1 Program and NIH TL1 support under Award Number UL1TR002378 and TL1TR002382.

More Information

The deadline for predoctoral  TL1 trainee applications is February 15, 2021.

The deadline for postdoctoral TL1 trainee applications is March 15, 2021.

  • Medical students: Medical students from Emory University School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine are eligible for TL1 support as part of a dual degree (MD/MSCR) track. Medical students accepted into the TL1 program begin after their year of clinical rotations (i.e., generally after their third year of medical school). MD/PhD students at Emory and MSM may apply during their mentored PhD training period or after their initial year of clinical rotations.
  • PharmD students: Predoctoral trainees enrolled in the UGA accepted into the TL1 program will begin the TL1 program after their second year of training. The TL1 support would provide opportunities to receive dual degrees (PharmD/MSCR track).
  • PhD graduate students: PhD-level graduate students at all Georgia CTSA partner institutions may apply to begin the TL1 in the subsequent year after passing comprehensive examinations at their institutions. The TL1 support would provide opportunities to receive dual degrees (PhD/MSCR track).

  • Physicians in Training: Postdoctoral physicians, including senior residents and those in clinical/research specialty fellowship programs at Emory School of Medicine and MSM may apply to the TL1 program at any point in their postdoctoral training.
  • Postdoctoral fellows with PhD, PharmD, or equivalent degrees: Postdoctoral non-physician fellows from Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, and UGA may apply at any point in their postdoctoral training. Those enrolled in PharmD residency programs are also eligible to apply.
  • Postdoctoral fellows currently supported by other NIH or federal T-level or F-level training grants are not eligible for the Georgia CTSA TL1 program, but may apply to the MSCR or CPTR programs supported with stipends and tuition costs provided by their specific training grants.

TL1 positions are generally awarded for one full year (12 months) and provide stipend support (predoctoral or postdoctoral level stipend), tuition support for the MSCR (or CPTR) program, and support for health insurance and attendance at a scientific meeting. Predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows supported by other NIH or federal T-level or F-level training grants are not eligible for the TL1 program but are eligible to apply to the MSCR (or Certificate Program in Translational Research).

  • Stipends: Salary stipends to support costs of living are provided on the NIH (NRSA) scale for TL1 predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows. 
  • Tuition: Tuition support for the MSCR program (or Certificate Program in Translational Research) is provided. For most TL1 trainees, the MSCR is recommended as the component of didactic research training
  • Travel: A total of $1,000 is provided to each TL1 awardee for travel to a national or international scientific meeting to present research (e.g., the Translational Science Meeting held annually in April in Washington, DC). 

Mentored research training is a critical component of the TL1 program. Each TL1 trainee must identify a Lead Mentor who is an established, independently funded clinical and/or translational investigator at one of the collaborating institutions (Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, or UGA). Lead mentors should be established and successful clinical and/or translational investigators with a strong mentoring track record. Generally this means that the lead investigator must be a federally funded investigator (e.g., NIH, CDC, VA, DOD, USDA, AHRQ). A faculty mentor may only serve as lead mentor for a single TL1 applicant or trainee at any one time. A letter of support from the Lead Mentor indicating their willingness and commitment to serve as the TL1 applicant's Lead Mentor is required as part of the application process. The TL1 lead mentor should be prepared and committed to providing support to the TL1 trainee as needed in order to complete the MSCR program and mentored clinical and/or translational research project that is required as part of the TL1 candidate's application. Additional co-mentors or Advisory Committee members are permitted; however, there must be a single Lead Mentor that is identified. Multidisciplinary mentoring teams are strongly encouraged, as is having representation from at least two of the Georgia CTSA partners on the mentoring team or Advisory Committee (Emory, Georgia Tech, MSM, UGA) if appropriate. Important points regarding the Lead Mentor’s letter of support are noted in application instructions.

Personalized training is established for all TL1 trainees to provide flexibility and an individualized approach to didactic and mentored research training. The personalized training plan is constructed by the TL1 trainee in collaboration with their lead mentor, co-mentors, and TL1 program leadership. The pathway will begin with the trainee selecting either the MSCR, a one to two year 30-credit master’s degree thesis program, or the Certificate Program in Translational Research, a 16-credit program. The two programs share several formal didactic courses and required rotations. For most TL1 trainees the MSCR program is recommended.

Applications are accepted for two different TL1 tracks—predoctoral trainee applications and postdoctoral trainee applications. Instructions on how to apply to the TL1 program should be reviewed carefully and followed. Applications include a cover page, inclusion of a hypothesis driven research proposal (clinical and/or translational research proposal), personal statement highlighting the candidates goals and motivation for pursuing clinical and translational research, applicant and mentor NIH biosketches, and letters of support. It is essential that the proposed research project include a well-articulated human component and an explanation of how the research translates to improving human health. For example, studies including humanized animal model systems may be eligible. However, studies that focus on basic science and/or mechanisms are not eligible for this particular funding mechanism. The applications are reviewed by an Georgia CTSA Research Education Selection Committee.

There are two separate TL1 Program tracks: a predoctoral TL1 track (for medical students, PhD graduate students and PharmD students) and a postdoctoral TL1 application track (for physicians in residency and fellowship training, PharmD residents, and PhD postdocs).  Applicants should ensure that they apply to the appropriate track.  Please note that the deadline for applications differ by track:

  • February 15, 2021 for the predoctoral TL1 track
  • March 15, 2021 for the postdoctoral TL1 track 

Applications from underrepresented minorities as defined by NIH are encouraged.

Eligibility requirements include:

  1. Per NIH guidelines, TL1 applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
  2. TL1 applicants must be a predoctoral (medical student, PhD student or PharmD student) or postdoctoral trainees (physicians who are residents or fellows, PhD postdocs, or PharmD residents) at one of the Georgia CTSA partner institutions (Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia);
  3. Applicants should be committed to a career that encompasses clinical and/or translational research.

Application for the TL1 program should include the following components listed below as part of their application. TL1 applications MUST be submitted online (click to start). Once you have started submission by entering your name and email address, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to your TL1 application. You can use this link to upload and update your submission files. Please share your submission link with your Department Chair, Lead mentor, Co-lead mentor (if applicable), and Advisory committee members (if applicable) to upload Letters of Support.

  • A cover sheet (save link as document).
  • A personal statement (up to 2 pages maximum) to include the applicant’s training and research background and career goals, including how this TL1 training program and training afforded by the mentoring team will specifically enhance their career development. Use Arial 11 font and at least 0.5 inch margins, single-spaced.
  • Curriculum vitae of the applicant in the form of an NIH-style predoctoral or postdoctoral biosketch. The personal statement of the biosketch should note or expand on the candidate’s specific career development and training plan, how TL1 training is going to be useful to achieve the candidate’s career research goals, and should outline key aspects of the project and the mentoring team.
  • NIH Biosketch forms, instructions and examples are at this website. Note that the NIH-style biosketch for both predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows requires information on any prior research support awarded to the applicant, as well as prior scholastic performance (undergraduate and graduate school attended, science course titles, other course titles, year course take and final letter grade). View helpful slides for completing the NIH Biosketch.
  • The current NIH-style biosketch of the proposed Lead Mentor. The personal statement of the lead Mentors’ biosketch should reflect commitment to the specific mentee and his/her specific MSCR research project. The Lead Mentor should be an established and successful clinical and/or translational research investigator and committed mentor—those facts should be evident from the personal statement and the overall biosketch.  The Lead Mentor is expected to have external research funding and serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) or multiple PI (most commonly this includes federal funding such as that from NIH, CDC, VA, AHRQ, DOD, FDA, CMS, etc.).
  • Current NIH-style biosketch of co-mentors or Advisory Committee member(s). TL1 applicants may also have co-mentors.  The co-mentors do not necessarily have to have the same qualifications as the Lead Mentor.  The personal statements of these co-mentors should reflect commitment to the mentee and his/her specific project. The co-mentor team, ideally multidisciplinary, may consist of 2-3 additional faculty members, in addition to the Lead Mentor.
  • TL1 Clinical and/or Translational Research and Training Proposal (Six-page limit).  A hypothesis-driven clinical and/or translational research project involving human subjects, and may include human data from available databases is required as part of the application process.  The project to be outlined will also serve as the thesis project for MSCR candidates—see Georgia CTSA MSCR or a component of the PhD dissertation project in the case of PhD/MSCR or MD/PhD/MSCR applicants). The application should also include a brief training plan that describes didactic training plans (i.e., including but not limited to completion of the MSCR degree), how the TL1/MSCR training will support career development and future research plans, and how the TL1 trainee will interact with their lead mentor and any co-mentors.

The translational significance to human health of the proposed research projects must be clearly outlined.The proposed MSCR thesis or dissertation research project must be prepared in close collaboration with the TL1 applicant’s Lead Mentor.

As noted above, the TL1 Clinical and/or Translational Research and Training Proposal component of the application must not exceed 6 pages and should include the following required elements (use Arial 11 font and 0.5 inch margins). Additional information on preparing a TL1 application is provided in the application workshop provided by Dr. Janet Gross.  In addition, applicants may want to review examples of predoctoral NIH F31 applications at the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases website at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/smalls-mantey-sample-f31-application-summary-statement#saims. These F31 grant instructions are also relevant to the required TL1 research plan elements of postdoctoral TL1 applicants.

Required elements for the TL1 application include:

Title of proposal and investigators.  The applicant should include the title of the proposal, the applicant’s name and the name of the Lead Mentor, their affiliation and academic title (does NOT count against 6-page limit).

Abstract/Summary (500-word maximum) of the overall research project (does NOT count against 6-page limit).

Specific Aims (one-page maximum—counts as part of 6 page limit) section that includes: a summary of the project (rationale/background, innovative aspects, brief overview of planned research and study population, including accessible datasets), a hypothesis statement, and 2 to 3 Specific Aims of the research project that briefly outline how each Aim will address the hypothesis/hypotheses. How the project will help the candidate achieve their specific career training and research goals should be briefly noted in the Specific Aims page.

Research Plan and Training Plan (up to 6 pages including Specific Aims page) that includes the following sections: Significance (1-2 pages), including any relevant preliminary data of the Lead Mentor and/or applicant; Innovation (up to 0.5 pages) that outlines the novelty of the project to the field; and Approach (3.5-4.0 pages) which details how the specific Aims are going to be addressed. The Approach section can also include preliminary data and must include information on the proposed research methods, study population (including inclusion/exclusion criteria and details on any human subject databases that may be used), a statistical analysis plan (developed in conjunction with a biostatistician, as needed), including a power analysis, if applicable, a brief description of the mentoring team and their expertise, and a comment on expected results, pitfalls, solutions with regard to the executing the Specific Aims and interpretations of study results. A brief training plan as described above should be included.

Bibliography focused/no page limit with citations in numerical order from the Research Plan (does NOT count against 6-page limit).

Protection of Human Subjects section (should be brief, no page limit, see NIAID F31 example link above but recommended to be less than 2 pages). This section outlines hazards/risks/discomforts to research subjects, if applicable, and methods to be employed to mitigate such risks. This section does NOT count against the 6-page limit.

Inclusion of Women, Children and Minorities brief statement should be provided which outlines any exclusion of these groups and the rationale in the research project (does not count against 6 page limit).

Letters of support should be included in the application package.  NOTE:  these letters of support should be submitted directly to the TL1 program by the person providing the letter of support).  Letters should include:

  • Letter from the trainee’s proposed Lead Mentor. The letter from the Lead Mentor, should indicate a clear commitment to serve as the TL1 applicant's lead mentor for the MSCR thesis or Certificate Program in Translational Research and to ensure success, including protected time to complete the didactic aspects of the training. The Lead Mentor’s letter should also include a brief outline of the proposed research project and indicate that he/she has reviewed the applicant's proposed research project summary prior to its submission.  The Lead Mentor’s letter should indicate an understanding of the requirements to serve as a TL1 Lead Mentor.
  • Letter(s) of support from co-mentor(s) (if applicable);
  • Letter of recommendation from the applicant’s Division Director, Chair, or Dean of Students, ideally noting the candidate’s potential and how the TL1 will be important for the candidate’s career. The letter should also guarantee protected time if accepted into the TL1 program;
  • Letter of support from any advisors named in the application. Advisors are optional, but if any are listed on the cover sheet or named in the application, there should be a letter from the advisor stating their willingness to serve in that role. They should also submit their NIH Biosketch, but the Other Support Page is optional for advisors.

Application fee in the amount of $75.00 payable to Emory University (if your application is successful). If you are currently enrolled at Emory University, no application fee is charged by the University. Deliver to the program office (see below).

Original transcripts from every secondary institution you have attended except Emory. Once you are accepted into the program, your transcripts can be sent by the issuing institution directly to the Laney Graduate School or you can deliver original, official transcripts in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions to:      

       Cheryl Sroka
        Rm 6.112, 1599 Building
        1599 Clifton Road NE
        Emory University
        Atlanta, Georgia 30322

TL1 trainee selection process:  Applications to the Georgia CTSA TL1 program will be reviewed by a review panel or “study section” that follows an NIH grant-style review format. There will be a separate review panels for predoctoral TL1 applicants and postdoctoral TL1 applicants, respectively.  The review panels will include faculty from all of the partner institutions including members of the Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee.  In addition, other ad hoc members of the two study sections will include relevant faculty, NIH K-grant or equivalent federally funded junior faculty, and other faculty members who have received NIH funding. The TL1 Core Program Director, Henry Blumberg, MD, will chair the review panels.  Guidelines to avoid conflict of interest will be utilized.  Selection criteria for TL1 trainees include: 1) potential of the candidate to develop into a successful clinical/translational investigator; 2) evidence of commitment on part of the applicant’s Lead Mentor, multidisciplinary mentoring team, and the experience and success of the lead mentor in mentoring trainees, as well as strength of the required letters of support; 3) the quality and feasibility of the proposed hypothesis-driven research project; 4) the quality and details of the candidate’s specific training and career development plan; and 5) diversity among candidates and mentors, to encourage training of candidates from different departments and from under-represented minority groups and to encourage multidisciplinary mentoring teams.  Each application is scored using a NIH-style scoring system (1 to 9 scale), ranked on the basis of this score, and offered a position based on rank and availability of TL1 Core slot funding.  Written reviewer evaluations and summary of the discussion of the study section are provided to all applicants.  The Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee will make the final decision regarding admission into the TL1 program. The Georgia CTSA Research Education Program office will issue a letter of acceptance.

Questions: We encourage interested TL1 candidates to contact the Georgia CTSA education program leadership for questions and assistance with the application process. Questions on the application process can be directed to Cheryl Sroka, Georgia CTSA Research Education Program Coordinator (csroka@emory.edu or 404.727.5096).  For questions, especially technical issues, or problems with the online submission website please contact Alexey Kurbatov (akurbat@emory.edu). Applicants are also encouraged to contact the TL1 Co-Directors for additional information.

Contact information

We encourage interested TL1 candidates to contact the Georgia CTSA Research Education program to discuss their interests, career goals, specific programs, and for assistance with the application process.