NIH’s Research Supplements to Promote Diversity
Funding Opportunity Announcement Number: PA-21-071
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The NIH provides funding (referred as Diversity Supplements) to attract trainees and faculty from underrepresented groups to research careers. These diversity supplements:
- Work within the scope of original NIH-supported grant project. The Principal Investigator must hold NIH research grants (R01, P01, etc.) with remaining support, usually two years or more.
- Support Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholars / Fellows as well as other career stages from underrepresented groups (see more information below and PA-21-071)
- Receive administrative review instead of peer review
- Provide salary support for named candidates that are citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or to individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (i.e., in possession of a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551)
Access the Diversity Supplement Proposal Library (read-only).
If you have questions, please email Crystal Botham (email@example.com).
Underrepresented Populations in the U.S. Biomedical, Clinical, Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Enterprise
Diversity eligibility varies by NIH Institute; some go by strict NIH definitions and some defer to institutions to define “underrepresented” for a specific population. Contact the relevant Program Officer (available here) to confirm your trainee’s eligibility early in the process.
Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031) summarizes populations underrepresented in the scientific workforce. Any individuals from groups demonstrated to be underrepresented from groups that are not described below should contact relevant program officers to determine eligibility.
A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27) and the report 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: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in NIH programs to enhance diversity. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-1997-10-30/html/97-28653.htm).
B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data at, https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/static/data/tab7-5.pdf.
C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meettwo or more of the following criteria:
- Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Definition:https://nche.ed.gov/mckinney-vento/);
- Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families (Definition:https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/foster-care);
- Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years (Definition:https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/income-eligibility-guidelines);
- Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (seehttps://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018009.pdf);
- Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants (Definition:https://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/eligibility.html);
- Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child (Definition:https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements).
- Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer (https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health),or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas (qualifying zipcodes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.
Students from low socioeconomic (SES) status backgrounds have been shown to obtain bachelor’s and advanced degrees at significantly lower rates than students from middle and high SES groups (see https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tva.asp), and are subsequently less likely to be represented in biomedical research. For background see Department of Education data at, https://nces.ed.gov/; https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tva.asp; https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/advancing-diversity-inclusion.pdf.
D. Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., From the NIH: A Systems Approach to Increasing the Diversity of Biomedical Research Workforcehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008902/ ).
Women have been shown to be underrepresented in doctorate-granting research institutions at senior faculty levels in most biomedical-relevant disciplines, and may also be underrepresented at other faculty levels in some scientific disciplines (See data from the National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, special report available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/, especially Table 9-23, describing science, engineering, and health doctorate holders employed in universities and 4-year colleges, by broad occupation, sex, years since doctorate, and faculty rank).
Upon review of NSF data, and scientific discipline or field related data, NIH encourages institutions to consider women for faculty-level, diversity-targeted programs to address faculty recruitment, appointment, retention or advancement.
Identifying an eligible NIH-supported grant project
Principal Investigators who hold active NIH R01, R21, R03, R25, DP2, P01, U01, U54 (see the full list here: PA-21-071) are generally eligible to request a Diversity Supplement. Eligibility for Diversity Supplements does vary by Institute so refer to the Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts before preparing your proposal.
Most Institutes require that at the time of a supplemental award, the parent award must have support remaining for a reasonable period (usually two years or more). The proposed project and budget periods for the Diversity Supplement must be within the currently approved project period for the existing parent award. Diversity Supplements must support work within the original scope of the NIH-supported grant project.
Identifying an eligible career stage
NIH provides research opportunities for qualified individuals at most career levels, see below. Note that some NIH Institutes / Centers (ICs) do not accept applications for all candidate career stages.
- High School Students currently enrolled and in good standing at their high school
- Undergraduate Students with a desire to pursue research training in health-related sciences may participate in a research project during the summer months and/or the academic year. The student may be affiliated with either the applicant institution or another academic institution
- Baccalaureate Students and Master’s Degree Holders who wish to pursue research training while applying for admission to graduate or medical school. The duration is normally 1 year, by the research experience can be extended for an additional year.
- Graduate (Predoctoral) Studentsand Health Professional Students who are completing graduate/health professional degrees (e.g., PhD, MD, DDS, DVM, etc.). Students who are supported by a T32 Institutional Kirschstein-NRSA) may not be transferred to supplemental support prior to the completion of their appointed period of training.
- Postdoctoral scholars / Fellows preparing for independent careers in health-related research. Postdocs who are supported by a T32 Institutional Kirschstein-NRSA) may not be transferred to supplemental support prior to the completion of their appointed period of training. In addition, individuals may not be transferred to a supplement to increase the availability of funds to the parent grant for other uses.
- Faculty who wish to participate in ongoing research projects while further developing their own independent research potential.
- Established investigators who are or become disabled may request funds for reasonable accommodations to permit completion of the currently funded research project. Support may include special equipment, an assistant, or other modifications to facilitate reasonable accommodation to a disabling injury or illness that has occurred during the current project period.
Supplemental awards under this announcement are limited to citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or to individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (i.e., in possession of a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551). This program may not be used to provide technical support to NIH-supported investigators.
Contacting Relevant Program Officers
First, contact the Program Officer for your own NIH grant to discuss eligibility of the parent grant to have a supplement. Discuss the duration of the supplement relevant to the parent grant project period.
Second, contact the Program Officer in charge of the diversity supplement mechanism for your NIH Institute, available here. Ask about candidate eligibility, submission dates, start / end dates, and application components.
Diversity Supplement Application Requirements
Diversity Supplement Program Officers are often eager to provide guidance to increase your chances of success. Ask the relevant Program Officer (available here) about what makes for a successful application and the review priorities for the Diversity Supplements, so you know what to highlight in the application.
The Diversity Supplement application contains multiple application materials. The FOA (PA-21-071) provides general instructions but each NIH Institute may have specific information (more here https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/Diversity-Supp_contacts.html). The Diversity Supplement application requirements differ by Institute so always confirm the deadline(s) and requirements with the relevant Program Officer before you begin.
Most Diversity Supplements include the following:
- Include a summary or abstract of the funded parent award or project. Describe how the candidate’s proposed research activities relate to one or more aims of the parent project.
- Incorporate a plan for the candidate to interact with other individuals on the parent grant, to contribute intellectually to the research, and to enhance her/his research skills and knowledge regarding the selected area of biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences science.
- It must also provide evidence of a focus on the enhancement of the research capability of the student, postdoctorate, or faculty member and that the research experience is intended to provide opportunities for career development as a productive researcher.
- It must demonstrate that the PD(s)/PI(s) is willing to provide appropriate mentorship and has developed a mentoring plan to facilitate the research and career development of the candidate.
Mentoring and career development plan:
- A candidate-specific career development plan that is consistent with the goals laid out in the candidate’s personal statement;
- A description of career skills to be gained during the supplement experience and career-stage appropriate benchmarks to be reached, including but not limited to abstract and publication submissions, oral presentations and grants submissions.
- Outline of a detailed plan that will help the candidate to transition to the next education or career stage.
- Mentoring experience of the PI and description of how the mentor(s) will interact with the candidate (e.g. commitment, level of involvement, any other specific activities)
Timeline with appropriate benchmarks for both research progress and career development of candidate.
Statement of Eligibility
The application should include a signed statement from the PI and an Authorized Signing Official (your RPM if in School of Medicine) establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program. The statement must include:
- Clearly presented information on citizenship
- Information on the nature of the candidate’s disability, circumstances, background, or characteristics that confer eligibility under this program;
- For Diversity Supplements, a convincing description of how the appointment of this specific candidate will address the issue of diversity within the national scientific workforce; and,
- A description of any current or previous Public Health Service (PHS) research grant support the candidate has received, including start and end dates. State if the candidate has received any current or previous PHS support; if the candidate has, include the grant number and inclusive dates of support.
Biographical Sketch of the candidate
Provide a biographical sketch for each candidate proposed to be added through this supplement, or for whom additional funds are being requested through this supplement. The personal statement of the candidate’s biographical sketch should address: Evidence of scientific achievement or interest; Any source(s) of current funding; A statement from the candidate outlining her/his research objectives and career goals.
Biographical Sketch of Investigators Who Will Contribute to the Research Mentoring
Biosketches of mentors and other senior and key persons should provide evidence of past mentoring experience.
Submitting the Diversity Supplement
Diversity Supplements can be submitted to NIH a number of ways, which may include ASSIST or eRA Commons. Please confirm your Institute’s preferred method with the relevant Program Officer (more here https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/Diversity-Supp_contacts.html).
Deadlines and Institute websites
|National Cancer Institute (NCI)||December 1 & March 30|
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)||Continuous. All applications should arrive at least three months before the requested start date to allow time for review. Applications seeking awards before the end of a fiscal year (September 30) must be received no later than May 31.|
|National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)||At least 90 days prior to the anticipated need, and no later than May 15|
|National Institute on Aging (NIA)||Applications reviewed on a monthly cycle, though meet only once in the summer months (July and August). Generally, new applications are reviewed six to nine weeks after submission.|
|National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)||February 1 and May 1|
|National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)||Receives applications at any time and reviews them approximately four times a year (November, February, April, and May). If you want your application reviewed in one of the four listed months, submit it by the first of the preceding month.|
|National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)||Reviews applications on a continuous basis between October 1st and May 31st.|
|National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)||NIBIB Diversity Supplements
|The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)||September 15, January 15, and May 15|
|National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCH)||NIDCH Diversity Supplements
|National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)||Continuous basis until August 1|
|National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)||January 1, April 1, and June 1|
|National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)||Continuous basis|
|National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)||NIEHS Diversity Supplements
|National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)||Applications may be submitted at any time and are administratively reviewed on a continuous basis. The review process typically takes 12 weeks.|
|National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)||NIMH Diversity Supplements|
|National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)||December 1, April 1, August 1. Submit applications at least four months prior to the requested start date.|
|National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)||February 15, May 15, November 15th|
|National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)||January 15, April 15, August 15|
|National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH)||April 1, October 1|
|National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)||NCATS Diversity Supplements|
|Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)||ORIP Diversity Supplements