These FAQs apply to the following funding opportunity announcement (FOA):

Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, PA-23-189.

Q. Who is eligible to be supported by a diversity supplement?

A. The Diversity Supplement Program is designed for individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and individuals from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Candidates must be American citizens or permanent residents in order to be eligible for diversity supplement support.

Q. Which ethnic and racial groups are considered to be underrepresented on a national basis?

A. Principal investigators holding NIAMS research grants may request supplemental funds to improve the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by supporting and recruiting students and postdoctoral fellows from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Q. Are women considered underrepresented and therefore eligible for a diversity supplement?

A. No. Although NIAMS strongly supports gender equity, women are not designated as underrepresented with regard to the Diversity Supplement Program.

Q. Are persons with disabilities eligible for supplements if they are not a member of an ethnic or racial minority group?

A. Yes. The institution/university must verify the disability and the principal investigator (PI) should address the disabled person's specific needs and how the training and mentoring plan would address these needs.

Q. Can a candidate for the Diversity Supplement Program be supported by the parent grant at the time of application?

A. No. The goal of the program is to recruit students in need of training to the PI's lab and to support them in their early years of training when the supplement will have the greatest impact. It is not intended to provide an alternate means of support to someone already supported on the parent grant.

Q. How does available T32 training grant support affect eligibility for a diversity supplement?

A. NIAMS is strongly committed to the appointment of individuals from diverse backgrounds to foundational T32 training programs as these provide a clear, mentored program and strong oversight for training students. Furthermore, NIAMS-supported T32 predoctoral training grants are intended to support early phase graduate training (typically, years 1-3). Therefore, eligible students should be nominated for available T32 support. If the candidate already is appointed to a T32 grant, the student should remain on the training grant for the normal term of appointment and prepare for transition to a fellowship or to support on the sponsor's research grant(s). 

Q. What academic levels does NIAMS support through the Diversity Supplement Program?

A. NIAMS supports diversity supplements for individuals at the following career levels: High School Students, Undergraduate Students, Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Holders, Graduate (Predoctoral) and Health Professional Students, Individuals in Postdoctoral Training, and Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers.  

Q. Will NIAMS support more than one diversity supplement on a PI's grant?

A. A parent grant may support more than one individual on a supplement only if the candidates are high school or undergrad levels. However, each request must be strongly justified and include assurances that each candidate will receive appropriate mentoring, and each individual must submit a personal statement and biosketch.

Q. At what stage of a graduate student's or fellow's training is it most appropriate to request a diversity supplement?

A. At the graduate student and postdoctoral levels, NIAMS emphasizes supporting individuals in the early stages of their training, generally in years 1-3, with an expectation that the individuals will then transition to a traditional means of support appropriate for their stage of training.

Q. Which grant mechanisms are eligible for diversity supplements?

A. Active NIAMS research grants, center grants or cooperative agreements with a reasonable period of research support remaining (generally two years) at the time of the supplemental award are eligible for an administrative diversity supplement. R15 and R00, grants are not eligible for diversity supplement support. Center grant award mechanisms are eligible for supplements only if they contain research components.  The NIAMS limits R21s up to the post-doc candidate level).

Q. Can a PI's salary be requested on a diversity supplement?

A. The salary of the parent grant PI is not an allowable cost on a diversity supplement.

Q. How long should the diversity supplement request be for?

A. The request cannot exceed the length of time remaining on the parent grant and should be tailored to the student's training plan. Typically, a grant should have at least 2 years remaining in order to request a supplement for a graduate student (predoctorate level), postdoctoral fellow, or investigator.  For high school or undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, graduate (only master’s level) NIAMS will allow requests if the grant has at least one year remaining (at the time of the award).

Q. How should a candidate be supported once the diversity supplement ends?

A. NIAMS expects that individuals will transition to traditional means of support appropriate for their stage of development. Examples include support through the parent grant, appointment to an institutional training grant or receipt of an individual fellowship.

Q. Who submits the application, the person to be supported (the candidate) or the PI of the parent grant?

A. The grantee institution submits the application on behalf of the parent grant PI and the candidate.

Q. When should an application be submitted?

A.  NIAMS accepts and reviews applications on a continuous basis between October 1st and April 15th. Applications received outside of these dates will be returned, but could be resubmitted during the next receipt period if appropriate. Please see NOT-AR-22-024.

Q. How should an application be submitted?

A. NIH requires that all applications for diversity supplements must be submitted electronically using the current NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) Program Announcement.

Q. How are applications reviewed?

A. Applications are administratively reviewed by NIAMS staff members. Staff members look at the appropriateness of the research project for both the candidate's goals and the aims of the parent grant. In addition, great emphasis is placed on the quality of the mentoring and training plan and the candidate's personal statement.

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