NIGMS Diversity Supplement Program

NIGMS strongly believes that a diverse workforce benefits the entire scientific enterprise [PDF, 1.2MB]. The Diversity Supplements Program (DSP) is designed to support this goal by facilitating the recruitment and training of promising scientists from diverse backgrounds (e.g., individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce).

Application and Submission Procedures

Applicants are strongly urged to contact their research grant Program Officer and the Diversity Supplement Program (DSP) Director, Desirée Salazar, prior to submitting an application.

Timeline for Submissions and Awards

Applications may be submitted at any time and are administratively reviewed within NIGMS on a continuous basis. The review process typically takes 12 weeks.

Applicants requesting supplements to support a summer research experience are strongly encouraged to submit their applications no later than April 1, or at least 12 weeks before the desired start date to allow enough time for application review. We anticipate applicants will receive notification of a funding decision approximately 12 weeks after receipt of the application. This is a competitive program and funding is not guaranteed.

Applications submitted in the current fiscal year that receive a favorable review will be funded in the same fiscal year, if funds are available. If funds are no longer available in the current fiscal year, applications will be held for funding in the following fiscal year, with an earliest start date of December 1. After September 1 the next start date is December 1, start dates in October or November are not possible.

Application Instructions

Please see the funding announcement and the NIGMS specific application requirements detailed below. NIGMS strongly encourages applicants to use the “Special Instructions for Streamlined Submission using the eRA Commons for electronic-based submission system” and the accompanying user’s guide. The instructions below are designed to follow the streamlined submission instructions.

NIGMS expects the following materials in a competitive diversity supplement application.

  • Research Experience Plan (to be uploaded in “Other Attachments”). The supplement request must contain detailed and individualized training, mentoring and career development plans collectively known as the Research Experience Plan. The plan should be tailored to the candidates’ training level and biomedical career aspirations. Individual Development Plans (e.g., myIDP Link to external web site) are expected to be employed and should inform the proposed plan. The plan must be focused on the development of the candidate’s skills and providing the support structures needed to transition into the next phase of the biomedical training pathway. It should be clear from the application how a diversity supplement will impact and add value to the candidate’s training, mentoring, and career development experiences. All applications should include the following along with stage-specific items for high school students, undergraduates, postbaccalaureate researchers, predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows discussed below:
    • A realistic start date: Typically, at least 12 weeks following submission of the application.
    • Research training and mentoring plan: NIGMS considers active and personalized mentoring by the PI, laboratory staff, advisory committees, and other institutional officials associated with the parent grant to be an essential component of a competitive diversity supplement application. Co-mentoring approaches and mentoring committees are encouraged, especially when the PI is an early-stage faculty member. Applicants must describe stage-appropriate opportunities for developing the skills required to conduct responsible, safe, and rigorous research. Training should focus on developing the candidate’s technical (e.g., appropriate methods, technologies, and quantitative/computational approaches), operational (e.g., independent knowledge acquisition, rigorous experimental design, and interpretation of data) and professional (e.g., management, leadership, communication, and teamwork) skills. Applicants should provide a description of how the mentored research experience (1) relates to the specific goals and objectives of the parent grant; (2) will expand and foster the skills of the candidate; and (3) will contribute to the competitiveness of the candidate to transition into the next level in the biomedical research workforce pathway.
    • Career development plan: Provide a detailed development plan with a timeline that is appropriate and individualized to the candidate and is consistent with the candidate’s short- and long-term career aspirations. Examples of activities that promote the candidate’s career advancement include the opportunity to present and publish research findings and to interact with members of the scientific community at scientific meetings and workshops.
    • Candidate Support: A statement about how the candidate is currently funded and how the candidate will be funded at the end of the proposed supplement to ensure continuity of training. As part of encouraging the development of the candidate, plans for supporting the submission of individual fellowships/career development awards should be included (as appropriate).
    • A timeline: Provide a timeline for the Research Experience Plan that is appropriate for career stage of the candidate.
  • Biographical Sketches (to be combined and uploaded in “Other Attachments”). Applications should include the following:
    • PI biosketch with a personal statement that describes a commitment to (1) training, mentoring, and promoting inclusive and supportive scientific research environments, and (2) supporting trainee participation in activities required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees' skills, interests, and values.
    • PI’s training history including a list of individuals trained and their subsequent career/professional outcomes.
    • Candidate’s biosketch with a personal statement that includes information about their motivation to enter and/or remain in biomedical science fields and their short-term and long-term career goals.
  • Candidate Eligibility Statement. A signed statement from the PD(s)/PI(s) and an institutional official establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support under this program must be provided. The statement must include clearly presented information on citizenship and a description of how the appointment of this specific candidate will address the issue of diversity within the national scientific workforce (e.g., what underrepresented group the candidate falls into). The strength of this statement will be considered by the NIH administrative review committee along with all other material provided.
Special Instructions for High School Students:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for a high school student and describe how this experience will encourage and prepare the candidate to transition into a college or university and earn a baccalaureate degree in a biomedical field.

Special Instructions for Undergraduate Students:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for an undergraduate student and describe how the candidate will be provided with support as well as adequate, appropriate, and timely information to transition into the next phase of the biomedical research workforce pathway (e.g., support and information when applying to research-focused graduate programs, or for funding opportunities).

Special Instructions for Postbaccalaureate Researchers:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for a postbaccalaureate researcher and provide evidence (e.g., an academic transcript) that the postbaccalaureate researcher, with appropriate support and training, will be competitive for a research-oriented graduate program. The application should describe how this experience will prepare the candidate for admission to and successful completion of a research-oriented graduate program (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program).

Special Instructions for Predoctoral Students:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for a graduate student and describe how the candidate will be provided with support as well as adequate, appropriate, and timely information to transition into the next phase of the biomedical research workforce pathway. In most circumstances the training plan should include mentoring the candidate to submit fellowships applications or to transition into a postdoctoral position or to transition into a career in the biomedical research workforce.

Special Instructions for Postdoctoral Fellows:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for a postdoctoral fellow and describe how the candidate will be provided with support as well as adequate, appropriate, and timely information to transition into the next phase of the biomedical research workforce pathway. In most circumstances the training plan should include mentoring the candidate to submit fellowships/career development applications. NIGMS encourages diversity supplement applications that will provide candidates with the knowledge, skills, and support to transition to academic research careers.

For more information, contact:

Desirée Salazar, Ph.D.
Program Director
Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health