Instructions to Principal Investigators Applying for Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Diversity Supplements) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Applications for FY 2021 will be accepted until May 11, 2021.


The Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health­ Related Research (or "Diversity Supplements") program was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the diversity of the research workforce by recruiting and supporting post-baccalaureates, pre-doctoral students, post-doctorates, and eligible investigators from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in health-related research. This supplement opportunity is also available to PD(s)/PI(s) of research grants who are or become disabled and need additional support to accommodate their disability in order to continue to work on the research project.  For more specific information, please refer to the NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PA-21-071

NIDA-specific Guidance

In addition to the information found in PA-21-071, NIDA provides the following additional guidance for Principle Investigators or Candidates/Trainees interested in applying for a Diversity Supplement award. Principle Investigators (PIs) or Candidates/Trainees are encouraged to contact Angela Holmes, Ph.D. in the NIDA Office of Diversity and Health Disparities prior to submission of an application by phone (301-827-2487) or by email ( to discuss important eligibility and timeline considerations, and the guidance provided below:

  • The PI of an eligible grant award (referred to as the "parent grant") is the applicant who submits the diversity supplement application to NIH/NIDA on behalf of a candidate/trainee who will be supported by the award.  Note:  The candidate/trainee who will be supported by the diversity supplement must have an NIH eRA Commons account.
  • There are application submission requirements that vary based on the type of grant award held by the PI (R01, P30, etc.) as described in PA-21-071.
  • For post-baccalaureate candidates/trainees, it is expected that the “parent grant” has at least 1 year of support remaining at the time an application is submitted to NIH/NIDA.
  • For pre-doctoral candidates/trainees, it is expected that the “parent grant” has at least 2 years of support remaining at the time an application is submitted to NIH/NIDA.
  • For post-doctoral candidates/trainees or early stage investigators, it is expected that the parent grant has at least 18 months of support remaining at the time an application is submitted to NIH/NIDA.
  • The diversity supplement start date will be the same as the parent grant budget start date.
  • It is expected candidates/trainees will not have been supported by a parent grant for more than 6 months at the time an application is submitted to NIH/NIDA.
  • A parent grant may support two NIDA diversity supplements, but they must be for different career stages unless both supplements are for candidates are at the pre-doctoral level.
  • All applicable page limitations are strictly enforced.  However, a 12-page Research Strategy section may be submitted for each diversity supplement application.
  • As noted in the FOA, for some activity codes (P30, for example), applications must be submitted on paper (PDF files will be accepted by email) and for other activity codes (R01, for example) applications may be submitted electronically through the PIs eRA Commons account or through (
  • The following grant mechanisms/activity types are eligible for a NIDA Diversity Supplement award: DP1, DP2, DP3, DP4, DP5, I01, I34, IP1, IU1, P01, P42, PM1, PN1, R00, R01, R03, R15, R21, R24, R29, R33, R34, R35, R36, R37, R55, R56, R61, RC1, RC2, RC3, RC4, RF1, RL1, RL2, RM1, SI2, U01, U19, U1B, U34, UA5, UC2, UC3, UC4, UC7, UF1, UG1, UG3, UH2, UH3, UM1, UM2, UP5, P20, P30, P50, P60, PL1, U54, UC7, M01, UL1, P41, U41, P40, P51, U42, G12
  • Applications must include: 1) 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, 2) evidence of a focus on the enhancement of the research capability of the underrepresented student, post-doctorate, or faculty member and that the research experience is intended to provide opportunities for development as a productive independent researcher, and 3) it must demonstrate that the PD(s)/PI(s) is willing to provide appropriate mentorship.

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found on our FAQ webpage.

Application Content Guidance

Research Strategy: Research Plan, Career Development Plan, and Mentoring Plan (12-page limit)

The following elements must be included with in the Research Strategy Section which consists of the Research Plan, Career Development Plan, and Mentoring Plan.

  • The Research Plan should address specific aims, the research proposal, preliminary data, specific skills, responsibilities, and activities that demonstrate the candidate’s increasing independence as a researcher, and any need for additional training that will result in an independent substance abuse research career. There should be a clear statement about the level of drug abuse-specific training and research experience the candidate/trainee will gain during the supplement award period.
  • It is expected that candidates at the postdoctoral or investigator level provide evidence that research proposed during the funding period will enhance overall research skills and lead directly to careers as independent drug abuse investigators.
  • A brief summary of the parent grant (typically the abstract or a summary paragraph).
  • Scope of the research planned for the Candidate - A description of the Candidate’s research must be consistent with the supplement level.
  • The plan must address how the supplement's research is related to the parent grant goals or how it is a logical extension of that research, depending on the level of the supplement.
  • The plan should describe how the proposed research experience will be an integral part of the approved, ongoing research of the parent grant.
  • While many Supplement levels require that the research be "a logical extension" of the parent grant, supplements must support work within the scope of the original project. Include a brief statement of assurance that the research delineated in the supplement is not an expansion (change in scope) requiring peer review (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement).
  • Note, NIDA allows pre-doctoral students to be supported by a diversity supplement for up to 3 years.  Post-baccalaureates will receive one year of NIDA support but can be extended to two years if the candidate is actively pursuing entry into a graduate health professional school. Post-doctoral and investigator-level candidates are restricted to two years total support from NIDA
  • A timetable for the proposed research experience, outlining the candidate’s major research and development activities by month and year, must be provided. In this section, include all proposed research and other activities (examples: publications, presentations, didactic training, if necessary, grant applications, etc.) that will augment the candidate’s research and career development during the supplement period.

Candidate/Trainee Career Development Plan

  • A detailed plan for transition to independence for the candidate must be included. The plan should incorporate activities that will result in candidate’s successful transition to an independently­ funded research training or early research career award, such as didactic training, writing and submitting grant application(s), submitting manuscripts for publication, etc.
  • It must also provide evidence of a focus on the enhancement of the research capability of the underrepresented post-baccalaureate, predoctoral student, postdoctorate, or faculty member and that the research experience is intended to provide opportunities for development as a productive researcher. The application should include a statement about the candidate’s/trainee’s career stage and the role the Diversity Supplement award would have in their career.
  • It is expected that all diversity supplement candidates apply for independent funding prior to the end of their diversity supplement award period.

Mentoring Plan

  • The mentoring plan should include activities (e.g., routine meetings, supervision in writing, publishing; etc.) supported throughout the period of funding, specifying the mentor(s) for each major research activity. Should one or more mentors be identified to work closely with the candidate, identify each mentor by name and area(s) of expertise, and provide a brief description of research training or experiences to be obtained from each. Letters of support from all mentor(s) should be included in the application. It is helpful to include the PI bio-sketch in the application package and at a minimum the application should include a description of previous mentoring experience.
  • Plans to enhance the candidate’s research capabilities should include:
    • Specific skills to be acquired during the supplement experience that will help the candidate move toward achieving her/his stated career goals
    • Milestones that will be reached during the supplement experience including those that will be undertaken in an attempt to secure independent research funding for the candidate/trainee
    • Opportunities to interact with research team, develop independence, and to acquire presentation and publication skills
    • The mentoring plan must include guidance in the ethical conduct of research (including training in animal and human subjects' protection, if applicable).
    • A plan to attend and participate in poster sessions or oral presentations in at least one scientific meeting during each year of the award
    • If the PI is a junior faculty member, it may be appropriate to include an experienced co-mentor in the development plan
    • Describe any planned outside laboratory experiences or collaborations for the Candidate

Senior/Key Personnel

  • List the PD/PI as the first person (regardless of their role on the supplement activities).
  • List the candidate proposed to be added through this supplement. Note: candidates for re-entry supplement support must have an eRA Commons account and the candidate's Commons Username must be entered in the Credential field. Do not list any other senior/key personnel on this form.
  • A Biographical Sketch should be included.  The personal statement of the candidate's biographical sketch should address:
    • Research objectives and career goals
    • Research experience prior to onset of hiatus
    • Length of and reason for career hiatus
    • A description of how the candidate has kept current or attempted to keep current in her/his field
    • Identification of any steps already taken toward re-entry (if any, such as attending scientific meetings)

Budget Section

  • Budget plans for diversity supplement applications for pre- or post-doctoral candidates/trainees must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project and should closely follow Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) guidelines for stipends (
  • Budget plans for early-career investigators can include up to $60,000/yr in salary support (note: at least 9 person months (equivalent to 75% effort) on the parent project grant is required during each 12-month period).
  • For all levels of support, up to $1,500/year may be requested under “general supplies,” and up to $1,500/year may be requested for conference/meetings travel. Salary requested must approximate the percentage effort dedicated on the parent project, commensurate with the institution’s base salary.


  • A signed statement from the PD(s)/PI(s) and an institutional official establishing the eligibility of the candidate/trainee for support under this program. 
  • When applying to the NIH Diversity Supplements FOA PA-21-071 “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)” all applicants are required to submit a Candidate Eligibility Statement that establishes the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program.  The statement must include clearly presented information on candidate’s citizenship and a description of how the appointment of this candidate will address the issue of diversity within the national scientific workforce (i.e., what underrepresented group the candidate falls into).  The strength of this statement will be considered by the NIH administrative review committee along with all other material provided.

    Part 2. Full Text of Announcement/Section I. Funding Opportunity Description/Enhancing Diversity, identifies three (3) categories of underrepresented groups (Category A, B and C). Category A and Category C contain subcategories of eligibility.  For example, Category A applies to nationally underrepresented racial/ethnic groups or racial/ethnic groups that are underrepresented in a given setting. Category C applies to individuals who are disadvantaged based on family income levels or educational status.  If candidate eligibility is based on Category A or Category C, it is essential to identify the applicable subcategory in the Candidate Eligibility Statement.  

    When candidate eligibility under Category A is not based on national underrepresentation, it is essential that the Candidate Eligibility Statement identify: (a) the racial or ethnic group of the candidate/trainee (for more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-20-031,, (b) the applicable “setting,” (c) how the racial/ethnic group is underrepresented in the this setting (note that low numerical representation is not underrepresentation), and (d) demonstrate convincingly that this particular appointment will promote diversity in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research nationally.

Application Submission Guidance

There are several ways an application for a diversity supplement can be submitted to NIH/NIDA: through ASSIST, an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution (check with institutional officials regarding availability), eRA Commons,, and paper-based method (via PDF). Please check PA-21-071 for instructions specifically aimed at the PI’s grant award mechanism (R01, P30, etc.).  ASSIST and approaches are described below.

  1. Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) system Approach
    • Go to the funding opportunity announcement webpage - PA-21-071
    • Near the top, under Required Application Instructions, click on the "Apply Online Using ASSIST" button
      Apply Online Using ASSIST” button webpage screen
    • Next, click on the "Proceed to ASSIST" button
      Proceed to ASSIST button webpage screen
    • Note, a and eRA Commons user ID are required to proceed beyond the next page.
    • If your and eRA Commons credentials are “active” you may proceed to the next page to identify PA-21-071 and begin the application process.
  2. Approach
    • Go to the funding opportunity announcement webpage - PA-21-071
    • Near the top, under Required Application Instructions, click on Go to
      Go to button screen shot
    • The link will take you to this webpage and one can then click on the "Proceed to to Download Application" button.
    • Clicking on this button will take you to the application webpage where one can download and begin working on the application by clicking on the "Apply" link under the "Actions" column.
      Select Grant Opportunity Package screen shot
    • Clicking on the "Apply" button will open a webpage summarizing information about PA-21-071 and provides an option to enter your email address for notifications about changes to PA-21-071. As indicated below, you may skip this step and proceed directly to the webpage with the application package as shown below.
      Select No to Provide Email Screen shot
      Click to use Legacy Application Method screen shot
    • The SF424 application materials are customized to each FOA. By clicking on the "Download Package" button, one can proceed to access the SF424 forms for our program announcement:
      Select Grant Application Screen shot

Program Contact Information

Thank you for your interest in the Diversity Supplements Program. Please feel free to contact Angela Holmes, Ph.D. (301-827-2487) or by email with any questions you may have about the program or to discuss your plans for submitting a diversity supplement application to NIDA.