Skip to content

NIMH Administrative Supplement Program Providing Research Experiences for Physicians and Medical Students from Diverse Backgrounds

Research Opportunity

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announces an administrative supplement program to provide funds for NIMH-supported research projects to support advanced research experiences for outstanding early career physicians and medical students from diverse backgrounds.

In response to recommendations from the 2008 National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup on Research Training, the NIMH encourages the recruitment, training, and retention of outstanding physician-scientists from diverse backgrounds. The purpose of this program is to improve the diversity of the mental health research workforce by supporting and recruiting early-stage investigators from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in science. For the purposes of this initiative, eligible candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and individuals with disabilities. The NIMH expects that participation in this administrative supplement program will enhance the professional development of the participating individuals, sustain their career trajectory through research independence, and lead to scientific advances that will help transform the understanding and treatment of mental illness.

Candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria at the time of application: (1) must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence; (2) must be an individual from a diverse background; (3) must be enrolled and in good standing in an AAMC-accredited medical program or an ACGME-accredited residency or clinical fellowship program; (4) must be able to commit appropriate effort to the proposed research experience; and (5) must not currently have support to obtain research experience from PHS-funded research or training grants.

Applicants are required to furnish a letter from the sponsoring institution establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support, which should include evidence that the applicant is in good standing as a medical student or resident, is an individual from a diverse background, and is a U.S. citizen or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

The following submission instructions are intended to be used in conjunction with the Notice (NOT-MH-12-019 ) for this administrative supplement program.

Submission Instructions

An application to the NIMH Administrative Supplement Program Providing Research Experiences for Physicians and Medical Students from Diverse Backgrounds (PREP)  is intended to document: (1) how the appointment of the particular candidate will improve the diversity of the mental health research workforce nationally; (2) the quality of the proposed research plan and its appropriateness for the candidate’s current career stage; (3) the candidate’s qualifications and potential as a physician-scientist conducting independent, mental health-related research; (4) the alignment of the proposed research plan with the mission and strategic priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan, or, for AIDs-related applications, as exemplified in the research priorities of the most recent annual Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research  and the priorities of the NIMH Division of AIDS Research; and (5) the commitment of the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and other faculty (if applicable) to provide appropriate guidance and supervision of the candidate’s research experience and facilitate his/her successful transition to the next career stage. It is expected that the application will reflect the individual needs of the candidate who is being nominated for support.

Submit applications to NIMH electronically as a single document. The PD/PI is responsible for submitting the administrative supplement application. The applicant should log into the NIMH Administrative Supplement website  using his/her eRA Commons ID and password. Applications should be submitted as “PREP” when prompted for the supplement type.

The Administrative Supplement request should use the PHS 398 forms (available at  and include the following elements (Font size restrictions apply as designated within the PHS398 instructions):

  1. Cover Letter - Citing this Notice NOT-MH-12-019 , a request for an Administrative Supplement, and the following information:
    • Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) name
    • Parent grant number and title
    • Clear statement indicating to which supplement opportunity the applicant is applying (i.e., medical student, residency research experience, or research experience for research track residents)
    • Total amount of the requested supplement
    • Name and title of the institutional official
    • Phone, email, and address information for both the PD/PI and institutional official

    The cover letter must be signed by the authorized organizational representative/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
    • This Notice (number and title, “Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements Providing Research Experiences for Physicians and Medical Students from Diverse Backgrounds” should be cited in Box 2, and the “yes” box should be checked
    • The Principal Investigator (PI) must be the same as the PI on the parent award. For Multiple PI parent awards, the Contact PI must be the PI listed on the supplement request, and the supplement cannot change the Multiple PI team
    • 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.
  4. A brief proposal describing the project (not to exceed 5 pages), including:
    1. Research and Career Development Plan.  An appropriate research plan for the candidate must be included in the application.  In addition to summarizing the candidate’s proposed research, the application must describe how the research experience will expand and foster the research capabilities of the candidate and how they relate to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant.  The plan should present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the candidate’s research development, and that it will significantly enhance the individual’s research potential, while furthering the candidate’s ability to pursue a mental health research career.  Required components of the career development plan include:
      • Details regarding PI-candidate interactions.  The plan should go well beyond simple laboratory assignments and supervision plans or stating that the candidate will attend seminars and lab meetings.  The plan should be detailed and must address the frequency of meetings, topics to be discussed, and how progress will be monitored.  Appropriate milestones for progress might include submission of abstracts for scientific meetings or preparation and submission of manuscripts for publication, depending on the career stage of the candidate.  Plans for transition to the next stage in the candidate’s career path should be described
      • The PI must describe how she/he will assist the candidate in achieving the objectives and goals they have described in their candidate statement (see below)
      • A description of the candidate’s research plan and the relationship of the proposed research to the parent grant and the mission and research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan, or for AIDS-related applications, the Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research  and the priorities of the NIMH Division of AIDS Research
      • A timeline for the research and career development activities.  Specific milestones should be presented via a Gantt chart or equivalent, with associated timelines and identified outcomes.
    1. Experience of the PD/PI.  All applicants must describe their experience and track record as a supervisor highlighting experience guiding medical students, physicians, and other early career individuals.  The PD/PI should provide evidence of supervision experience and success (e.g., a list of past trainees and their current positions).  If the PD/PI is a junior faculty member, it may be appropriate to include an experienced co-mentor in the plan.  The PD/PI should also describe his/her prior success in guiding individuals from diverse backgrounds and the outcomes of these efforts.  The role(s) of other contributing investigators or faculty should be described in the application and their biosketches must be included with the application.
  5. Candidate Statement (not to exceed 3 pages). Candidates must provide a signed statement outlining career stage-appropriate short- and long-term research objectives and career goals. The candidate’s statement is expected to summarize prior research experience, how the planned activities are related to and will facilitate achievement of his/her short- and long-term research career goals, and how his/her research goals intersect with the mission and strategic priorities of the NIMH.
  6. Statement of Eligibility (not to exceed 1 page). The application should include a signed statement from the PD/PI and an Authorized Signing Official for the institution certifying eligibility of the candidate for support under this program. The statement must include certification that the applicant:
    • Is enrolled in a full-time, accredited U.S. medical school program or ACGME-accredited residency program and in good standing
    • Is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and is an individual from a diverse background (see section on Eligible Candidates)
    • Information on the nature of the candidate’s disability, circumstances, background, or characteristics that confer eligibility under this program
    • A description of how the appointment of this specific candidate will address the issue of diversity within the national scientific workforce and increase the number of highly-trained physician scientists conducting mental health research
    • A description of any current or previous PHS research grant support the candidate has received, including start and end dates. Include a statement that the candidate has not received any current or previous PHS support, if applicable
    • A statement from the appropriate official (e.g., Dean of Medical School, Residency Program Director, Department Chair) documenting the institution’s commitment to the research activities and associated time commitment of the candidate proposed in the supplement application and that this commitment will not adversely affect the candidate’s time to graduation, board eligibility and/or prolong the period of residency or clinical fellowship, as appropriate

    If support is requested for a candidate during residency and the candidate is at an institution with an NIMH-supported research residency program (R25), then a letter should also be included from the R25 PD/PI describing why the current candidate cannot be supported by the research residency program.

  7. A proposed budget with a justification that details the items requested, including Facilities and Administrative costs entered on PHS 398 Form Page 4 (MS Word  PDF ) and PHS 398 Form Page 5 (MS Word  PDF ). The NIMH will provide salary support in addition to other necessary expenses, such as supplies and travel, to enable the individual to participate fully in the research training experience. The NIMH will provide compensation that conforms to the established, consistently applied salary and wage policies of the institution, consistent with the level of effort. For medical students, the total amount requested for salary, tuition, and fringe benefits cannot exceed the amount allowable for a first year postdoctoral fellow (i.e., level zero) at the same institution performing comparable work (see ). Additional funds up to $4,200 per year may be requested for supplies and travel. For residents, the requested salary and fringe may not exceed $75,000 per year. The supplement may include up to $10,000 for supplies and travel for the candidate during residency. Funds may not be used to purchase equipment for medical students or residents. If the initial budget period requested is less than 12 months, the budget must be prorated accordingly.
  8. Biographical Sketch for the candidate and any Investigators who will contribute to the research mentoring of the candidate MS Word  PDF  Each investigator’s Biographical Sketch should document the individual’s qualifications and experience to guide the candidate and specifically describe his/her role in the candidate’s research experience.
  9. Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animal documentation (if applicable). Include a current Human Subjects/IRB or Vertebrate Animals/IACUC approval letter, if available. Otherwise, this 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.

    Any differences in the involvement or use of human subjects or specimens, or use of vertebrate animals, between the administrative supplement activity and the parent grant should be noted. When appropriate, details should be provided on the protection of human subjects and inclusion of women, children, and minorities. Additional guidance on Human Subjects Research and Vertebrate Animals is provided under Part II of the PHS 398 instructions ( ).
  10. Candidate Transcript. Provide a copy of the most recent official transcript if the candidate is enrolled in a medical school program.
  11. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Every candidate supported by the administrative supplement program must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. All applications must include a plan to provide such instruction. The plan must address five components: format; subject matter; faculty participation; duration of instruction; and frequency of instruction as detailed in NOT-OD-10-019 . Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and will be returned without review. The background, rationale, and more detail about instruction in the responsible conduct of research can be found in NOT-OD-10-019 .
  12. PHS 398 Checklist Form MS Word  PDF . If the candidate is a student or resident at another institution during the academic year, the application must include an appropriately signed letter from a responsible official at the institution of matriculation indicating that participation at the stated level of effort is approved and will not detract or interfere with the student’s course of studies. If any of the research is to be conducted at a site other than the grantee institution, submit an appropriately signed letter from the institution where the research is to be conducted. The request must be signed by the candidate, Project Director/Principal Investigator, and the appropriate Authorized Signing Official.

Selection Factors

Administrative supplement requests will be reviewed administratively by NIMH Program and Grants Management Staff. Selection factors will include the following:

  • Scientific merit of the proposed research plan;
  • Candidate’s potential for an independent research career conducting NIMH-relevant research;
  • Relevance of the proposed activities to the funded (parent) grant and the mission and research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan, or for AIDS-related applications, as exemplified in the research priorities of the most recent annual Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research  and the priorities of the NIMH Division of AIDS Research
  • Merit and appropriateness of the proposed research experience plan including evidence that the proposed activities are feasible within the context of a short-term research experience for medical students or the context of residency, and that sufficient institutional commitment exists for the proposed research experience

An award under this Notice is contingent upon adequate progress on the parent grant during the current project period, availability of funds, and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.


Before submitting an application for this program, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate individual listed under Inquiries in NOT-MH-12-019  to discuss their plans and to address any questions.