Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

As part of an NIH-wide program, Principal Investigators (PIs) of NIGMS research grants may request supplemental funds to enhance the diversity of the research workforce. The Diversity Supplements Program (DSP) is designed to facilitate the recruitment and training of promising scientists from diverse backgrounds (e.g., individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce).

NIH expects that efforts to diversify the workforce will lead to:

  • Improvement in the quality of the educational and training environment.
  • A greater range of ideas to address research questions.
  • A balanced perspective in determining research priorities.
  • Improved capacity to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols.
  • Improved capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.


PIs at domestic institutions who have an active NIGMS research grant, program project grant, center grant, or cooperative agreement research program are eligible to submit a request to NIGMS for an administrative diversity supplement to the grant. Please see the program announcement for a list of eligible grant mechanisms. 

Application Submission Timeline

All NIGMS diversity supplement applications are accepted on a rolling basis between October 1 - May 31 in any fiscal year. Applications received after May 31st will be considered for funding in the next fiscal year (beginning October 1st). The earliest start date for any supplement is December 1st, and the last possible start date is September 1st. Typically, it takes approximately 12-16 weeks from receipt of the application by NIGMS until a funding decision is made.

NIGMS Funding Priorities and Award Guidance

NIGMS Funding Priorities​

Before applying, eligible PIs should contact the DSP Co-Directors, Dr. Shakira Nelson or Dr. Zuzana Justinova, to discuss candidate's eligibility and the likelihood of being funded given NIGMS’ funding priorities.

NIGMS intends to award supplements that make a strong case that the supplement will benefit the named individual(s) and not simply serve as a means of freeing up funds from a research grant or research training grant. For this reason, supplement requests for a candidate already being supported on the PIs research grant will be a lower priority for funding.

Awards with significant unobligated balances must provide a strong justification for needing the supplement.​

Eligible grants are expected to have a reasonable period of research funding remaining at the time of the supplemental award to support the proposed research training of the individual(s) named in the supplement (e.g., a grant with approximately 2 years remaining to request a supplement for a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or investigator, or approximately 1 year remaining for high school, undergraduate, master’s or post-baccalaureate students). Individuals may receive support under these programs on only one active grant at any time but may be supported by more than one supplement during their research training experience if well justified (see more information below regarding Award Guidance).

NIGMS encourages applications to support individuals who do not have access to NIGMS funded research education or training programs. NIGMS will consider supplemental support of one or more individuals on a grant at the high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, master’s, graduate (doctoral) student, postdoctoral fellow, and faculty (investigator) levels.

  • High school students or undergraduates. NIGMS views the DSP as an opportunity to support the development of individuals at early stages in their education (e.g., high school and undergraduate students) to consider pursuing biomedical research careers by providing authentic research experiences in cutting-edge scientific environments during the summer or throughout the academic year. Students are expected to devote sufficient effort to the research project and related activities during the period of support to gain insight into the process of scientific discovery. Support for at least three months is encouraged during any one year. This may include a combination of full-time summer experience and part-time experience during the school year. PD(s)/PI(s) are encouraged to recruit high school or undergraduate students who will devote at least two years to this program (i.e., equivalent to two three-month, full-time periods).
  • Postbaccalaureate researchers and master’s students. The program may be used to support postbaccalaureate researchers who are planning to apply to Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs and need further research experiences and training to prepare for admission to and success in doctoral training programs at research-intensive institutions, or master’s students planning a career in the biomedical research enterprise. The duration of the program is normally 1 year, but the research experience can be extended for up to one additional year if evidence is provided to show that the candidate needs additional training to be competitive for admission to graduate programs.
  • Graduate (Doctoral) Students and Postdoctoral Fellows. The program supports the development and mentored training of graduate (doctoral only) students and postdoctoral fellows to prepare them for independent careers in the biomedical research workforce. NIGMS emphasizes providing individualized training that considers the career aspirations of the candidate and focuses on the development of the skills needed to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are typically supported early in their training (i.e., within the first 3 years of training). Awards are typically for 24 months. Shorter awards, of at least 12 months, are possible on a case by case basis. If requesting an award after the 3rd year of training or for less than 24 months, please contact Dr. Shakira Nelson or Dr. Zuzana Justinova ​to explain the circumstance before submitting an application.
  • Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers. The program supports either short or long-term research support for early career faculty members who wish to participate in ongoing research projects while further developing their own research potential to enhance their research skills and establish an independent research career. Investigators are typically junior faculty (e.g., instructor or assistant professor) and cannot have previously been an independent PI on a NIH research grant, or project leader of a component of a program project or center grant, nor have been a PI on an individual research career development award. NIGMS emphasizes providing individualized training that considers the research and career goals of the investigator and focuses on developing the research skills and capacity of the investigator, gaining the skills needed to obtain an independent research award, or facilitating the development of credentials for advancement in the investigator’s research career. Short-term supplements are for three to five months per year, with the possibility of a two-year total award period (i.e., 6-10 months of total support over the course of 24 months). Long-term supplements are typically for 24 months with a minimum of 9 person months effort during each 12-month period. If requesting an investigator level award please reach out to Dr. Shakira Nelson or Dr. Zuzana Justinova ​to discuss the goals of the supplement before submitting an application.

In addition to investigators developing independent research careers, NIGMS provides support through the DSP to established investigators (Program Directors/Principal Investigators) who become disabled during the current project period; such individuals may request funds for reasonable accommodations to permit completion of the currently-funded research project.

Award Guidance

  • Candidates typically should not be supported by the parent award at the time of the application.
  • Eligible grants are expected to have a reasonable period of research funding remaining:
    • Two years remaining for a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or early career faculty.
    • One year remaining for high school, undergraduate and master’s students or post-baccalaureate researchers.
  • SCORE award guidance (SC1, SC2, SC3):
    • SCORE awards are only eligible to receive diversity supplements at the postdoctoral level and higher.
    • SC2 and SC3 SCORE grants DO NOT allow postdoctoral fellow support.
    • SC1 SCORE grant:
      • Research proposed for postdoc must justify the need for the fellow’s particular expertise.
      • Participation in the proposed research project will further the fellow’s professional career.
  • SuRE award guidance (R16):
    • NIGMS will consider supplement support of all levels of candidates to enhance, but not duplicate intended goals of supporting student research. Applicants should show progress of supporting students before a supplement would be considered.
    • NIGMS plans to fund no more than 1 diversity supplement per SuRE award per year.
  • IDeA award guidance (P20; U54):
    • NIGMS will consider supplement support of all levels of candidates on IDeA awards. However, peer-to-peer mentoring is not allowed.
    • Diversity supplement applications may be submitted for candidates who will work on research projects approved for funding for >1 year with sufficient time remaining on the award. Candidates will work under the supervision of the project leaders. Such projects are currently limited to:
      • COBRE Phase​ 1 and 2 research projects.
      • INBRE developmental research projects.
      • CTR-supported multi-year research projects.
  • NARCH award guidance (S06):
    • NIGMS will consider diversity supplement applications for candidates who will work on multi-year research projects under the supervision of the project leader. Such projects are currently limited to NARCH research projects.
    • NIGMS will consider supplement support of all levels of candidates on NARCH awards. However, peer-to-peer mentoring is not allowed.

For more information, contact:

Shakira Nelson​, Ph.D.
Program Director
Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health


Zuzana Justinova, M.D., Ph.D
Program Director
Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health