NIMHD Research Diversity Supplement Application Guidelines

This information provides additional guidance for applicants requesting supplements to active NIMHD grants and cooperative agreements (hereinafter “grants”) through PA-18-586 and PA-18-592.

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Achieving diversity in the biomedical research workforce is critical to the full realization of our national research goals. Research shows that more diverse teams that capitalize on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform less diverse teams. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) encourages and supports the development of a diverse and well-trained research workforce. This document has been prepared to assist Principal Investigators with active NIMHD grants, and their prospective candidates, with the preparation of research diversity supplement applications. This includes: Diversity and Re-entry Research Supplements to active National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) grants via funding opportunity announcements "Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research" (PA-18-586) and "Supplements to Promote Re-entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers" (PA-18-592). The overall goal of these supplements is to increase diversity in the research workforce by providing training, mentorship and career development opportunities to individuals who are underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, social and basic sciences research.

NIMHD Philosophy

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) believes that new investigators are the innovators of the future who bring fresh ideas and technologies to existing biomedical research problems, and they pioneer new areas of investigation. NIMHD views the supplement program as an opportunity to contribute to the new investigator cohort. A mentored research experience for postdoctoral and investigator level candidates can provide a foundation for the development of a well-trained and diverse research workforce and is a strong predictor of retention in a research career. NIMHD strongly encourages that all diversity supplement applications be for postdoctoral fellows and/or junior faculty level candidates.


NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences;
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:
    1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs.
    2. Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
      The disadvantaged background category (C1 and C2) refers to the financial and educational status of individuals while residing in the United States, and is only applicable to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates.


The NIMHD strongly encourages that Diversity Supplement and Re-Entry Supplement applications be submitted using the following methods for each specific type of award: Grants and Cooperative Agreements through eRA Commons. Please refer to PA-16-288 and PA-16-289.

Investigators planning to apply are highly encouraged to consult the program official responsible for the parent grant prior to submitting an application.

All requests for a supplement award must include the following items:

  1. Summary or abstract and specific aims of the funded parent grant
  2. Candidate eligibility statement
  3. Career level requested (e.g. post doctoral; investigator level)
  4. Proposed period of support
  5. Biographical Sketch of Principal Investigator (PI) and candidate
  6. Candidate statement (summary from candidate outlining career goals)
  7. Research environment
  8. Proposed budget and justification
  9. Research Plan
  10. Mentorship Plan
  11. Career development Plan

Components of the research, mentorship and career development plan are described in more detail below:

Research Plan

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A description of the specific research project. The Research Plan must be within the original scope of the parent award; present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the individual's career; and significantly enhance the individual's research potential, while furthering the individual's ability to pursue a research career. Note: projects or specific aims deleted during the initial peer review of the parent grant may not be proposed as the research basis for research supplement support.

Career Development Plan

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The expectation is that the PI will prepare a detailed Career Development Plan that will include objectives, benchmarks, and associated timelines.

The PI of the parent grant should describe how the research experience will foster the research capabilities of the candidate and explain how the research experience is related to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant.

The Career Development Plan should also include plans for transition to the next stage of the candidate’s career level. A projected timeline delineating specific research milestones and other activities (e.g. timeframe for development and submission of an independent research application, type of grant application, anticipated publications, grantsmanship workshops, training in responsible conduct of research and ethical conduct of research and training in animal and human subjects' protection, if applicable.

Mentorship Plan

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The PI should describe in detail how he/she will assist the candidate in achieving the objectives and goals outlined in the supplement application.

The Mentorship Plan should include specific parameters such as the frequency of meetings, topics to be discussed, and how progress will be monitored should be documented in the application. The PI should provide evidence of mentoring experience and success (e.g., a list of past trainees and their current positions). If the PI is a junior faculty member, it may be appropriate to include an experienced co-mentor in the application.

Duration of Support

NIMHD will allow no more than 2 years of support. At the time of the application, the parent grant must have at least 2 years or more remaining.

Receipt, Administrative Review and Award Dates

Applications may be submitted at any time. Applications will be administratively reviewed four times per year, with quarterly award cycles shown below. Investigators are encouraged to submit applications at least four months prior to the requested start date. To ensure next available review, applications should be submitted at least two months prior to the last calendar day of the review month. Applications received 30 or fewer days prior to the next review may be held until the subsequent review month. Applications received after June 30th will be processed and considered for funding in the first quarter of the following fiscal year that begins on October 1st.

Application Submission Internal Review Earliest Award Month
October-December (Q1) January-February March (Q2)
January-March (Q2) April-May June (Q3)
April-June (Q3) July-August September (Q4)
July-September (Q4) October-November December (Q1)

Administrative Review and Award Process

Upon receipt of the application through eRA commons, the Grants Management Branch (GMB) will review to ensure that there is an active eligible parent grant with at least two years left in its project period, budgets are no more than the parent grant, and that the proposed supplement’s end date is within the competitive segment of the parent grant.

The program official will ensure that the required documents listed above have been submitted. The program official with then prepare a summary of the supplement application with his or her recommendations and forward to the NIMHD Diversity Supplement Committee (DSC). The Committee will conduct an administrative evaluation based on scientific merit of research project and training potential of the candidate. Note, applications may be deferred for additional or more detailed information from the investigator if deemed necessary. Recommendations will be sent to the Director of NIMHD for final approval. No commitments should be made before receipt of the official Notice of Award (NoA) from NIMHD.

Post Award

Annual supplement progress reports must be submitted each year at the time of submission of the parent progress report through the research performance progress report (RPPR).

Please note:

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The diversity supplement program is designed to attract individuals from underrepresented groups into research careers and are not intended to provide an alternative or additional means of supporting individuals who already have support from an NIH research grant, an NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA), or any other DHHS funding mechanism. Individuals may not be transferred to a supplement to increase the availability of funds to the parent grant for other uses. These awards are not transportable to another institution or transferrable to another individual. These awards cannot be used to expand the original scope of the parent grant.