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VA Health Systems Research

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About the Career Development Program

VA's Career Development Program was established to provide mentoring for junior researchers so they can learn from renowned, experienced VA researchers. Awardees from this program have become national and international leaders in their research fields. Awards are provided in all areas of VA's research enterprise: biomedical laboratory, clinical science, health services, and rehabilitation research.

Career Development Award Levels

  • CDA-1: This entry-level career development program is open to both clinicians and non-clinicians. Review criteria emphasize candidate qualifications, mentorship, and career development plan. Only the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service is currently offering this type of award.
  • CDA-2: This mid-level program also is open to both clinicians and non-clinicians who must specify their career development plans and research project over a 3-5 year duration. This is the major type of Career Development Award, and it is supported by all four Services.
  • CDEA: The career development enhancement award for senior VA scientists is open to both non-clinicians and clinicians. This award will provide up to six months of salary for scientists to learn new research skills and combined with local support for six months offers the opportunity for a year "sabbatical."

How to Apply

Candidates for Career Development Awards need not have a VA appointment at the time they apply, but must be nominated by a VA facility and must identify an appropriate VA mentor. The Career Development Program is open to all researchers, both MDs and PhDs, who have the appropriate experience and training.
Nominees should work closely with their sponsoring research office to prepare a Letter of Intent (LOI), which is the first step in the review process. If the LOI is approved, the nominee may prepare an application in accordance with Career Development Program guidelines. The sponsoring VA research office must submit the application on behalf of the nominee. CDA-1 and CDA-2 proposals are submitted through RFAs are available on the intranet only at (copy and paste this link into your browser).

See also Guidelines and Resources

Kara Beck, PhD

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.