About REACH Mentoring Program

U2M2-REACH (Research Excellence ACross UofU Health) Mentoring Program


The goal of this Program is to provide structured mentorship to UofU Health Sciences faculty with a current R01 level grant, in order to assist them in securing their second R01 level grant.


Qualified Applicants

UofU HSC Assistant or Associate Professors external to the University of Utah Molecular Medicine Program (U2M2) who have secured their first R01 level grant, and whose research is primarily wet-lab based and early translational (T0/T1). Applicants should be actively planning or preparing their second R01 level grant or have already submitted their second R01 level grant (which was not funded).


Mentoring Team

Each mentee will be assigned a mentoring team of 2-3 U2M2 Investigators. Faculty members external to U2M2 may also be invited to serve as mentors/advisors as needed (based on scientific area, identified knowledge gaps, etc.). The U2M2 Mentoring Team will also engage with the mentee’s departmental mentors and other mentors that applicants identify.


Process for Mentee Selection

Mentees need to be nominated by their home Department/Unit. Faculty from groups under-represented in science are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are due July 1, 2023, and will be reviewed by the U2M2 Internal Advisory Committee. The Program will begin on September 1, 2023. Up to 3 mentees will be selected and the period of the mentoring program will be 2 years, after which time mentees will exit the program. There will be no financial cost to mentees or their Department for participation in the program.

Competitive applicants will have a track record of high potential for impactful research, independent R01 level funding, and at least 50% protected research time for the period of the mentoring program. The protected research time will be provided by mentee grant and/or departmental support. U2M2 will not provide financial support or dedicated laboratory space for mentees.


Program Activities

  • Upon entry into the Program, mentees will review with their U2M2 Mentoring Team the specific aims and review summary statement of their first R01 level grant. This will allow the Mentoring Team to understand the foundation upon which the mentee is building their second R01 level application. If the mentee has submitted their second R01 level grant, but it was not funded, they will also provide the specific aims and summary statement of this second R01 level grant to their Mentoring Team.
  • Upon entry into the Program, mentees will complete a written Scholar Development Plan (SDP) that will be reviewed with their U2M2 Mentoring Team. The SDP will be used to identify any other mentoring or educational gaps.
  • Mentees will be given feedback on their summary and specific aims for the second R01 level grant they are preparing. They may also receive feedback on other aspects of their second R01 level grant. Extramural grants will be submitted through the mentee’s home department. Funded grants will be managed by the mentee’s home department.
  • Mentees will present at U2M2 Chalk Talk, where they will receive feedback on their second R01 level grant in preparation.
  • Mentees will meet with their U2M2 Mentoring Team to review progress on their grant in preparation. These meetings may also be used to advise mentees on other aspects of their scientific career. As appropriate, mentees will be encouraged to participate in relevant institutional or external activities centered on grant writing, building a research career, and related activities.
  • Mentees will also receive mentorship on aspects of pre-award grant support and best practices in scientific graphics and presentation.
  • The mentees will meet together upon entry into the program and annually, where scientific progress and other aspects of career development (e.g., lab management, budgets, time management) will be discussed.
  • Mid-way through and at the end of the program, mentees and the U2M2 Mentoring Team will meet together to evaluate progress towards goals. A written evaluation of the mentee’s progress will be completed by the U2M2 Mentoring Team and shared with the mentee’s departmental chair and mentors.


Measured Outcomes

The primary outcome will be a funded second R01 level grant. We will also track publications, other federal, private, or foundation grants, promotion/tenure, and awards.


Nomination Packets

Applicants’ nomination packets must contain the following documents, and should be sent as a single, combined PDF to Antoinette (Toni) Blair (tblair@u2m2.utah.edu):

  • Departmental nomination letter describing why the applicant is an excellent candidate for this Program, their accomplishments and trajectory in research, and their potential as an exceptional established investigator at the University of Utah. This nomination letter should also contain (1) a statement confirming the Department’s commitment to the applicant, (2) that the mentee will have at least 50% protected research time for the period of the mentoring program, and (3) the applicant’s current Departmental mentor(s). The nomination letter should not exceed 2 pages.
  • Applicant’s current NIH style Biosketch (5-page limit).
  • A personal statement from the applicant on why they feel they are an excellent candidate for this Program, and how they will benefit from the Program. This personal statement should also briefly describe their current R01 level grant and their plans, including a timeline, for their second R01 level grant. The personal statement should not exceed 2 pages.