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 Official and the Diversity Supplement Program (DSP) Director, Shakira Nelson, 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. Applications submitted in June or later are at risk for being held to the next fiscal year. After September 1 the next start date is December 1. Start dates in October or November are not possible.

Application Instructions

Please see the fu​nding announcement​ and the NIGMS specific application requirements detailed below.

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

  • Research Experience Plan 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) are expected to be employed and should inform the proposed plan. The IDP should be prepared in advance of submitting the application. The candidates strengths and weaknesses, and short- and long-term goals should be stated within the training 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/career 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 studentspostdoctoral fellows, and early career investigators 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 or research grants for individuals at the investigator level 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 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 mentee participation in activities required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the mentees' 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) at a research-intensive institution. Postbaccalaureate experiences are typically at research-intensive institutions (i.e., those with NIH research project grant (RPG) funding averaging greater than or equal to $7.5 million in total costs per year over the last three fiscal years). If you wish to apply to support a postbaccalaureate candidate from a non-research-intensive institution please contact Dr. Shakira Nelson​ to discuss the circumstances before applying.

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.

Special Instructions for Investigators Developing Independent Research Careers:

Applications should provide a detailed plan that is appropriate for a junior investigator and describe how the candidate will be provided with support as well as adequate, appropriate, and timely information to transition into independence and professional advancement at their institution. Applications should clearly state what the goal of the supplement is and how it will enable the candidate to achieve independence and advance to the next career stage. In most circumstances the training plan should include mentoring the candidate to submit research grant applications, such as R01, MIRA for ESIs, R15 or SCORE, career development or other relevant research grants. Applicants should describe plans for publications and how the supplement will enable the candidate to enhance their research program and/or training of students at their own institution. NIGMS encourages diversity supplement applications that will provide candidates with the knowledge, skills, and support to fully transition to independence and achieve tenure.


For more information, contact:​

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