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Administrative Supplements to Research Grants and Cooperative Agreements

The purpose of an administrative supplement is to provide additional funds to an active 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. (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement, section on Change in Scope  for more information). NIMH provides such supplements for a current budget period and future years, if necessary, to meet certain unforeseen costs that are within the scope of the approved grant. An administrative supplement request is subject to an internal review by NIMH staff.

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 need and the approval of the program official and other designated NIMH staff are required.

Supplement eligibility

Principal investigators (PIs) are encouraged to 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 parent award must be active (not in a No Cost Extension) and the research proposed in the supplement must be accomplished within the competitive segment. 
  • The proposed supplement MUST be fully within the scope of the peer-reviewed activities and awarded parent grant aims (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 budget of the parent grant plus the budget of the proposed supplement may not exceed the established dollar limits (activity code caps) for the parent award (e.g., R15, R03, R21) unless specified in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). 
  • The supplement is not to be used to pay for increased costs due to an investigator's change of institution or promotion.
  • Supplement requests cannot circumvent NIMH Administrative cuts. 

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 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.

Administrative supplement requests are reviewed internally by NIMH staff. Please note that supplements are awarded in rare circumstances and based on availability of funds.

Administrative supplements submission:

Effective July 25, 2020, all supplement applications to existing single and multi-project awards must be submitted electronically through using NIH ASSIST, Workspace, or institutional system-to-system (S2S) solutions. To submit please follow the instructions provided in PA-20-272: Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional) .

Application due date(s)

NIMH accepts and reviews administrative supplement applications on a continuous basis until April 1 of each fiscal year (FY). In accordance with NIH submission policies , when April 1 falls on a weekend, Federal holiday , or Washington, DC area Federal office closure (see NOT-OD-17-041 ), the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day. Administrative supplement applications received after the April 1 submission date will not be considered for funding until the next fiscal year, unless specified otherwise in a NOFO. Earlier submission is strongly encouraged.

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:
Terri Jarosik
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institutes of Health
Phone: 301-443-3858