NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research: Information for Principal Investigators

Key points about Diversity Supplements:

  • NIH Diversity Supplements are an important approach to supporting under-represented minority and disabled trainees and young faculty who are interested in research.
  • These supplements are also a great way to obtain added resources for funded research projects.
  • An application for a Diversity Supplement, which can be submitted by the Principal Investigator of any existing NIH-funded grant or contract, is short and easy to write.
  • Diversity supplements do not require peer review—they can be approved by NIH Project Officers and are supported using funds specifically set-aside for this purpose.
  • Thus, Diversity Supplement applications have no set deadline, have a quick review and a relatively high probability of funding.

Who can apply?

Principal Investigators who hold an active R01, R10, R18, R22, R24, R35, R37, P01, P20, P30, P40, P41, P50, P51, P60, U01, U10, U19, U41, U42 or U54 grant are generally eligible to submit a request for an Administrative Supplement to the parent grant. Principal Investigators holding an Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15), an Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) or a Small Grant Award (R03) also may apply for a supplement under this program.

First step: Principal Investigators interested in submitting an application for a diversity supplement should begin by contacting the NIH staff who are administering the parent grant. Some institutes have specific application instructions and requirements. NIH contacts for each awarding institute are listed under “Inquiries” at the end of the link above.

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Who should be considered for a diversity supplement?

The NIH believes that by providing research opportunities for qualified individuals at various career levels, the number entering and remaining in health-related research careers will increase. Accordingly, Principal Investigators are encouraged to consider administrative supplements under this program for candidates at the following career levels:

  • High School Students who have expressed an interest in the health-related sciences.
  • Undergraduate Students who wish to pursue graduate level research training in health-related sciences.
  • Post-Baccalaureate Students and Post-Master's Degree Students who have recently graduated and wish to pursue further graduate training in health-related research.
  • Predoctoral Students who wish to develop their research capabilities in the health-related sciences.
  • Individuals in Postdoctoral Training who wish to participate as postdoctoral researchers in ongoing research projects and career development experiences in preparation for an independent career in a health-related research.
  • Faculty who wish to participate in ongoing research projects while further developing their own independent research potential.
  • Established investigators who become disabled may be eligible for additional support or special equipment that will facilitate a continuing contribution to the goals of the parent grant.

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Eligible individuals

Investigators are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or local basis. The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of candidates:

A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. (See more information).

B. Individuals with disabilities, which are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds defined as:

  • From a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds who has qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance, received a Health Professions Student Loan or Loan for Disadvantaged Students, or received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
  • From a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city areas that have directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Eligibility related to a disadvantaged background is most applicable to high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but is difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement. Awards under this program 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 an Alien Registration Receipt Card or some other legal evidence of admission for permanent residence at the time of application).

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Research training, education and career development for supplement awardees

To enhance training and education of supplement awardees, consider inclusion of fees or tuition costs in the supplement budget for pertinent courses or workshops. For example, consider the following core courses and professional development workshops:

  • Designing Clinical Research (EPI 202 or EPI 150.03)
    This course provides instruction in developing a clinical research question and creating a concise protocol that includes a literature review, study design, subject sampling and recruitment, instruments and other measurement approaches, sample size, consent form, budget and timetable.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (EPI 201)
    Trainees learn through case discussions how to identify and resolve common ethical dilemmas that arise in clinical research, how research on human subjects is regulated by the federal government, and what constitutes research misconduct. Trainees resolve the ethical considerations involved in the research protocol they develop in the Designing Clinical Research course. This course provides a more in-depth analysis of research ethics than the website course required by the UCSF Committee on Human Research.
  • Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (BMS 214/NS 214)
    Using lecture and case study formats, this course is designed to address key issues in RCR, as suggested by the NIH. Topics covered include: History of Scientific Misconduct and Ethical Decision Making; Scientific Record Keeping and Data Management; Animals in Research: Animal Rights and Welfare; Human Subjects in Research; Publication, Responsible Authorship and Peer Review Practices; Conflicts of Interest; Mentoring and Being Mentored
  • Course in Scientific Leadership and Management
    This sixteen-hour course is designed to give postdocs, fellows and junior faculty the awareness, skills and tools needed to become better leaders and managers within a research unit.
  • BEST - Becoming an Effective Science Teacher (Biochem 212)
    Course is focused on helping trainees become effective teachers at the college and graduate school level. Trainees develop teaching skills through didactic lecture and practice.
  • Professional Success Skills, Office of Career and Professional Development
    OCPD provides resources, workshops and one-on-one assistance designed to help UCSF trainees learn about their career options, build transitional skills for the wide variety of career fields open to doctoral-level scientists, and conduct successful job searches inside and outside of academia.
  • See the Training in Clinical Research Overview of Courses for more options.

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