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Procedures for NINDS Diversity Supplements

Diversity supplements are funds added to an existing grant to increase the participation of scientists from underrepresented groups in biomedical research. NINDS will support more than one supplement per parent grant.  Detailed information regarding this policy can be found here:


This supplementary information applies to applications requesting selected research supplements to active National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) grants. Its purpose is to clarify the application process for NINDS grantees and is not intended to replace the detailed information in the program announcement:

At the time of a supplement application the parent grant must have a reasonable period of time remaining at the time of possible award to support an optimal career development experience for the candidate.  We do not award diversity supplements to grants in a no-cost extension. For information on allowable costs for salaries and indirect costs, please visit the following link:

Prior to submission of an application, the Principal Investigator (Applicant) should contact the Program Director responsible for the supplements to discuss the proposed supplement. Critical issues to be discussed with the PD may also include, but are not limited to, the research development and mentoring plan activities.

Michelle D. Jones-London, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity Training and Workforce Development
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH
Office of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity
Telephone: (301) 451-7966

Eligibility for the PA:  PD(s)/PI(s) are encouraged to consider administrative supplements under this program at the following career levels: high school students, undergraduate students, baccalaureate and master’s degree holders, graduate (predoctoral) and health professional students, individuals in postdoctoral training, and investigators developing independent research careers. All categories for diversity supplement should define their eligibility for the PA in the form of a letter signed by the PI and countersigned by an Institution official.

For the diversity supplement program, NINDS accepts any applicant that is determined to be underrepresented by the Grantee institution. The determination is usually supported by statistical or quantitative evidence of the underrepresentation of that particular group in biomedical or behavioral research at that institute or in the scientific research community (many use NSF statistical data).

For supplements to support individuals with disabilities, the application should include a statement providing information on the disability signed by the PI and countersigned by an Institution official.

Specifically for the Investigator level, appropriate use and eligibility for the program are described below :

  • Short-term Investigator Research Supplement: Examples of this may include diverse researchers at teaching-intensive schools who wish to pursue summer or another portion of the academic year research experiences in ongoing projects while further developing their own research potential, to enhance their research skills and establish an independent research career. Candidates with a history of previously funded R awards are not eligible for this supplement.
  • Long-term Investigator Research Supplement: The expectation is that at the junior faculty level for a supplement request, candidates will be recently appointed (within 24 months) and the project will enhance his or her ability to compete for independent grant support.  The applicant should provide clear justification for the need of the supplement and the barriers or feasibility issues that make submission of individual awards such as a K or R not a competitive strategy at the current time. Candidates with a history of previously funded R awards are not eligible for this supplement.

Application Content, Submission, Review, and Award of Applications

PIs should read the program announcement (under Application and Submission Information) for what to include in a supplement request. See below for further details and additional information that NINDS requires.

NINDS eight page guideline for the research and career plan which includes:

  • Summary of the Funded Grant or Project: A brief description of the Parent Grant specific aims must be provided. 

  • Description of the Research Project for the Supplementee: The PA requires that the PI describe how the mentored research experiences will expand and foster the research capabilities of the candidate and how they relate to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant. Diversity Supplement awards must be within the scope of the parent grant. The research plan should present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the individual's research development, and that it will significantly enhance the individual's research potential, while furthering the individual's ability to pursue a research career.

  • Career Development Plan: An appropriate career development/mentorship plan for the candidate must be included in the application. The expectation is that the PI will prepare a detailed career development/mentorship plan that will include objectives and associated timelines for helping the candidate make the transition to the next stage of his/her research career. Required components of the career development plan include:

    • Details of mentor-candidate interactions should be included. The plan should go well beyond simple laboratory assignments and supervision plans or stating that the candidate will attend seminars or lab meetings. The career development plan should be structured, specific and stage-appropriate for the candidate and include parameters such as the frequency of meetings, topics to be discussed, and how progress will be monitored.
    • A projected time line delineating specific research milestones and other activities that will be made in an attempt to secure independent research funding (i.e., anticipated publications, grantsmanship workshops, timeframe for grant submissions and type of independent research support the candidate seeks).
    • The PI must describe how he/she will assist the candidate in achieving the objectives and goals they have described in their candidate statement (see below).
    • The plan should take into account the typical barriers and impediments encountered by all trainees, as well as the unique challenges that individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, or individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds may encounter in gaining entry and progressing in the biomedical workforce.
    • A time line for the research and career development activities is required for investigators, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, post baccalaureate students and undergraduates.

The PI mentoring experience, candidate statement, eligibility letter, biosketches and recommendations are not counted against the 8 page limit.

Mentoring Experience of the PI: All applicants should describe their experience and track record as a mentor.

    • The PI should provide evidence of mentoring experience and success, e.g. a list of past trainees and their current positions. If the PI is a junior faculty member, it may be appropriate to include an experienced co-mentor in the development plan.
    • In addition, if the PI has previously been awarded a research supplement(s), he/she must describe: a) the outcome of the previous supplement(s) including the current status of the candidate(s) (i.e., title of current position and name of institution); b) the outcomes of the prior development/mentorship plan; c) any unexpected positive or negative occurrences that affected specific aspects of the development/mentorship plan or success of the candidate(s); and d) how these prior experiences influenced the development/mentorship plan proposed for the current candidate(s).
    • The role of other investigators who will contribute to the research mentoring should be described in the application and their biosketches must be included with the application.

Candidate Statement: As required by the PA, the personal statement in the candidate's biosketch must outline short- and long-term research objectives and career goals. The candidate must describe how the planned activities are related to or will facilitate achievement of their career goals. Candidates are expected to submit career stage-appropriate grant applications during or at the end of the period of support. For example, if awarded a total of two years, one of the NINDS Special Terms and Conditions included on the Notice of Grant Award will state that the next budget period support for the supplementee is contingent upon the submission of a competitive National Research Service Award (NRSA) or an equivalent form of fellowship support before the next year funds will be released. Thus a candidate's statement should include plans for the development and submission of such applications.

Transcript Requirements/References/Letters of Support: References/letters of support are optional but may be included in the supplement application

A strong emphasis is placed on the GPA as it is a reflection of academic performance. Only for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, post-master's, medical students or graduate students:

  • Provide scanned copy of most recent transcript along with application
  • If the student's full SSN appears on the transcript, block out all but the last 4 digits.

Submission and Receipt of Applications

Funding decisions for supplement applications will only be made three times a year, namely by the end of March, June, and December.

Application Receipt Date Final Funding Decision
November 16th to February 15th March
February 16th to May 15th June
August 1st to November 15th December

Applications received after the cycle cut-off date will be processed and considered for funding in the next funding cycle, i.e., receipt after February 15th, would mean review in June.

In making requests, the grantee institution, on behalf of the PI of the parent grant and in cooperation with the applicant individual, must submit the request for supplemental funds. It is recommended that the request be sent by either 1) electronic submission via eRA Commons  or 2) by emailing a PDF file.

1)  Electronic Submissions: NIH now offers a streamlined system through the eRA Commons for submitting administrative supplements. Login to the eRA Commons, identify the parent award, and prepare an administrative supplement request. All candidates for supplemental diversity award support must also have a profile in the eRA Commons.

Include the candidate’s eRA Commons Username and attach the Research Experience Plan (described below in the PHS 398 Research Plan Form), Candidate Biosketch (described in the Senior/Key Personnel Form, also called the Applicant Biosketch), and the Candidate Eligibility Statement (described in Other Project Information/Appendix, also called the Applicant Eligibility Statement) in the fields provided. Although only one candidate may be supported under each request submitted using this system, grantees may submit multiple requests on the same parent award.

Budget information should be entered for the grantee institution in the fields provided. There is no template or form available for subaward information; instead, all subaward information should be included as a separate attachment showing the funds requested (by budget period) using the same categories provided for the grantee institution. Also include a budget justification for the subawardee institution in the same file.

For more guidance on option 1, please see the FOA: PA-16-288 and eRA Commons user guide:

2)  Email submissions: The NINDS accepts the submission of Diversity Supplement applications as a single PDF electronic file.
Electronic files of the application elements from the PHS 398 application package are available from the NIH Website at: The application must be a scanned PDF document so that the appropriate signature of the authorized institutional representative is clearly legible. All elements of the application, including elements not available for download from the PHS 398 application package, namely, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. should be scanned as PDF files and included in the application as a single PDF file. The subject line of the email must contain only the phrase, "NINDS DIVERSITY SUPPLEMENT APPLICATION PDF" - all in caps.

Complete applications using option 2 (email submission) should be sent to:

Review and Award of Applications
Funding decisions are generally dependent on: (1) the merit of the application and the proposed project activities (i.e., the career development/mentorship plan); (2) the potential for continued research progress of the candidate; and (3) the availability of funds.

Last Modified October 6, 2016