The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports mentorship of investigators and trainees from historically underrepresented groups (URG) on the pathway to independence through the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research mechanism. These administrative awards are also known as diversity supplements.
“Every facet of the United States scientific research enterprise—from basic laboratory research to clinical and translational research to policy formation–requires superior intellect, creativity and a wide range of skill sets and viewpoints. NIH’s ability to help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission.”
— Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity
Diversity supplements provide additional funding to existing NIH grants enabling principal investigators (PI) to fill crucial roles on research teams with diverse investigators—from high school through the faculty career level—who have demonstrated interest in research. UC Davis supports this goal.
Expanded URG definition
The NIH has expanded its definition of “underrepresented” to include women, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disability (e.g., physical or emotional impairments), and individuals from disadvantaged or low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Cancer Center encourages all Principal Investigators holding eligible NIH research grants to support their mentees or trainees by applying for diversity supplements. We have a comprehensive slide deck that provides important information regarding this funding opportunity.
Dr. Belem Lopez, Ph.D. (Program Director, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, National Cancer Institute) lead a discussion on how diversity-focused awards can support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse investigators. NIH diversity supplements and fellowships were discussed and a panel of PI/scholar dyads from UC Davis and UCLA shared their success stories. (The slides from the webinar are available here.)
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and School of Medicine Grants Facilitation Unit maintain a repository of successful proposals for candidates and PIs to review prior to writing their applications.
- To recruit and support high school, undergraduate and graduate/clinical students, post-doctorates (including health professionals), and eligible investigators
- To support work within the general scope of the original project, but not supported or called out within an aim in the original grant. The supplement is an integral part of the approved, ongoing research of the parent award and simultaneously represents independent investigation.
- To contribute significantly to the emerging research career development of the candidate
For principal investigators:
The principal investigator (PI) must have an active NIH grant that has at least two or more years of support left at the time the supplement is awarded. Diversity supplements are available under a wide range of activity codes including those in the D, P, R and U series. The Diversity Supplement Funding Announcement lists the eligible activity codes.
Candidates must meet the NIH definition of diversity, be US citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. Funding from multiple diversity supplements is not allowed. Please note that different NIH institutes have additional eligibility requirements.
PIs are encouraged to consider diversity supplements for the following candidates:
- High school students interested in the sciences
- Undergraduate students pursuing graduate-level research training
- Post-baccalaureate students and post-master's degree students pursuing further graduate research training
- Pre-doctoral students developing research capabilities
- Post-doctoral researchers preparing for independence
- Faculty seeking ongoing research projects while further developing independence
- Established investigators who have become disabled and need additional support or special equipment that will facilitate a continuing contribution to the goals of the parent grant
Be sure to consult the institute or center’s diversity supplement program officer about your interest in applying and to confirm eligibility. Each institute and center have different deadlines, either rolling or set. Review the funding opportunities announcements carefully.