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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About: Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Diversity Supplements)

This FAQ document is a summary of guidelines and policies that NIDA and the NIH have established on research supplements for underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.  It is not intended to replace the NIH-issued PA-16-288.  NIDA strongly urges anyone interested in applying for funding through this NIDA research supplements program to use the NIDA FAQs and NIDA Instructions to Principal Investigators for NIDA-specific guidance.

What are Diversity Supplements?  Diversity supplements are administrative supplements sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), intended to enhance the number of underrepresented scientists in biomedical and behavioral research.  Funding is provided to existing NIH research grants to support underrepresented individuals (persons of eligible ethnic minority status, individuals with disabilities, and individuals of disadvantaged backgrounds) to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral research sciences.

Who is eligible to apply for Diversity Supplements?   NIDA principal investigators who hold active R, P, or related series grants are eligible to apply for diversity supplement funding to support training for proposed candidates.  There are restrictions on some grant mechanisms (e.g. R03, R15, R21, R24/R25, R43/R44, P20/P30, U-series, etc.  Contact Pamela Goodlow for details regarding eligible grant mechanisms.) In addition, see the NIH Guidelines for details http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-288.html).

In terms of eligibility, who can receive Diversity Supplement Funding through NIDA?  Undergraduate, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and independent investigators who belong to ethnic or racial groups determined by NIDA and the NIH to be underrepresented nationally in biomedical or behavioral research are eligible to receive diversity supplements.  Specifically, African American, Hispanic American American Indian and Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islander applicants will be given preference.  Individuals with disabilities (physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities) are eligible to receive diversity supplements, and persons from certain “disadvantaged” backgrounds may be eligible as wellCandidates for diversity supplements must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and must not be recipients of current Public Health Service (PHS) funding support at the time of application.  In addition, diversity supplement candidates may not be removed from PHS funding to be supported by a diversity supplement.

What types (levels) of support are available through the Diversity Supplements program?  Support is available at the undergraduate, pre-doctoral/graduate school (including medical school), postdoctoral, and investigator levels.  Each level has its own eligibility, review and funding criteria.  See NIH Guide for details http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-288.html

How much support (funding) am I eligible to receive?  NIDA has established salary and other direct costs for minority supplements funded by the Institute, determined by the eligibility level of the minority candidate:

  • Undergraduate: up to $12.00/hr.*
  • Pre-doctoral: up to $28,000/yr. total, for salary, fringe benefits, and/or tuition remission.*
  • Postdoctoral: up to $50,000/yr.*
  • Investigator: up to $60,000/yr.*

*For all levels of support, up to $1,000/yr. may be requested for “general supplies,” and up to $1,500/yr. may be requested for conference/meetings travel.

How long can I receive support from the Diversity Supplements program?  In general, a diversity supplement recipient is eligible to receive up to five years total funding support through the NIH Diversity Supplements program.  Recipients of past diversity (minority/disability) supplement funding, including from NIH institutes other than NIDA are eligible to apply for NIDA funding, if total NIH support does not exceed five years.  Postdoctoral and investigator-level candidates are restricted to two years total support from NIDA.

Who do I contact at NIDA if interested in applying for Diversity Supplements?  NIDA’s Office of Diversity and Health Disparities is the coordinating office.  Contact Pamela Goodlow at:  301-435-0925, or pg46n@nih.gov.

When can applications be sent to NIDA?  Are there special submission dates?  Applications for diversity supplements may be submitted to NIDA from October 1 – April 30th of each year.

What Is the Review Procedure for NIDA Diversity Supplements?  Diversity supplement applications submitted to NIDA are reviewed by NIDA program divisions, and by an internal review committee of NIDA research program officials. Reviews are held monthly.  Factors considered most significant in determining an application’s likelihood for approval and funding are:

  • quality and extensiveness of the mentoring/career development plan for the candidate (including plans to pursue independent funding, publication submission, and career advancement);
  • quality of the research experience the candidate will obtain during the proposed supplement period and its relationship to the parent grant. Research training/experiences proposed for the candidate must fall within the scope of research conducted on the applicant parent research.
  • Evidence that the candidate intends to pursue an independent research career in drug abuse research as the major focus area.

What are the most common reasons applications are not supported for funding?

  • Candidate ineligibility (non-U.S. citizenship or permanent residency; status on PHS-funded projects; etc.)
  • Proposed research for the candidate exceeds the scope of, or is not related to the parent grant  research;
  • Absence of a strong, detailed mentoring/career development plan for the candidate;
  • Depletion of available funding.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my application once it is sent to NIDA for consideration?  It takes approximately ten weeks from receipt of the application in NIDA’s Office of Diversity and Health Disparities until a funding decision is made.  NIDA’s review committee makes every effort to ensure funding decisions on applications are made as expeditiously as possible.

How can I find out more about the NIH Diversity Supplements program?  Complete information about the NIH diversity supplements program can be found in the NIH program announcement Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, NIH Guide, PA-16-288.

This page was last updated August 2016