FAQs About Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Diversity Supplements)

This FAQ website provides sample questions and answers related to information provided in the NIH Funding Opportunity PA-21-071 

Applications to be considered for funding during FY 2023, which ends September 30, 2023, will be accepted until May 9, 2023. Any applications received after this date will be reviewed the next fiscal year. 

What are Diversity Supplements?  Diversity supplements are administrative supplements sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that are intended to improve the diversity of the research workforce by recruiting and supporting post-baccalaureate, predoctoral 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.

Which NIDA-funded Principals Investigators (PI)s are eligible apply for Diversity Supplements? NIDA principal investigators (PIs) who hold active R, P, or other types of grant awards with a minimum of 1 year of funding remaining for post-baccalaureate candidates/trainees or 2 years of funding remaining for pre-doctoral candidates/trainees or 18 months of funding remaining for post-doctoral or investigator-level candidates/trainees are eligible to submit an application on behalf of a candidate/trainee from a group that is underrepresented in health-related research.

Grant mechanisms/activity types eligible for a Diversity Supplement are:
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, R42, R55, R56, R61, RC1, RC2, RC3, RC4, RF1, RL1, RL2, RM1, SC2, 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

Who can receive Diversity Supplement support through NIDA?  Postbaccalaureates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and independent investigators who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. Additionally, individuals with disabilities or those from disadvantaged backgrounds are also eligible. Definitions and additional information regarding eligibility can be found in PA-21-071.

What types (levels) of support are available through the NIDA Diversity Supplements program? Support is available at the post-baccalaureate, pre-­doctoral/graduate school (including medical school), postdoctoral, and investigator levels. The program no longer supports Master’s level trainees.

How much support (funding) am I eligible to receive? 
Salary and Fringe Support by Career Level:

  • Post-Baccalaureates: Must be consistent with applicant Institutional salary policies, but cannot exceed $35,000/yr total for both salary and fringe benefits. Fringe benefits must be itemized in the budget.
  • Pre-doctoral Students: Must be consistent with applicant institutional salary policies, but total compensation (salary, fringe benefits, and tuition remission) cannot exceed zero level Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NSRA) postdoc stipend in effect at the time of appointment (see NOT-OD-23-076). The diversity supplement can cover tuition costs up to the NRSA level for pre-docs at the parent grant university. Fringe benefits must be itemized in the budget.
  • Post-doctoral Fellows: Must be in accordance with the salary structure of the grantee institution and consistent with the level of effort.  However, requested salary cannot exceed the NRSA stipend level listed for the number of years of experience the applicant has at the time of appointment (see NOT-OD-23-076). The number of years of experience as a post-doctoral candidate/trainee must be identified in the application. Fringe benefits must be included itemized in the budget.
  • Early-Career Investigators: Must be consistent with applicant Institutional salary policies, but cannot exceed $85,000/yr in salary support.   Early-career investigators must request at least 9 person months (equivalent to 75% effort) on the supplement project during each 12-month budget period.  Application must include the early-career investigator’s base salary and requested salary with effort level and fringe benefits costs.  Fringe benefits must be included itemized in the budget.
  • Tuition remission is not available for post-baccalaureates, post-doctoral students or Early-Career Investigator level trainees.

Can a candidate/trainee be placed on an NIH grant prior to receiving support from the diversity supplement? This program is not intended to provide an alternative or additional means of supporting individuals who receive support from an NIH research grant, a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (Kirschstein-NRSA), or any other PHS funding mechanism. Students who are supported by an 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.  However, individuals may be supported by the parent grant for short periods (NIDA allows up to 6 months of support on the parent grant prior to submission of a diversity supplement application), at the recipient’s risk, pending Institute/Center decision on the supplement application.  (See "Pre-Award (Pre-Agreement) Costs" in the Section 7.9.1 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement for further information).

Can graduate students or postdoctoral fellows currently supported by an institutional Kirschstein-NRSA award be supported by a diversity supplement?  If the candidate is on a NIH-funded T32 at your current intuition, they cannot start a diversity supplement until the end date the T32 appointment. They can apply for a diversity supplement in advance, but cannot terminate the T32 appointment early to start the supplement.

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 across all ICs. Recipients of past diversity 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. NIDA allows pre-doctoral students to be supported by a diversity supplement for up to 3 years. Post-baccalaureates are eligible to receive two years of NIDA support, however the second year of funding is contingent on the candidate applying to graduate school during year one of the diversity supplement award. Post-doctoral and investigator-level candidates are restricted to two years total support from NIDA. Post-docs supported by an Institute/Center (IC) other than NIDA are also eligible to apply for early-stage career support by NIDA.

Who do I contact at NIDA if interested in applying for a Diversity Supplements?  Please contact Angela Holmes, Ph.D. by phone (301-827-2487) or by email (angela.holmes2@nih.gov) with any questions you may have about the program or to discuss your plans for submitting a diversity supplement application to NIDA.

When can applications be sent to NIDA?  Are there special submission dates?  Applications for FY 2023 will be accepted until May 9, 2023.

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 staff. Reviews are held monthly and the evaluation factors listed in Section V of PA-21-071 are followed. Committee results/recommendations are shared with NIDA Program officials and applicants.

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 results/recommendations are shared with NIDA Program officials and applicants in a timely manner and subsequent funding decisions are handled expeditiously.

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 Funding Opportunity PA-21-071.