The College of Medicine has made a significant investment in the future success of its faculty. The following career development programs can help junior faculty strengthen their grant writing skills and expand their mentor networks and mentorship skills.

K Grants Workshop Series

Mentored career development awards (e.g. “K” awards) provide salary support and research funding to early stage investigators who need to undertake a sustained period (3-5 years) of intensive, supervised career development experiences in order to transition to research independence. The Penn State College of Medicine is committed to supporting early career faculty members and trainees. To that end, the College of Medicine offers the K Grants Workshop Series each Spring. This annual 4-week seminar series provides participants the tools needed to craft a competitive mentored career development proposal. Key topics covered throughout the seminar series include:

  • Types of mentored awards
  • Determining when you are ready to apply for a mentored award
  • Overview of the proposal development process
  • Key ingredients to a competitive research plan
  • Selecting the right mentoring team
  • Integrating the career development plan and research strategy
  • Research resources critical to proposal development and submission
  • What to expect from the review and resubmission process

Several senior faculty members co-direct the workshop series, which combines didactic training with group discussion. Each session focuses on a specific theme that builds upon the previous week’s session. Participants who attend all 4 sessions learn to develop a rigorous, well-defined mentored career development proposal.

Grants Academy

Grants Academy is a structured, non-credit workshop designed to assist investigators with the preparation and submission of independent grant proposals. The program runs from October through April and requires approximately 10% release time. At each meeting, participants are required to submit a component of their grant application. Grants Academy meets 1x each month. To learn more about Grants Academy, please contact the Office of Research Affairs (ORA). 

Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP)

The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) is a tremendous professional development opportunity that most benefits Assistant Professors who aspire to move up the academic ladder, Assistant and/or “early” Associate Professors who have joined the institution within the past 3 years, and faculty who are seeking or engaged in a career transition. The program, which runs from September to May each year, includes a project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor. Each Spring, the JFDP accepts applications, which must include a letter of recommendation from the department chair. To learn more about the JFDP, contact the Office of Faculty and Professional Development.

Medical Student Research (MSR) Projects

All M.D. students at the Penn State College of Medicine must complete an approved Medical Student Research (MSR) project. Most MSR projects are undertaken during the summer after the student’s first year of medical school. MSR projects can be in basic, medical, translational, clinical, social, and behavior research, and may use qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. It is the student’s responsibility to select an MSR project and to prepare a proposal for consideration by the MSR Committee. In addition, all MSR projects must have a designated  research advisor – a person who has expertise in the student’s chosen area of research and who provides day-to-day supervision of his/her research project. Fellows, residents, and other staff can serve as mentors if they have the expertise to support a potential project. For more information on MSR, visit the website at you would like to serve as a research advisor, you can submit a project for consideration at