NIMHD Research Diversity Supplement Application Guidelines

This page assists principal investigators with active NIMHD grants and cooperative agreements (hereinafter “grants”) and prospective candidates with applications for Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-23-189).

  • This additional guidance clarifies the application process and requirements for NIMHD grantees, including NIMHD-specific limitations and recommendations.
  • It is not intended to replace the detailed information in PA-23-189 and updated Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031).
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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.

These supplements are a component of NIMHD’s work to encourage and support the development of a diverse and well-trained research workforce, as outlined in the Institute’s mission. The goal of the 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 prioritizes diversity supplement applications for postdoctoral fellows and/or junior faculty level candidates.


As detailed in the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031), 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.

Individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in health-related sciences as identified by the National Science Foundation (see Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research:

  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander

Individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (see the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended).

Individuals from rural and/or disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the criteria listed in the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031).


NIMHD strongly encourages:

  • Investigators to submit their Diversity Supplement applications using the methods for each specific type of award: Grants and Cooperative Agreements through eRA Commons.
  • Investigators planning to apply to consult the program official responsible for the parent grant prior to submitting an application.

All requests for a supplement award must include:

  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 (refer to NOFO for allowable costs)
  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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Provide a description of the supplement research project using current standard SF424 R&R/PHS 398 forms (Research Strategy section limited to 6 pages):

  • The proposed research must be within the original scope of the parent award but must not be redundant with the aims already funded in the parent award.
  • Present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the candidate’s career and significantly enhances their research potential, while furthering their ability to pursue a research career.

Note: projects or specific aims deleted from the parent award by NIMHD may not be proposed as the research basis for a supplement. For new activities involving human subjects beyond what was originally approved for the parent award, include as an attachment to the Research Plan a complete Study Record with required PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information.

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 should describe how the research experience will foster the research capabilities of the candidate and explain how the research experience relates 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, such as:
    • Timeframe for development and submission of an independent research or mentored career development application.
    • Type of grant application.
    • Anticipated publications and conference presentations.
    • 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 is expected to develop strategies for mentoring the candidate in the preparation of an NIH research or career development award application.

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 and Level of Support

NIMHD will allow no more than 2 years of support. To apply for the maximum 2 years of support, the parent grant should have 2 years or more remaining at the time of the application without considering possible no cost extensions. Supplements to two-year R03 and R21 grants are not a priority for NIMHD. Total direct costs for the requested diversity supplement may not exceed $125,000 per year.

Individuals in Postdoctoral Training:
Annual salary and fringe benefits must be in accordance with the salary structure of the grantee institution, consistent with the level of effort. The requested salary may not exceed the maximum allowable NRSA stipend level for postdoctoral fellows (with comparable levels of experience) in effect at the time of appointment (go to details). In addition, the supplement budget may include up to $6,000 per year to support supplies and travel for the candidate.

Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers:
Annual salary cap is $75,000 plus fringe benefits per year. In addition, funds up to $10,000 per year may be requested for supplies and travel for the candidate.

Receipt, Review, and Award Dates

Applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year. Applications will be administratively reviewed three times per year. Investigators are encouraged to submit applications four to six months prior to the requested start date.

Application Submission deadline Internal review Estimated Award Month
November 1 November – December February
February 1 February – March May
June 1 June – July September

Review and Award Process

Upon receipt of an application through eRA commons, the Grants Management Branch will review it to ensure the:

  1. Parent award is eligible and that the number of years requested in the application is comparable to the years left in the project period.
  2. Proposed budget does not exceed the $125,000 total direct cost cap.
  3. Proposed supplement end date falls within the competitive segment of the parent award.

The program official for the parent award will ensure that the required documents listed above have been submitted. An internal administrative review will be completed based on the scientific merit of the proposed research project and the training potential for the candidate. 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:
The diversity supplement program is designed to attract diverse individuals and those 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.

Page updated Oct. 27, 2023