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Administrative Supplements to Research Grants and Cooperative Agreements

The purpose of an administrative supplement is to provide additional funds to a grant or cooperative agreement to pay for necessary items or activities that fall within the scope of that award, but were unanticipated at the time that the new or competing continuation application was submitted. NIMH provides such supplements for a current budget period and future years, if necessary, to meet certain unforeseen new or increased costs that are within the scope of the approved grant. An administrative supplement request is subject to an internal review and does not require peer review but may, in some circumstances, be subject to review by the National Advisory Mental Health Council.

The award of an administrative supplement depends on several factors, including alignment with Institute expectations/priorities, documented need, and availability of funds from NIMH's allocation for supplements. NIMH awards administrative supplements under a limited number of defined circumstances, on a case by case basis. Documented justification and the approval of the program officer and other designated NIMH staff are required.


Prior to submitting a supplement request, it is strongly recommended that Principal Investigators (PIs) speak with the program official associated with the parent grant to discuss eligibility, alignment with Institute expectations/priorities, and availability of funds.

To be eligible for an administrative supplement:

  • The grantee must have an active funded NIH grant and the proposed supplement MUST be within the general scope of the peer-reviewed activities and aims approved for the parent grant (See What Constitutes a Change in Scope  for more information).
  • The grantee must be unable to pay for the requested item or resource by rebudgeting available funds.
  • The parent grant's estimated unobligated balance for the budget period is generally less than 20% of the annual award.
  • The supplement is not to be used to pay for increased costs due to an investigator's change of institution or promotion.

NIMH may award administrative supplements to cover unanticipated costs of a project in a limited number of defined circumstances, on a case by case basis. Reasons for such an award may include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased cost of equipment and related services or loss of equipment originally available to the project from other sources.
  • Purchase of add-ons to equipment identified in the parent application, in order to leverage recent advances in the field of study and to more rapidly advance proposed aims.
  • Dissemination and/or preservation of a unique research material or resource.
  • Addition of patients, populations, or other items related to a protocol -- such as additional resources needed to ensure adequate safety of participants in clinical research [e.g., per recommendations of Data and Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs)] or the addition of resources to supplement recruitment and enrollment to ensure an adequate sample to address the study aims.
  • Provision for the orderly termination or temporary continuation of support to prevent loss of research resources or hardship of personnel, which includes taking advantage of a rare event or resource with an immediate need, e.g., preservation of a rare animal model or novel tools.
  • To address special, time-critical cases such as countering a major threat to public health or taking advantage of serendipitous and other unanticipated opportunities to increase the value of the project consistent with the originally approved objectives.
  • To prepare and disseminate materials concerning the project and for the purpose of ensuring that important findings from the project are made widely available in a timely and effective manner.

How to Apply for an Administrative Supplement

Before submitting your request, it is strongly recommended that you speak with the program official and grants management specialist associated with the parent grant to discuss eligibility, alignment with Institute expectations/priorities, and availability of funds. Consultation with the program official early in the process of developing your supplement request is strongly recommended. If you are not sure who your program official and grants management specialist associated with the parent grant are, you can find their names and contact information by logging into your eRA Commons account and looking at the information on the grant in question.

Administrative Supplement requests should be submitted electronically and the packet should include:

  1. Cover LetterThe cover letter must be signed by the authorized organizational representative and should indicate that you are requesting an administrative supplement. The content of the letter should include the following information:
    • Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) name
    • Parent grant number and title
    • Amount of the requested supplement
    • Name and title of the authorized institutional official, and
    • Phone, email, and address information for both the PD/PI and the institutional official.
  2. PHS 398 Form Page 1 (Face page) MS Word  PDF 
    • The title of the project (Box 1) should be the title of the parent award.
    • The PD/PI must be the same as the PD/PI on the parent award. For Multiple PD/PI parent awards, the Contact PD/PI must be the PD/PI listed on the supplement request. Administrative supplements cannot change the Multiple PD/PI team or convert a grant from a single PD/PI to a multiple PD/PI grant.
    • The remaining items on the face page should be filled out in accordance with the PHS 398 application instructions.
  3. PHS 398 Form Page 2 MS Word  PDF  Note: The project “summary” is that of the administrative supplement, not the parent grant. All other information requested on Form Page 2 should be provided.
  4. A brief description of the supplement request, including:
    • Scope of the overall project, the specific need for the supplement, and the anticipated contribution of the requested supplement to achieve or enhance the goals of the project (not to exceed three pages). Supplements submitted in response to the Sandy FOA may not be longer than the research strategy page limit for the activity code, but NIMH anticipates most requests to be no more than three pages. This section should include a description of the supplement's purpose, including research design/proposed scientific activities and methods and data analysis. Describe the relationship of the supplement request to the parent grant. Specifically, summarize how the activities proposed in the supplement request fit within the scope/aims of the parent grant.
    • Budget for the supplement with a justification that details the items requested, including Facilities and Administrative costs and a justification for all personnel and their role(s) in this project. Note that the budget should be appropriate for the work proposed in the supplement request. Applicants are encouraged to discuss budgets with their NIMH program officer well in advance of submitting the supplement request. All supplement requests must include detailed budgets on the PHS 398 Form Pages 4 (MS Word  PDF ) and 5 (MS Word  PDF ). Modular budget pages will not be accepted even when the parent grant was funded as a modular grant.
    • Biographical Sketch for all new Senior/Key Personnel. There is no need to repeat information provided in the parent application. MS Word  PDF 
    • Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animal documentation (if applicable). Include a current Human Subjects/IRB or Vertebrate Animals/IACUC approval letter, if applicable. Otherwise, this letter will be required at the time of funding. All appropriate IRB and IACUC approvals must be in place prior to a supplement award being made.
  5. PHS 398 Checklist Form MS Word  PDF 

Administrative supplement requests are not peer reviewed and are reviewed as they are received. Please note that supplements are awarded in rare circumstances and based on availability of funds.

Administrative Supplements can be submitted in either of two routes:

  1. Administrative Supplement requests may be submitted by the applicant organization via grants.gov. To submit via grants.gov, please follow the instructions provided in PA-14-077 PA-12-100 Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-077.html .
  2. Administrative Supplement requests may be submitted by the PD/PI of the parent grant electronically via the following link:

    https://wwwapps.nimh.nih.gov/ssf/ 

    When prompted, please log into the system with your eRA Commons ID and Password. Please be sure all the necessary information is included in your submission and that your submission is countersigned by your institutional official.

    Please select Administrative Supplement when prompted for the type of supplement.

  3. For specific questions regarding eligibility or questions about the science to be proposed, please contact the program official assigned to the parent grant.

    For questions regarding financial eligibility, please contact the grants management specialist assigned to the parent grant.

    For general information on NIMH’s administrative supplements policy, contact:
    Tracy Waldeck, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Mental Health
    National Institutes of Health
    Phone: (301) 435-0322
    Email: waldeckt@mail.nih.gov