NIH Diversity Supplements

The Department of Psychology is committed to enhancing the diversity of the research workforce by recruiting and supporting students, postdocs, and eligible faculty from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. Diversity strengthens our ability to solve problems, fosters innovation, and leads to the development of new research methods. It is critical to enhancing health equity by enriching our viewpoints and breadth of research, starting with our representation.

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What is a Diversity Supplement?

NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-12-149)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Diversity Supplement program is designed to provide support for research experiences for individuals from demographic groups with low representation in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences. Diversity Supplements provide additional funding for researchers to work on an existing NIH-funded project in a particular area of interest. 

Diversity Supplements must support work within the scope of an ongoing NIH-funded project. However, they do not require peer review–instead, they can be approved by NIH Project Officers and are supported by funds specifically set aside for this purpose. Diversity Supplements are less competitive than peer-reviewed grant funding mechanisms and can provide an excellent entry point for a research career.

What are the goals of the Diversity Supplement program?

  • Recruit the most talented researchers from all groups
  • Enhance the quality of the educational and training environment
  • Balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities
  • Improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds
  • Improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities

How do Diversity Supplements Benefit Principal Investigators?

  • Provide funding for a trainee
  • Bring new scientific dimensions to an investigator’s research project
  • Broaden the original aims of the grant
  • Attract new and diverse perspectives to labs and projects

How do Diversity Supplements Benefit Candidates?

  • Provide salary/fringe benefits
  • Support for tuition, travel, and supplies
  • Provide grant writing experience
  • Support the development of the candidate’s long-term career plans
  • Demonstrate the candidate’s ability to successfully obtain research dollars

Who can apply?

Principal Investigators (PIs) who have an active R01, R03, R10, R15, R18, R21, R22, R24, R35, R37, P01, P20, P30, P40, P41, P50, P60, U01, U10, U19, U41, U42 or U54 grants are generally eligible to submit a request for a Diversity Supplement to the parent grant.

At the time of a supplemental award, the parent grant must have support remaining, for usually two years or more. This can vary based on the specific NIH institute. When in doubt, contact your NIH Program Official. 

Diversity Supplement Candidate Eligibility Criteria

  • U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals of the U.S. or individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
  • Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups demonstrated to be underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences, or racial and ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution. 
  • Individuals with disabilities are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

See Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity for additional guidance on these criteria.  

Who is an eligible candidate for support under a Diversity Supplement?

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. In order to receive a Diversity Supplement, the proposed research must have the potential to significantly contribute to the career development of the candidate. Accordingly, PIs are encouraged to consider administrative supplements for candidates who are:

  • High School Students who have expressed an interest in 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 field. 
  • Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers. An individual who has received prior independent or K award funding from NIH may be ineligible.


Getting Started on the Application

  • The PI should contact their NIH Program Officer to discuss submitting an application for supplemental funding.
  • Check to see if there are any specific instructions based on your funding institute.
  • The PI should inform departmental or collegiate research administrative staff about an upcoming application at least six weeks prior to the intended submission date.
  • Although many Diversity Supplement applications are accepted on a rolling basis, particular centers or institutes might have specific deadlines. PIs should check with their institute or research administrative staff for details. 
  • The candidate should obtain an eRA Commons account prior to submitting the application.
  • Required Documentation (Sample documents available upon request - contact
    • Research Plan
      • Specify goals and gains from the project and draft timelines
    • NIH Biographical Sketch
    • Candidate Eligibility Statement
    • Human Subjects Certifications
    • Mentoring Plan
    • Career Development Plan
      • Outline projected conferences/professional development events to attend
    • Budget
      • Budget requests must follow the budget cycle of the existing grant and may not extend beyond the existing grant’s project end date. 
      • Direct costs for Diversity Supplements vary from less than $5,000 to more than $100,000 depending on the career level of the candidate. 

Tips for Candidates

  • Find out if there is a PI at UMN conducting research within your interests.
  • General Tips for Communicating with a potential PI
    • Be confident in your interests and your ideas. CLA faculty are genuinely interested in working with students.
    • Be courteous. Address the faculty member as Dr. or Professor until they tell you it is fine to use their first name or otherwise.
    • Attaching an unofficial transcript, resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) is acceptable, though not required.
    • If a PI does not respond within a week, it is appropriate to send a reminder email.
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