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 Announcement (FOA) PA-21-071 

Applications for FY 2023 will be accepted up until May 9, 2023

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? Post-Baccalaureates: The salary for baccalaureate holders should be reasonable and consistent with the institutional salary policies and cannot exceed the compensation allowed for graduate students (see PA-21-071). 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 guidelines for stipends. The number of years of experience as a post-doctoral candidate/trainee must be identified in the application. Salary for candidates at the post-doctoral level is determined by the number of full years of postdoctoral experience as indicated in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) guidelines for stipends. Budget plans for early-career investigators up to $85,000/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). Salary requested must approximate the percentage effort dedicated on the parent project, commensurate with the institution’s base salary. Fringe benefits must be included in the budget and cannot be used for salary support. The diversity supplement can cover tuition costs up to the NRSA level for pre-docs at the parent grant university.

Research and travel support by career level:

  • Post-Baccalaureates: Up to $3,000/year may be requested to support “general supplies” and conference/meetings travel for the candidate.
  • Pre-doctoral Students: Up to $4,000/year may be requested to support “general supplies” and conference/meetings travel for the candidate.
  • Post-doctoral Fellows: Up to $6,000/year may be requested to support “general supplies” and conference/meetings travel for the candidate.
  • Early-Career Investigators: Up to $10,000/year may be requested to support “general supplies” and conference/meetings travel for the candidate.

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 Announcement (FOA) PA-21-071.