The Wright Center's Emerging Scholars Program provides career development support to new faculty-level clinical and translational scientists to help them compete for externally funded, early-career research awards.

Eligibility Requirements:

The Emerging Scholars Program is open to candidates who:

  • Are eligible for National Institutes of Health (NIH) career development and research awards (i.e., U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and permanent residents)
  • Hold a faculty appointment within an academic unit of VCU by the date of the initial external funding application submission deadline
  • Are within five years of their first faculty appointment
  • Have obtained a terminal degree
  • Have completed relevant postgraduate training
  • Have not served as the principal investigator for an NIH R01 or R29 award, or for a subproject of an NIH P01, P50, P60, or U54
  • Have 20 percent protected time for research
  • Are working toward a grant deadline
  • Have an ongoing program of research with an established mentor-mentee relationship. The primary mentor must be NIH-funded.

Application Details:

Department chairs of each applicant must commit to at least 20 percent release time for research and research career development activities. In addition, chairs must provide appropriate space and departmental resources for the scholar’s proposed research, as well as departmental support for the scholar to work in labs and clinics outside of their own department.

Program Duration:

One year, with possible renewal for a second year contingent on satisfactory progress and recommendation by VCU KL2 program leadership. Interested faculty should complete the Emerging Scholars Program application. Each scholar will be asked to provide:

  • Personal statement (two pages maximum), including long-term career goals, selection of primary mentor, need for additional training/mentoring and how the Emerging Scholars Program will address this need. Please include a plan for applying for funding during the time as an emerging scholar.
  • Research plan (three pages maximum) including specific aims, background/significance, preliminary data, research designs/methods, literature cited.
  • CV
  • NIH biosketch
  • Nomination letter from the department chair and primary mentor describing the career development and mentorship plan for the applicant, and the primary mentor’s mentorship experience.
  • Primary mentor’s NIH biosketch
  • Emerging scholars agreement form (Emerging Scholars Program - Scholar Agreement.pdf) signed by the scholar and department chair, documenting the chair’s support for the scholar’s participation in the program and 20 percent effort release time to pursue research while in the Emerging Scholars Program.
  • Please combine the requested  application documents into a single PDF to be uploaded.

Emerging Scholars Program Activities

The Wright Center will offer the following services and resources to support the mentorship and career development of the emerging scholar:

  • Tailored Individual Development Plan (IDP)
  • Quarterly progress meetings with VCU KL2 program leadership
  • Grant review and mock study section for grant applications
  • Biostatistics and bioinformatics consultation

Emerging Scholar Expectations

Scholars are expected to:

  • Meet with their primary mentor at least biweekly
  • Meet with VCU KL2 program leadership quarterly to present and discuss progress (primary mentor must attend)
  • Attend the Wright Center grant writing seminar series
  • Submit an internal or foundation grant within one year of starting the Emerging Scholars Program
  • Update the program on publications, grants and awards after selection

Review and Selection Process (subject to change)

Our goal is to select candidates who have potential to become successful, independently funded clinical and translational researchers with proper career development and mentorship. A committee of Wright Center faculty members will review applications, interview finalists and select awardees. In-person interviews will be held in late May and awards will be announced in early June for the cohort starting Aug. 1. Applicants will be evaluated based on the strength of their application materials, their overall potential to become a researcher independently funded by the NIH, and the strength of the mentorship infrastructure.

Application Submission

  • Application submission window for the 2020-2021 Class of Emerging Scholars is forthcoming.
  • Please check back during summer 2020 for new submission dates and deadlines.
  • Please use this link to submit your FULL application once the application window reopens: Emerging Scholars Program - Application Submission


For general inquires about the Emerging Scholars Program and the application process, please contact Rob DiRenzo (direnzor@vcu.edu).

Cite & Submit: UL1TR002649

Publications supported by the Wright Center must cite the CTSA Grant number (UL1TR002649) and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. We rely on these citations as a critical performance measure when reporting annual productivity to the NIH.