SUP Supplements to Promote Diversity in Research and Development Small Businesses-SBIR/STTR

Administrative supplements to active NIH SBIR/STTR grants to enhance the diversity of the research workforce and increase the participation of women and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in small businesses.

Program Announcement

Intended Appointee
Undergraduate/post-baccalaureate; graduate/clinical doctorate; postdoctorate/residency; early career investigators; U.S. citizens or permanent residents; individuals from diverse backgrounds

Institution Eligibility
U.S. small business concerns

Additional Information
The supplementary information on this page applies to applications requesting selected research supplements to active National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) SBIR/STTR 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.

Prior to submission of an application, the Principal Investigator (Applicant) should contact Taryn Aubrecht ( and the program officer on their parent award to discuss the proposed supplement. Critical issues to be discussed with program may include, but are not limited to, the research development and mentoring plan activities.

On this page, find information on:

Supplement Format

At the time of supplement application, the parent grant must have a reasonable period of time remaining at the time of possible award (generally greater than 6 months) to support an optimal career development experience for the candidate.  NINDS rarely awards supplements to grants with less than than 6 months remaining in the period of performance. NINDS does not award diversity supplements to grants in a no-cost-extension.

A parent award may support more than one individual on a supplement; however, each request must be strongly justified and include assurances that each candidate will receive appropriate mentoring. Detailed information regarding this policy can be found here: NINDS Will Consider the Support of More Than One Mentee per Parent Grant

Eligibility for the PA

PD(s)/PI(s) are encouraged to consider administrative supplements under this program at the following career levels: undergraduate students, baccalaureate and master’s degree holders, graduate (predoctoral) and health professional students, individuals in postdoctoral training, and investigators developing independent research careers.

For the purpose of this announcement, small business concerns (SBCs) are encouraged to identify individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from nationally underrepresented groups, as defined in the NIH Notice of Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031), women and/or socially and economically disadvantaged candidates. For the purpose of this NOFO, the NIH is utilizing the SBA definition of socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. A signed statement from the PD(s)/PI(s) and a business official establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program must include clearly presented information on citizenship, and other eligibility criteria. The strength of an institution's description and justification for the appointment of an identified candidate will be judged along with all other aspects of the proposed experience.

Supplemental awards under this announcement are limited to citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or to individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (i.e., in possession of a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551). This program may not be used to provide technical support to NIH-supported investigators.

Application Content, Submission, Review, and Award of Applications

The Research and Career Plan (limit 8 pages) 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 and entrepreneurial 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 career development, and that it will further the individual's entrepreneurial capabilities.
  • 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 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. The PA requires that the PI describe how the mentored research experiences will expand and foster the research and entrepreneurial capabilities of the candidate and how they relate to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant.
      • 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 diverse backgrounds, including those 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 timeline for the research and career development activities is required for investigators, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, post baccalaureate students and undergraduates.
      • A discussion of how the mentor and trainee will utilize resources, local or otherwise, to allow the trainee to develop an entrepreneurial network beyond the small business concern.

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.
  • 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 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, particularly those returning to academia following the period at the SBC are encouraged to submit career stage-appropriate grant applications during or at the end of the period of support.

Home Institution Approval

  • For candidates who are transitioning from working under NIH RPG (e.g. R01) support, and if the candidate plans to return to RPG support following the supplement time period, an appropriately signed letter from an institutional official at the academic institution must also be submitted. This should include 1) the grant number and PI for the RPG currently supporting the trainee, and 2) a clear plan for this transition.

Letters of Support

  • For candidates who are transitioning from working under NIH RPG (e.g. R01) support, and if the candidate plans to return to RPG following the supplement time period, the PI of this RPG should include a letter of support for this transition which includes an understanding of the time commitment the trainee will be expected to fulfill at the small business concern were this supplement to be awarded.

Submission and Receipt of Applications

Prior to submission of an application, the Principal Investigator (Applicant) should contact Taryn Aubrecht ( and the Program Official on the parent award. Funding decisions for supplement applications will be made on a rolling basis throughout the year.

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. As stated in NOT-OD-18-111, NIH requires all applications for diversity supplements to be submitted electronically as of January 25, 2018.

There are several options available to electronically submit Diversity Supplement applications. These include NIH ASSIST, institutional system-to-system (S2S), and Workspace. NIH also 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, please see the eRA Commons user guide.

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 career progress of the candidate
  3. The availability of funds.



    Taryn Aubrecht | Health Program Specialist



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