Introduction

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 an underrepresented minority, disabled or disadvantaged student or investigator, who wants to pursue a career in the biomedical or behavioral research sciences. The program supports individuals at the high school, undergraduate, predoctoral (graduate), postdoctoral and investigator levels.  This information applies to applications requesting research supplements to active National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants only.

This page clarifies the application process and requirements for NIAAA grantees, including NIAAA-specific limitations and recommendations. It is not intended to replace the detailed information on the program announcement. The full program announcement is available at NIAAA Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-12-149).

Diversity Supplement Highlights

NIAAA has received its approved budget for the Diversity Supplement Program for FY2014.

Since we anticipate a HIGHLY COMPETITIVE process this year we wanted to outline some issues to be aware of in preparing your application:

  1. Applications on grants with less than two full years’ of funding left will not be considered a high priority.
  2. Applicants who have had a previous diversity supplement with NIAAA will not be considered.  Applicants who have had diversity supplements with other NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) may be considered competitive if all other criteria apply.
  3. Applications from Institutions with T32 grants MUST provide justification for not using the T32 mechanism to fund the candidate.
  4. Reminder that the costs to support the candidate are STIPENDS and not SALARIES.  Please ensure that documents reflect this statement.
  5. Candidates that have already been financially supported on the grant are NOT ELIGIBLE for a diversity supplement.
  6. Candidates who are renewing their postdocs in the same lab in which they worked as a pre doctoral student will not be considered highly competitive v. other possible candidates.

We anticipate receiving a high volume of applications in the near future; this will likely mean the time for reviewing and processing could take up to 10-12 weeks.  Keep this in mind when you specify start dates.  We recommend start dates no earlier than June or July 2014. 

Please contact your Project Official if you are interested in a Diversity Supplement in FY14.  Please also send a “Letter of Intent” to Lynn Morin at morinl1@mail.nih.gov.

 


 

  • NIH will not be allowing ANY salary increases associated with any awards for non-competing continuations, including post-doctoral and Investigator level Diversity Supplements, per NOT-OD-13-064. Grantees are allowed to rebudget to accommodate an institutional-supported salary increase without NIH prior approval unless the action triggers a change in scope.
  • NIH is encouraging Institutions to develop Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (NOT-OD-13-093) supported by an NIH grant.  You can find more information on our efforts on Dr. Sally Rockey’s “Rock Talk” July 23, 2013 blog. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like more information on IDPs.  While not a requirement we strongly encourage applicants to submit an IDP as part of their mentoring plan.

Contents

 

Administrative Requirements

  • As of March 1, 2012 NIH transitioned to a New Electronic Submission Process for Administrative Supplement Requests via http://ww.grants.gov including the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research and Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers.  Applicants are required to use one of the two new electronic processes for submitting supplement requests.

    More information on these processes can be found on in the Electronic Research Administration’s (eRA) Commons User Guide available at http://era.nih.gov/commons/user_guide.cfm. You can find other information on electronic submission on the eRA Commons applicant’s page as well:  http://eera.nih.gov/applicants/index.cfm.

  • Please keep both the Program Official (PO) on the Parent Grant as well as NIAAA’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Coordinator (contact information below) appraised of your application plans.  YOU MUST RECEIVE PERMISSION TO SUBMIT your supplement application.  The email permission must be part of the submission or your application will be rejected. 
  • For the general Program Announcement (PA) for Diversity Supplements, supplements are applicable to  principal investigators (PIs) at domestic institutions who hold a wide range of active awards.   The mechanisms most commonly supported at NIAAA include R01, P awards (center grants), and U’s (Cooperative Agreements).   This list represents a small number of the grant mechanisms that are applicable; please see the full PA-12-149 for more information.  Note:  NIAAA does not support and will not accept diversity supplement applications to R03s or R21s.
  • At the time of the application submission the parent grant must have a reasonable period of time remaining at the time of a possible award to support an optimal career development experience.  This will vary depending on the educational level of the supplementee and must be justified in the application, but should generally be a minimum of 2 years.
  • Supplements are not allowed on grants in a no-cost extension period.
  • Prior to submission of a supplement application the Principal Investigator (PI) should contact the Minority Health and Health Disparities (MHHD) Coordinator to discuss the proposed supplement including the administrative requirements, mentoring plan activities (more detailed information on which can be found below) and research development.  NIAAA recommends that you send a draft of the supplement to the MHHD Coordinator prior to submission.  At this time the procedure for electronic resubmission of revised diversity supplement applications is unclear; this step may be a critical to insure timely review and consideration of the application for funding. 

Judith A. Arroyo, Ph.D., Coordinator
Minority Health and Health Disparities
Office of the Director
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2011
Bethesda, MD 20892-9304

For FedEx use Rockville, MD 20852
Phone:  (301) 402-0717
Fax:  (301) 443-7043
Email:  jarroyo@mail.nih.gov

  • The PI should also consult with the Program Official (PO) to discuss relevance of the research project to the parent grant and the appropriateness of the mentoring plan.
  • The PI will be required to submit a separate budget and progress report for the Diversity Supplement as part of the annual type 5 renewal.   Should the Diversity Supplement awardee receive additional funding, especially an award for which s/he is the PI (like an F31, F32, R or K award), this should be reported immediately to the PO and Grants management officials. 
  • Documentation, if applicable, that the proposed research experience was approved by or that an application for such has been submitted to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the grantee institution must be provided. Other human subjects’ requirement relevant to the parent award must continue to be observed. If no need to update approvals is necessary, please specify.

 

Eligibility for the Program

  • All applicants for Diversity Supplements should include a signed statement from the Principal Investigator (PI) and an institutional official establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program.
  • The statement must include information and, where appropriate documentation  on citizenship or Visa status;
  • The statement must also include a convincing description of how the appointment of this specific candidate will address the issue of diversity within the national scientific workforce or within the workforce or the relevant population at the grantee institution (see Section I: Recruitment and Retention to Enhance Diversity).
  • For the supplement program to support individuals with disabilities, the application should include a statement providing information on the disability signed by the PI and countersigned by an Institution official.   The institution should also indicate what, if any, reasonable accommodations the institution has supported or plans to provide along with a full description of how any additional support for accommodation might be used. The relationship of the proposed accommodation to the proposed project must be described.
  • An individual who has received previous funding from NIH as an independent PD/PI on a research grant (e.g., R01), as the project leader on a component of a program project or center grant (e.g., P01, P50, G12), or as PD/PI on an individual research career development award (e.g., K01, K02, K07, K08, and K23), or as a Scholar on an Institutional Career Development Award (K12, KL2) is not eligible.
     
     
    CRITERIA FOR INVESTIGATOR LEVEL CANDIDATES FOR DIVERSITY SUPPLEMENTS
     
    A candidate for an investigator level Diversity Supplement  (DS) must have a doctoral degree, be beyond the level of a research trainee, typically employed at the junior faculty level (instructor or assistant professor) with at least one year of postdoctoral or equivalent research experience.  On occasion, NIAAA my consider providing support on a DS for Investigator Level candidates who are several years past their post- doctoral training. They are allowed to request support under a DS to conduct research in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences as long as their record does not demonstrate that they already have been engaging in research as an independent scientist.  An example would be an MD who is transitioning from a clinical to research career or a junior faculty moving from a teaching college to a research institution. NIAAA will carefully consider the research credentials of the candidate and how the DS will enhance his or her research career capabilities.

 

Research Plan

  • Provide a brief summary or abstract of the parent award plus a detailed description of the research experience proposed for the student or investigator candidate.
  • In this section, include: 1) the actual work proposed for the candidate; 2) discussion of how the proposed research will enhance and foster the candidate's research capabilities; 3) how the research plan is appropriate for the stage of the individuals’ research development and that it will enhance the individuals’ research potential; and 4) the relationship of the proposed research experience to the overall goals of the parent grant.
  • The research plan should address specific skills, responsibilities, and activities that demonstrate increasing independence as researchers. Include timeline for applying for the next step toward independent research funding.  The proposed research must fall within the scientific scope of the parent grant but not be redundant with the aims already funded in the parent award.   (Note:  NIAAA will not support new research or research that expands the scientific scope of the funded parent project.)

 

Career Development Plan/Mentoring Requirements

  • The PI will prepare and submit 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 research career (e.g. routine meetings, supervision in writing, publishing, etc.).
  • 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 PI must describe how s/he will assist the candidate in achieving the objectives and goals they have described in their candidate statement (see information below). 
  • A projected time line delineating specific research milestones and other activities that will facilitate progress toward obtaining independent research funding (i.e., anticipated publications, grantsmanship workshops, timeframe for grant application submissions)
  • The final mentoring objective should be preparing an application for the next step in the candidate’s research career development.  This can include an application for an F31, F32, K-award, R03, and R21 or in the case of postbac or post masters students, application to a graduate program.

 

Candidate Statement/Biosketch

A current biographical sketch or curriculum vitae the format available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424R-R_biosketch_VerB.doc from the candidate that details their education, training and work experience, science and research experiences, and publications.  Publications, including manuscripts in preparation that demonstrate the candidate’s alcohol research interest and experience, should be listed. 

  • The candidate should discuss how the planned activities are related to or will facilitate achievement of their future career goals, outlining his/her short- and long-term research objectives and include evidence of scientific achievement or interest in the area of alcohol research.
  • If the candidate is enrolled in a master's level program or is in postbac status, s/he should indicate plans to enter a Ph.D. or equivalent program.
  • The specific source of current funding must also be listed.  Under no circumstances can the candidate have received support from the parent grant.  Support on other NIH funded awards should be discussed with the MHHD  Coordinator .

 

Transcript Requirements

  • A strong emphasis is placed on the GPA as it is a reflection of academic performance. While an informal copy may be used in drafts of the application, official transcripts must be provided for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, post-masters, medical students or graduate students.
  • Provide scanned copy of most recent official transcript when submitting the electronic application.
     

Budget and Salary Requirements

  • All budgets should be submitted using the R&R Detailed Budget Form.  If the initial budget period requested is less than 12 months, the budget must be prorated accordingly.   For example, if the diversity supplement starts May 1st and the current grant year ends December 31st, the first budget period should prorate all expenses for eight months.
  • No equipment, including computers, will be considered allowable expenses. 
  • NIAAA does not accept supplement applications whose direct budget requests exceed 25% of the direct costs of the parent grant.
  • The salary should be consistent with the institutional salary policies.  Institutional salary rates that exceed the hourly minimum wage must be justified.  In general NIAAA follows NRSA and K award salary caps (see NOT-OD-12-033 for NRSA information and NIAAA website for K award limitations).
  • NIAAA will not allow budget requests for any personnel other than the candidate for diversity supplements. Salary for Senior/Key Personnel are not supported by NIAAA. Some allowances for support staff necessary for a disabled candidate can be considered. 
  • Reasonable Accommodations:  As part of these awards, funds may be requested to make changes or adjustments in the research setting that will make it possible for a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions associated with his/her role on the project.  See PA for specific types of accommodations that may be provided under these awards.

 

Submission and Receipt of Applications 

All candidates for diversity supplement support must have a profile in the eRA Commons.  You can find instruction on how to create profiles on the eRA Commons website.

  • In order to ensure timely processing of diversity supplement requests, all supplements must be submitted via www.grants.gov no later than the first week of July of the current fiscal year.
  • Any diversity supplement application received after the above dates can be considered with those applications submitted for the next Fiscal Year.  The processing of applications during the first few months of a new fiscal year is often delayed pending Federal Budgetary processes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This FAQs document is a summary of guidelines and policies that NIAAA 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, issued April 6, 2012.  We strongly encourage anyone interested in applying for funding through the NIAAA research supplements program to use these FAQs and NIAAA instructions for NIAAA-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?

NIAAA principal investigators who hold active grants are eligible to apply for diversity supplement funding, with the exception of the R03 and R21 funding mechanisms.

Who is eligible to receive Diversity Supplement funding through NIAAA?

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students, and postdoctoral and independent investigators who belong to ethnic or racial groups determined 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. (NIAAA will consider support of Asian students/fellows in behavioral or clinical research with human populations on a case by case basis.) In addition, persons with disabilities (physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities) are eligible to receive diversity supplements. Candidates for diversity supplements must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

Who determines the eligibility of a supplement candidate?

The Institution from which the supplement is submitted determines eligibility of candidates based on statistical or quantitative evidence of the underrepresentation of that particular group in biomedical or behavioral research at that Institute or in the scientific research community.  Many refer to the National Science Foundation statistical data for further justification.

For supplements to support individuals with disabilities the application should include a statement providing information on the disability signed by the PI and countersigned by an Institutional Official.

How much support (funding) is provided ?

NIAAA does not accept supplement applications whose direct budget requests exceed 25% of the direct costs of the parent grant.  NIAAA does not support salary for Senior/Key personnel. 

Salary and other direct costs for diversity supplements funded by the Institute are determined by the eligibility level of the minority candidate.  Please refer to NOT-OD-12-033 for additional information for NRSA stipends.

Please remember when developing the supplement application to use the word “salary”.  Using the word “stipend” will hold up processing the application.

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

Whereas, a person is eligible to receive up to five years total funding support through the NIH Diversity Supplements program, NIAAA tends to award supplement in the 2-3 year range.  Recipients of prior diversity or disability supplement funding from NIH institutes other than NIAAA are eligible to apply for NIAAA funding.

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

Judith A. Arroyo, Ph.D., Coordinator
Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Phone:  (301) 402-0717
Email:  jarroyo@mail.nih.gov

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

Applications for diversity supplements are now being submitted via an electronic submission process at www.grants.gov.  More information on the electronic submission process can be found on the Electronic Research Administration’s (eRA) website:  http://era.nih.gov.

Applications can be submitted to NIAAA throughout the year; there are no special deadline dates for submission. However, in order to ensure timely administrative review and processing of diversity supplement requests, all applications must be submitted through www.grants.gov no later than the first week of July in order to be considered within a given fiscal year.  All applications must be accompanied by an email specify that permission to submit has been requested and given.

What Is the Review Procedure for Diversity Supplements?

Diversity supplement applications submitted to NIAAA are reviewed internally by the appropriate NIAAA program divisions, and by the Minority Health and Health Disparities Coordinator.  These administrative reviews are made as supplements are received.  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; and,
  • evidence that the candidate intends to pursue an independent research career in alcohol abuse and alcoholism research as a focus area.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my application?

It takes approximately ten weeks from receipt of the application to NIAAA until a funding decision is made.  NIAAA makes every effort to ensure funding decisions on applications are made as expeditiously as possible.

How can I find out more about the 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-08-190 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-12-149.html), issued April 6, 2012.