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Application and Review Procedures for Diversity and Re-entry Research Supplements

This information applies to applications requesting Diversity and Re-entry Research Supplements to active National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants via funding opportunity announcements:

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 (for more information, see NOT-OD-20-031 ). Such candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, 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., etc.), and must have been in a postdoctoral or faculty position at the time they left active research. The Diversity Supplement opportunity is also available to Project Director (PDs)/PI(s) of research grants who become disabled and need additional support to accommodate their disability in order to continue to work on the research project.

The activities proposed in a Diversity or Re-entry Supplement application must both advance the objectives of the parent grant and support the research training and career development 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 objectives, and the relationship of both of these elements to the research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research.

At the time of submission, the proposed supplement activities must be within the approved project period for the parent award. The duration of the proposed supplement should be sufficient in length to provide a meaningful career development experience for the candidate and the duration must be fully justified. For high school or undergraduate students, the period of supplement support may be as short as a summer experience or one academic year. A two-year supplement period is typically appropriate for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and investigators. In some circumstances, less than two years might be accommodated, but potential applicants considering a supplement period less than two years at the graduate student, postdoctoral, and investigator career stage would require a detailed explanation and applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with NIMH staff listed in this FOA prior to submission.

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 Official (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: candidate eligibility, 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.

It is critical that applicants follow the submission instructions in the funding opportunity announcements. All forms should be completed for the supplemental activities only and should not reflect funding or activities for the previously awarded parent award. A complete Diversity or Re-entry Supplement request package must include:

  1. A brief proposal describing the project and training/career experience (not to exceed 6 pages), including:
    • Brief summary of the funded grant and description of the proposed supplement project.
    • Training and career development plan for the candidate, which may include such things as coursework, conference attendance, grant-writing workshops, presentation opportunities, etc.
    • Mentoring experience of the PI and description of how the mentor(s) will interact with the candidate (e.g. commitment, level of involvement, any other specific activities); and
    • A plan and timeline for the research and career development experiences proposed
  2. A Candidate Statement (not to exceed 3 pages) that includes the signature of the candidate.
  3. Statement of Eligibility (not to exceed 1 page). The application should include a signed statement from the PI and an Authorized Signing Official establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program. The statement must include:
    • Clearly presented information on citizenship
    • Information on the nature of the candidate's disability, circumstances, background, or characteristics that confer eligibility under this program;
    • 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; and,
    • A description of any current or previous Public Health Service (PHS) research grant support the candidate has received, including start and end dates. State if the candidate has received any current or previous PHS support; if the candidate has, include the grant number and inclusive dates of support.
  4. A proposed budget.
  5. Biographical Sketch of the candidate.
  6. Biographical Sketch of Investigators Who Will Contribute to the Research Mentoring.
  7. Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animal documentation (if applicable).
  8. If the candidate is a student at another institution (i.e., other than the grantee institution), 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.
  9. 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 PI, and the appropriate Authorized Signing Official (affiliated with the candidate institution).
  10. 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 that might be used. The relationship of the proposed accommodation to the proposed project must be described.

Submission and Receipt of Applications

Administrative supplement requests for all applications for (single and multi-project) diversity supplements must be submitted electronically as of January 25, 2018. See Notice NOT-OD-18-111 .

Please note: Applications may be submitted at any time. Investigators are encouraged to submit applications at least four 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 10 weeks prior to the requested start date. Applications received after April 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 Official (PO) assigned to the parent grant and the NIMH Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) staff prior to submission of a request for a supplement application is advisable.