Office of Research Training, Diversity, and Disparities Newsletter, February 2024

What’s New at NIDA 

NIDA is Accepting Applications for R25 Programs!

If you are an established investigator who is passionate about developing early career scientists, consider submitting an R25 application. The purpose of the R25 mechanism is to support research education activities that:

  • Complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs
  • Enhance workforce diversity
  • Help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds
  • Foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research and its implications.

Each R25 NOFO has its own goals and specific application requirements. Individuals interested in applying should read the opportunity in its entirety and reach out to the listed Program Contacts (see Part 2, Section VII) for any questions.

See the below list of NOFOs (note AIDS application receipt dates may differ):

Providing Research Education Experiences to Enhance Inclusivity for a Diverse Substance Use and Addiction Scientific Workforce (R25 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) 
Upcoming new application due dates: May 13, 2024; August 13, 2024 

Alcohol and Other Substance Use Research Education Programs for Health Professionals (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Next new application due dates: May 25, 2024; September 25, 2024  

Summer Research Education Experience Program (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Next new application due date: March 19, 2024

NIDA Research Education Program for Clinical Researchers and Clinicians (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Next new application due dates: March 15, 2024; August 9, 2024

NIH Blueprint and BRAIN Initiative Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (BP BRAIN-ENDURE) (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Next new application due dates: February 15, 2024; February 10, 2024

NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) (R25 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
New application due dates: June 7, 2024; June 6, 2025

NIH Neuroscience Development for Advancing the Careers of a Diverse Research Workforce (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
New application due dates: September 26, 2024; September 26, 2025

See active NIDA R25 programs on the NIH REPORTER.

Inquire about NIDA Diversity Supplement Programs!

Professional and Career Development Program

Diversity supplements allow funded investigators to provide training, mentorship, and research experience to eligible students and early career investigators, and are a critical component of NIH efforts to support biomedical and behavioral research workforce diversity.  Most NIDA grant mechanisms allow for these supplements, and applications are encouraged from grantees funded through the NIH HEAL initiative and the NIH BRAIN initiative.  HEAL awardees must apply to PA-23-189 (see NOT-NS-20-107). BRAIN Initiative awardees must apply to PA-23-189  (see NOT-NS-22-012).

Diversity Supplement Programs accept applications to support scholars from various career levels including post-baccalaureates, graduate students, master’s degree holders, postdocs, and early career investigators. Please check the specifics of the announcement to ensure that the candidate is eligible.  Please use the diversity supplement FOA, PA-23-189 to apply.   PIs with HIV/AIDS-related grants are particularly encouraged to apply. The application deadline for FY2024 funding through NIDA’s main program is: May 9, 2024.

For more information on the NIDA Diversity Supplement Program please see the NIDA Diversity Supplement Program webpage, FAQs, and How to Apply.

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

For more information on NIDA Funding Opportunities, visit the Funding Opportunities at NIDA webpage. For a full list of NIH training, fellowship, career development, and research education funding opportunities including parent announcements, please visit and subscribe to the NIH Guide to Grants and Funding

R25 Program Spotlight

Drs. Lisa McFadden and Brian Burrell and the NIDA R25 grantees of the SPURA - Summer Program for Undergraduate Research in Addiction.

The ORTDD had the pleasure of interviewing NIDA R25 grantees Drs. Lisa McFadden and Brian Burrell, who lead the project entitled “SPURA - Summer Program for Undergraduate Research in Addiction.” The SPURA program provides an opportunity for undergraduates to conduct research.  This is a meaningful complement to lecture and laboratory-based course work. The program also prepares students for post-graduate training or careers in basic research or clinical disciplines. Drs. Lisa McFadden and Brian Burrell are both Professors in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the University of South Dakota. Learn more about Drs. McFadden and Burrell and their R25 program below.

  1. What is the purpose/goal of your R25 program and what makes it unique?
    Our R25 program aims to unlock the potential of a new generation of aspiring scientists and clinicians in the dynamic field of substance use and mental health research. What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to embracing the diverse tapestry of talent found in the heart of the Great Plains. By welcoming students from rural, first-generation, economically disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minority backgrounds, we create an inclusive environment where every voice is valued. Moreover, as the sole program dedicated to substance use and mental health research in our state, we stand as pioneers in driving meaningful change.
  2. What are some of the successes your program has had?
    Our program's success stories are a testament to the talented students our program attracts. Their achievements speak volumes! An astonishing 98.7% of our graduates have completed their undergraduate degrees or are excelling in their programs, with 80% pursuing advanced degrees in graduate or healthcare-related fields. Several of our scholars have been honored with prestigious national awards, including NRSAs and Truman Scholarships, showcasing the caliber of talent we nurture. Yet, beyond accolades, it's the profound sense of purpose instilled in our alumni that truly resonates. Many attest that our program has not only shaped their careers but also empowered them to make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals faced with substance use and mental health challenges.
  3. What led you to develop a research training program at your institution?
    We had a strong neuroscience group that had both an emphasis on SUD and related mental health issues and was also seriously invested in promoting undergraduate research. This, combined with the significant SUD crisis in South Dakota, provided significant motivation to begin this program. The program’s success further promoted the building of additional research instruction at the University and integrated with what became our interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe).
  4. How has being awarded an R25 grant impacted your research career?
    The R25 grant has been a game-changer, not just providing crucial funding but also unlocking a wealth of connections with brilliant mentors and collaborators across diverse fields—business, counseling, and beyond at the University of South Dakota. It has afforded us the invaluable opportunity to forge these meaningful connections with a diverse array of passionate professionals, each bringing unique insights and perspectives to the table. Their invaluable insights have fueled innovation in substance use research and education, and we are profoundly grateful for the boundless opportunities they've opened up. The grant has not only enriched our professional growth but also allowed us to pay it forward by providing invaluable mentorship to budding scholars.
  5. What is your goal for your trainees? How would you recommend prospective scholars find R25 programs like yours they can get involved with?
    Our overarching goal for our trainees goes beyond academic success – we strive to nurture energetic, compassionate, empathetic researchers equipped to tackle the complex challenges surrounding substance use and mental health. We envision our scholars emerging not only as proficient researchers but also as advocates for social change. As for prospective scholars seeking R25 programs, my advice is simple – reach out. Don't hesitate to explore program websites and contact information. We're always eager to hear from passionate individuals who are ready to embark on this transformative journey with us.
  6. Do you have any advice for investigators who want to develop an R25 program?
    Flexibility and adaptability are paramount when developing an R25 program. While a robust plan is essential, unforeseen challenges may arise (hello, pandemic!), requiring nimble responses. Additionally, embrace diversity in all its forms – from cultural backgrounds to academic disciplines. By fostering an inclusive environment that celebrates differences, you'll enrich the learning experience for all involved. Lastly, success is multifaceted and deeply personal. Embrace the unique paths of each fellow and celebrate their diverse achievements. After all, it's the collective impact of their journeys that defines the true success of the program.

Program Updates

ORTDD is thrilled to announce a special call for travel awards to a scientific conference:

  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT)
    • Application due February 23, 2024 11:59pm EST

To apply, email with the following documents in PDF format:

  1. your CV,
  2. presentation abstract, and
  3. a personal statement (1-page maximum) addressing how attending the conference will advance your career goals and how your career goals align with NIDA's strategic plan for a diverse research workforce.

Use subject line: “SRNT24 Travel Award Applicant” when submitting your application. If you have any questions about this special call, please contact Dr. Yohansa Fernandez.

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements to Support Addiction Science and Related Neuroscience Pilot Research Projects at NIMHD-Funded Research Centers in Minority Institutions

This Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) invites applications for administrative supplements to NIMHD Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) U54 awards to support pilot research projects led by early-stage investigators (ESIs) and new investigators (NIs) focused on research on substance use, addiction, and/or neuroscience, as a bridge to independently funded careers. To help achieve this goal, it is expected that pilot project PIs will prepare and submit follow-up research grant or career development applications to NIH based on the research supported by these supplemental funds. NIDA strongly encourages new investigators at RCMI institutions to reach out to Dr. Angela Holmes to inquire about this opportunity.  

Registration Now Open for the 2024 In-Person NIDA International Forum!

The NIDA International Program invites you to register for the 2024 NIDA International Forum, which will be held June 14–15, 2024, in Montreal, Canada. The Forum research symposium, poster session, and network-building activities will focus on the range and quality of drug use and addiction research conducted around the world. View the agenda.

Please note: If you submitted a research poster abstract, you are already registered for the Forum and no further action is needed. Research poster abstract selections will be announced, and travel award notices issued in March.

Register for the 2024 NIDA International Forum

Held in conjunction with the 86th Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) (June 15-19, 2024), the NIDA International Forum has a separate registration process from the CPDD meeting. For more information on the Forum, visit the 2024 NIDA International Forum website. 

Did You Know?

Dr. Ezemenari Obasi

Please join us for a NIDA Office of Research Training, Diversity, and Disparities Webinar on February 26, 2024, from 12pm-1pm ET featuring Dr. Ezemenari Obasi!

NIDA is excited to announce our third Profiles of Excellence – Focus on Diversity webinar featuring Dr. Ezemenari Obasi titled “Advancing Health Equity in Addictions Sciences: A Personal Journey and Vision for Next Steps.”

The webinar will focus on his work in the neurobiology of stress and addictions while highlighting some of the gains made through the Center of Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention while under my leadership.

This live streamed webinar will be presented with real-time captioning. If you have accessibility needs or require a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact Isabela Ellenwood within 7 business days of the event to ensure timely interpreting and accessibility services are provided.

HHS Webinar: Pathways Program 101

While students and recent grads are searching for their first or next career opportunity, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration’s Office of Human Resources is hosting a webinar for them on Pathways Programs and ways that applicants can be competitive candidates during the Pathways federal application process.

Join us for the informational virtual session on Thursday, February 8, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. ET to learn about HHS' Pathway Programs and to hear from former Pathways participants, ask your own questions, and discover the various Pathways Programs available across HHS and the federal government.

Not a student or recent grad yourself? You are still welcome to take advantage of this great opportunity and attend this event yourself so that you can share what you’ve learned with friends and family. Alternatively, feel free to share the news with students and/or recent grads that you know.

Please register for the free virtual event here: HHS Webinar: Pathways Program 101. HHS Webinar: Pathways Program 101 is brought to you by the HHS Office of Human Resources. If you have questions about this event, please email Geneita Russell at