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Procedures and Supplementary Information for Preparation, Submission, and Review of Applications for Diversity and Reentry Research Supplements for NIMH Grantees

This additional information applies to applications requesting diversity and re-entry research supplements to active National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants. Its purpose is to clarify the application process for NIMH grantees and is not intended to substitute for the specific program announcements. The supplements' NIH Guide notices are as follows: "Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research" (PA-12-149)  and "Supplements to Promote Re-entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers" (PA-12-150) .

These research supplements may be requested by Principal Investigators (PIs) of active NIMH grants who plan to serve as mentors for the candidates nominated for support. Applications will be accepted in all research areas supported by the eligible NIMH grants. Candidates eligible for support under the Diversity Supplement Program include individuals at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and investigator career stages that come from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in science. Such candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (generally limited to individuals at the high school or undergraduate level), as well as some candidates seeking to re-enter research. Candidates for the Re-entry Supplement Program must have a doctoral degree (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., O.D., D.V.M.), and must have been in a postdoctoral or faculty position at the time they left active research.

The activities proposed in a supplement application must both advance the objectives of the parent grant and support the research training and career advancement of the candidate. Award decisions are based on the merit of the research training potential of the application, the application's relevance to the candidate's career potential, and the relationship of both to the research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan.

At the time of a supplement application submission there must be a reasonable period of time remaining on the parent grant such that the supplement could provide an optimal career development experience for the candidate. A reasonable period for a career development experience varies by level of training and must be justified in the application. Two years is appropriate for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and investigators. Applications for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and investigators will not be accepted if less than two years are remaining on the grant at the time of expected award. For high school or undergraduate students this period may be as short as a summer experience or one academic year.

Diversity and Re-entry Supplement awards cannot be used to expand the scope of the parent grant. All applications are reviewed by program staff to assess the scope of the planned activities and evaluate their scientific merit and training potential. It is imperative that prospective applicants contact the Program Officer (PO) assigned to the parent grant during initial preparation of a supplement application and prior to its submission to discuss their goals and objectives. Critical issues to be discussed with the PO may include, but are not limited to, the research development and mentoring plan activities and objectives, the potential of the candidate to successfully continue his or her research career, the match of the supplement objectives and the research priorities of the NIMH, and the appropriate supplement duration for the proposed candidate.

A Diversity or Re-entry supplement request package should be signed by the institutional official and submitted by the PI. It must include:

  1. PHS 398 Form Page 1 (Face page) MS Word  PDF . The PI should be the same as the PI on the parent award.
  2. PHS 398 Form page 2 MS Word  PDF 
  3. A brief proposal describing the project and training/career experience (not to exceed 6 pages), including:
    1. Summary of the Funded Grant or Project. A brief "plain language" description of the Parent Grant's specific aims, research model and approach must be provided. The description must also address the relevance of the funded research project to the mission and strategic objectives of the NIMH.
    2. Career Development Plan. An appropriate career development/mentorship plan for the candidate must be included in the application. The expectation is that the PI will prepare 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. The Program Announcement requires that the PI describe how the mentored research experiences will expand and foster the research capabilities of the candidate and how they relate to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant. Required components of the career development plan include:
      • Details of mentor-candidate interactions. The plan should go well beyond simple laboratory assignments and supervision plans or stating that the candidate will attend seminars or lab meetings.
      • The development/mentorship 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. 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 career path should be described. Regardless of the candidate's career stage, mentoring in the preparation of research grant applications for submission to NIMH is an expected component of the career development plan.
      • The plan should present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the individual's research development, and that it will significantly enhance the individual's research potential, while furthering the individual's ability to pursue a mental health research career.
      • For basic science trainees, the training plan should include exposure to clinical, social and behavioral concepts related to mental health (e.g., colloquia, lectures, readings, courses, grand rounds) and to translational research (see also ). The PI should integrate discussion of the clinical relevance of his/her research into regular discussions with the candidate.
      • For behavioral, clinical, and services trainees, the training plan should include didactic and/or research experiences that introduce the candidate to the basic biological sciences relevant to mental health research, or further the depth of the candidate's knowledge. This may include a curriculum of study, seminar(s), and/or colloquium series that emphasize neuroscience, genetics, pharmacology, molecular biology, etc. (see also ).
      • The PI must describe how she or he will assist the candidate in achieving the objectives and goals they have described in their candidate statement (see below).
      • The plan should take into account the typical barriers and impediments encountered by all trainees, as well as the unique challenges that individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, those who have left research, or individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds encounter in gaining entry to and progressing in the biomedical, behavioral and social, or clinical research career tracks.
      • A time line for the research and career development activities is required for investigators, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, post baccalaureate students and undergraduates receiving support for more than 3 months.
    3. Mentoring Experience of the PI. All applicants should describe their experience and track record as a mentor.
      • The PI should provide evidence of mentoring experience and success (e.g., a list of past trainees and their current positions). If the PI is a junior faculty member, it may be appropriate to include an experienced co-mentor in the development plan.
      • If the PI has previously been awarded one or more research supplements, she or he must describe: a) the outcome of the previous supplement(s) including the current status of the candidate(s) (e.g., title of current position and name of institution); b) the outcomes of the prior development/mentorship plan; c) any unexpected positive or negative occurrences that affected specific aspects of the development/mentorship plan or success of the candidate(s); and d) how these prior experiences influenced the development/mentorship plan proposed for the current candidate(s).
      • The role of other investigators who will contribute to the research mentoring should be described in the application and their biosketches must be included with the application.
  4. Candidate Statement (not to exceed 3 pages). As required by the Program Announcement, candidates must provide a signed statement outlining short- and long-term research objectives and career goals. In this statement candidates must describe how the planned activities are related to or will facilitate achievement of their career goals. Candidates at the graduate, postdoctoral or investigator level are expected to submit career stage-appropriate grant applications during or at the end of the period of support. Thus, those candidates' statements should include plans for the development and submission of such applications. For re-entry supplement applications, the statement should include a description of the following:
    1. Research experience prior to the hiatus
    2. Length and reason for the career hiatus, in accordance with the “qualifying interruptions” described in the PA
    3. How the candidate has kept current or attempted to keep current in her/his field
    4. Identification of any steps already taken toward re-entry, including dates and description of any part-time, paid research work currently or during the hiatus.
  5. Statement of Eligibility (not to exceed 1 page). The application should include a signed statement from the Principal Investigator and an institutional official establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program. The statement must include:
    1. Clearly presented information on citizenship
    2. The last 4 digits of the candidate's Social Security Number
    3. Information on the nature of the candidate's disability, circumstances, background, or characteristics that confer eligibility under this program
    4. For diversity supplements, 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
    5. A description of any current or previous PHS research grant support the candidate has received, including start and end dates. Include a statement indicating that the candidate has not received any current or previous PHS support, if applicable.
  6. A proposed budget entered on budget pages from Grant Application Form PHS 398 Pages 4 (MS Word  PDF ) and 5 (MS Word  PDF ). If the initial budget period requested is less than 12 months, the budget must be prorated accordingly. Note that diversity and re-entry supplement awards are generally limited to two years. Exceptions may apply for candidates pursuing independent support during the supplement period.
  7. Biographical Sketch of the Candidate. MS Word  PDF 
  8. Biographical Sketch of Investigators Who Will Contribute to the Research Mentoring. MS Word  PDF 
  9. 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 time of funding. All appropriate IRB and IACUC approvals must be in place prior to a supplement award being made.
  10. Candidate Transcript. Provide a copy of the most recent official transcript if the candidate is a high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate degree, post-master's degree, or graduate student.
  11. If the candidate is a student 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 from or interfere with the student's course of studies.
  12. If any of the research is to be conducted at a site other than the grantee institution, an appropriately signed letter from the institution where the research is to be conducted must be submitted. The request must be signed by the candidate, the Principal Investigator, and the appropriate institutional business official.
  13. If the request is for a supplement based on disability, the institution should 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.
  14. PHS 398 Checklist Form MS Word  PDF 

Submission and Receipt of Applications

Applications are submitted using the NIMH Supplements Submittal Form  (SSF). Use of the SSF is restricted to Principal Investigators with a NIH Commons  account and at least one active NIMH grant. PIs should use their NIH Commons user name and password to log in, and follow the instructions on the screen to upload the application, including all appropriate signatures and supporting documents, as a single PDF document. Investigators will receive a confirmation email if the application is successfully submitted. If you do not receive a confirmation email, or if you encounter any other difficulty using the SSF, contact the NIMH Diversity and Re-entry Supplements Analyst, at or 301-443-2847.

Please note: Applications may be submitted at any time. Investigators are encouraged to submit applications at least three months prior to the requested start date. Applications for summer-only research appointments are considered on a shorter timeframe and should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the requested start date. Applications received after June 1 will be processed and considered for funding in the next fiscal year, that is, after October 1, with December 1 as the earliest possible start date.

Applications are evaluated on a regular schedule but funding decisions can be influenced and delayed by other factors, including the availability of funds. Therefore, consultation with the NIMH Program Officer (PO) assigned to the parent grant and NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH) staff prior to submission of a request for a supplement application is highly advisable.

Review and Award of Applications

The administrative review of the application package is managed by the Supplements Coordinator in the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH). Eligible applications are forwarded to NIMH grants management staff and program staff for evaluation of the budget and scientific merit. The applications are then reviewed by the NIMH Supplements Committee, which consists of representatives from the ORDGMH and each NIMH Scientific Division. The Committee evaluates all supplement applications on a bimonthly schedule (January, March, May, July, September, and November), rating each application based on scientific merit and training potential. Complete applications received by the 1st of the preceding month will be considered at each review. Applications for summer-only research appointments will not be reviewed by the Supplements Committee. These applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis by the NIMH Supplements Committee members in ORDGMH.

Final funding decisions are made in the NIMH Office of the Director. Funding decisions are dependent on: (1) the merit of the application and the proposed project activities (i.e., the career development/mentorship plan and relevance to NIMH's research training priorities, mission, and strategic objectives); (2) the potential for continued research progress of the candidate to the next level of mental health research career development; and (3) the availability of funds. Award rates for diversity supplement applications are published in the Annual Reports on NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce .

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Diversity and Re-entry Supplements