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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About: Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Diversity Supplements)

This FAQ document is a summary of guidelines and policies that NIDA and the NIH have established on research supplements for underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. It is not intended to replace the NIH-issued Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, NIH Guide, PA-12-149, April 6, 2012. NIDA strongly urges anyone interested in applying for funding through this NIDA research supplements program to use the NIDA FAQs and NIDA Instructions to Principal Investigators for NIDA-specific guidance.

What are Diversity Supplements?

Diversity supplements are administrative supplements sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), intended to help increase the numbers of underrepresented scientists in biomedical and behavioral research. Funding is provided to existing NIH research grants to support a minority, disabled, or disadvantaged student or investigator who wants to pursue a career in the biomedical or behavioral research sciences.

Who is eligible to apply for Diversity Supplements?

NIDA principal investigators who hold active R, P, or related series grants are eligible to apply for diversity supplement funding to support training for the diversity supplement recipient. There are restrictions on some grants (i.e., R03, R15, R21, etc. See the NIH Guidelines for details http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-12-149.html).

In terms of eligibility, who can receive Diversity Supplement Funding through NIDA?

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students, and postdoctoral and independent investigators who belong to ethnic or racial groups determined by NIDA and the NIH to be underrepresented nationally in biomedical or behavioral research are eligible to receive diversity supplements. Specifically, African American, Hispanic American, Native American and Alaskan Natives, and Pacific Islander applicants will be given preference. (NIDA will support Asian students/fellows in behavioral or clinical research with human populations.) In addition, persons with disabilities (physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities) are eligible to receive diversity supplements through NIDA. Candidates for diversity supplements must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and must not be recipients of any type of Public Health Service (PHS) funding support at the time of application.

What types (levels) of support are available through the Diversity Supplements program?

Support is available at the high school, undergraduate, predoctoral/graduate school (including medical school), postdoctoral, and investigator levels. Each level has its own eligibility, review and funding criteria. See NIH Guide for details http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-12-149.html.

How much support (funding) am I eligible to receive?

NIDA has established salary and other direct costs for minority supplements funded by the Institute, determined by the eligibility level of the minority candidate:

  • High School: salary should be consistent with Principal Investigator’s institutional salary policies
  • Undergraduate: up to $10.00/hr. *
  • Predoctoral: up to $26,000/yr total, for salary, fringe benefits, and/or tuition remission. *
  • Postdoctoral: up to $46,000/yr.*
  • Investigator: up to $60,000/yr. *

*For all levels of support, up to $500/yr. may be requested for “general supplies,” and up to $1,500/yr. may be requested for conference/meetings travel.

How long can I receive support from the Diversity Supplements program?

In general, a diversity supplement mentee is eligible to receive up to five years total funding support through the NIH Diversity Supplements program. Recipients of prior minority or disability supplement funding from NIH institutes other than NIDA are eligible to apply for NIDA funding, as long as total NIH support does not exceed five years. Postdoctoral and investigator-level candidates are restricted to two years total support from NIDA.

Who do I contact at NIDA if interested in applying for Diversity Supplements?

NIDA’s Special Populations Office is the coordinating office. Contact Pamela Goodlow at: 301/443-0441 (telephone), 301/480-8179 (fax), or pg46n@nih.gov (e-mail).

When can applications be sent to NIDA? Are there special submission dates?

Applications for diversity supplements can be submitted to NIDA throughout the year; there are no special deadline dates for submission. However, best chances for funding support are available when applications are submitted by April 1 of the stated year.

What Is the Review Procedure for Diversity Supplements?

Diversity supplement applications submitted to NIDA are reviewed by the appropriate NIDA program divisions, and by a review committee comprised of research staff from each of NIDA’s program offices and divisions. Reviews are held monthly. Factors considered most significant in determining an application’s likelihood for approval and funding are:

  • quality and extensiveness of the mentoring plan for the candidate;
  • quality of the research experience the candidate will gain during the proposed supplement period and its relation to the parent grant (research experience and responsibilities proposed for the candidate must fall within the scope of research currently performed under the parent grant); and,
  • evidence that the candidate intends to pursue an independent research career in drug abuse research as a focus area.

What are the most common reasons applications are not supported for funding?

  • Problems with mentee eligibility (non-U.S. citizenship or permanent residency; status on PHS-funded projects; etc.)
  • Proposed research for the mentee candidate is beyond the scope of research of the parent grant;
  • Absence of a good, detailed mentoring plan for the candidate.

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 package in NIDA’s Special Populations Office until a funding decision is made. NIDA’s review committee makes every effort to ensure funding decisions on applications are made as expeditiously as possible.

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 program announcement Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, NIH Guide, PA-12-149, April 6, 2012 which is available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-12-149.html.

This page was last updated April 2012

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