Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
March 8, 2012


This document describes the new procedure that grantees must use when submitting requests for administrative supplements. Administrative supplements are used by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to add funds to a grant or cooperative agreement for defined purposes that do not expand a project's scientific scope. Prior approval from the NHLBI is required before the submission of an administrative supplement request.

Please note that the NHLBI policy on administrative supplements has not changed. Only the process by which administrative supplements are submitted has changed, as described below.


On Feb. 8, 2012, NIH published a program announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (PA-12-100) entitled “Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp)”. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) allows grantees to electronically submit administrative supplement requests through or through the eRA Commons for grant application activity codes that have transitioned to electronic submissionimage of PDF icon (41 KB). Activity codes that have not transitioned will continue to apply on paper, using the PHS 398 forms as described below.


Administrative supplements are funds awarded above study section-recommended levels. Consideration is restricted for increased costs due to unforeseen circumstances in high priority research programs. Consistent with past policies of the NHLBI, it is anticipated that NHLBI administrative supplements will be awarded only under rare circumstances.

Grantees may not request additional funds if the unforeseen costs can be paid for by rebudgeting funds or from utilization of unobligated balances from prior year awards. Administrative supplements cannot pay for increased costs due to an investigator's transfer or promotion, nor can they be used to expand research aims.

No request will be accepted for consideration without prior approval from NHLBI. Grantees who wish to submit supplement applications under this announcement must obtain written approval from the NHLBI program official and the grants management specialist assigned to the grant. This written approval must accompany the supplement application at the time of submission.

Administrative supplements do not undergo peer review. Instead, they are reviewed by NHLBI program and grants management staff. In some cases, additional expertise may be called upon to assist in the review. Administrative supplemental requests above $250,000 in direct costs will also be reviewed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council.

The following are examples of supplemental requests that might be considered for funding:

  • Preservation of a unique research material or resource that may otherwise be lost, such as maintaining a unique knockout mouse model.

  • Addition of patients, populations, or other items related to a protocol due to enrollment issues, a need for statistically significant data, or responses to protocol and data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) reviews.

  • Provision for an orderly termination or temporary continuation of support to prevent loss of research resources or hardship of personnel, which includes taking advantage of a rare event with an immediate need, such as salvaging a rare animal model.

  • Replacement of equipment, supplies, and time lost due to a natural disaster.

Administrative supplements may not pay for a principal investigator (PI) to move in a new scientific direction, to obtain preliminary data for another contemplated research effort, or to use a new technology or an animal model not specified in the application. If additional funds are needed for such purposes, investigators should apply for another grant.

Requests must stay within the original Council-approved scope of the research. If grantees need additional funds for an expansion in project scope, they should request a revision (competing supplement) rather than an administrative supplement. Revision applications undergo the same peer review process as regular competing applications. They are usually peer reviewed by the initial review group that reviewed the parent grant application. For further information, please contact your program official.  


  1. The PI should contact the NHLBI program official or grants management specialist that are listed on the Notice of Award to discuss a possible administrative supplement.

  2. The Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) must verify that the required financial reporting for the grant is up to date.

  3. The PI and AOR may only submit the administrative supplemental request after receiving an email approval from the NHLBI.

  4. The following details must be included with the request:

    • Reason for the request and justification for the funds

    • Detailed budget and composite budget page if more than one year of supplemental support is requested

    • Biographical sketch and human subjects documentation (if applicable) for any new key personnel

    • The written approval to submit the administrative supplement from the NHLBI

  5. The grantee should determine the appropriate method to use for the request.

    • There are two options if the parent award type (such as R01) has made the transition to electronic submission:

      • Apply electronically through

        • Use the Apply for Grant Electronically button provided in the parent FOA, “Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (PA-12-100).”

        • Follow the SF 424 instructions for supplement requests.

      • Apply electronically through the eRA Commons

        • Log in to the eRA Commons, go to the Admin Supp tab, and choose “Initiate Request”

        • Follow instructions in the eRA Commons Administrative Supplement User Guide

    • If the parent award type has not made the transition to electronic submission:

      • Apply on paper using the PHS 398 forms

        • On the face page, note the administrative supplement PA title and number from the FOA above

        • Your AOR should mail the signed original, the checklist, and two signed photocopies directly to your NHLBI grants management specialist


For specific questions about administrative supplements, contact the program official or grants management specialist for the grant.

For general questions about administrative supplements contact:

Ms. Ryan Lombardi
Office of Grants Management
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health


Last Updated March 2012

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