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National Institutes of Health

Procedures and Supplementary Information for Preparation, Submission, and Review of Applications for Diversity and Reentry Research Supplements for NIMH Grantees

This supplementary information applies to applications requesting selected research supplements to active National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants. Its purpose is to clarify the application process for NIMH grantees and is not intended to substitute for the specific program announcements. These are: “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research” (PA-08-190) and “Supplements to Promote Reentry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers” (PA-08-191).

These research supplements may be requested by Principal Investigators (PIs) of active NIMH grants who plan to serve as mentors for candidates nominated for support. The activities proposed in a supplement application must both advance the objectives of the parent grant and support the research training and career advancement of the candidate. Award decisions are based on the merit of the research training potential of the applications and on relevance to the research priorities of the NIMH.

At the time of a supplement application submission there must be a reasonable period of time remaining on the parent grant such that the supplement could provide an optimal career development experience for the candidate. A reasonable period for a career development experience varies by level of training and must be justified in the application. A minimum of two years is appropriate for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and investigators. For high school or undergraduate students this period may be as short as a summer experience or one academic year. Prior to submission of an application, it is imperative that the Principal Investigator (Applicant) contact the Supplements Coordinator in the Office for Special Populations to discuss the appropriate supplement duration for the proposed candidate.

The administrative and programmatic evaluation of research supplement applications at NIMH follows a standard procedure and timeframe. 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 NIMH Office for Special Populations (OSP) and program staff prior to submission of a request for a supplement application is highly advisable. While applications may be submitted throughout the year requests for support that would commence in the summer (May/June) of the current year should be submitted no later than February 1. Applications received after June 1 may not be considered for funding until the next fiscal year, i.e., after October 1, with December 1 as the earliest possible start date.

Program Guidance in Development of the Application and the Career Development/Mentorship Plan

Diversity and Reentry 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 their NIMH Program Officials (PO) 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, the research development and mentoring plan activities and objectives, the potential of the candidate to successfully continue their research career and the match of the supplement objectives and the research priorities of the NIMH. Each application must include the following elements:

Summary of the Funded Grant or Project

A brief “plain language” description of the Parent Grant’s specific aims, research model and approach must be provided. The description must also address the relevance of the funded research project to the mission of the NIMH.

Career Development Plan

An appropriate career development/mentorship plan for the candidate must be included in the application. The expectation is that the PI will prepare a detailed career development/mentorship plan that will include objectives and associated timelines for helping the candidate make the transition to the next stage of his/her research career.

The Program Announcement requires that the PI describe how the mentored research experiences will expand and foster the research capabilities of the candidate and how they relate to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant. Required components of the career development plan include:

Mentoring Experience of the PI

All applicants should describe their experience and track record as a mentor.

Candidate Statement

As required by the Program Announcement, the candidate must provide a signed statement outlining short- and long-term research objectives and career goals. In this statement the candidate must describe how the planned activities are related to or will facilitate achievement of their career goals. Candidates are expected to submit career stage-appropriate grant applications during or at the end of the period of support. Thus a candidate’s statement should include plans for the development and submission of such applications.

Page Guidelines

The career development/mentorship plan may not exceed 6 pages. Applications exceeding the page limit will not be accepted for consideration. The plan must include: a summary of the funded grant or project; a plan and timeline for the research and career development experiences; a description of how these experiences will expand and foster the candidate’s research capabilities; a description of how the proposed experiences relate to the specific research goals of the parent grant; and a description of the mentorship to be provided. The candidate statement is separate from and is not included in the page guidelines for the career development/mentorship plan; the candidate statement should be limited to 3 pages.

Submission and Receipt of Applications

NIMH strongly encourages electronic submission of the completed supplement request, including all appropriate signatures and supporting documents, to be submitted as a single PDF document. The subject line of the email should contain only the phrase, “NIMH DIVERSITY (or REENTRY) SUPPLEMENT APPLICATION PDF”, in all caps.

Please submit the completed application to the email address below:

Paper applications will also be accepted. The application and all supporting documentation for a Diversity or Reentry Research Supplement to NIMH should be addressed to:

Research Supplements Coordinator
Office for Special Populations
National Institute of Mental Health
Neuroscience Center, Room 8125
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892
Rockville, MD 20852 (courier only)

Please note: Applications may be submitted at any time. Requests for support that would commence in the summer (May/June) of the current year must be submitted prior to February 1. Applications received after June 1 will be processed and considered for funding in the next fiscal year, that is, after October 1, with December 1st as the earliest possible start date.

Review and Award of Applications

The administrative review of the application package is managed by the Supplements Coordinator in the Office for Special Populations (OSP), who also has responsibility for ensuring the timely completion of the review process. Eligible applications are forwarded to the grants management staff and to NIMH program staff for evaluation of the budget and scientific merit. The applications are then reviewed by the NIMH Supplements Committee, which consists of representatives from the OSP and each NIMH Scientific Division. The Committee evaluates all supplement applications, rating each application as High, Moderate or Low Priority based on scientific merit and training potential. Final funding decisions are made in the Office of the Director, NIMH. Funding decisions are dependent on: (1) the merit of the application and the proposed project activities (i.e., the career development/mentorship plan and relevance to institute research training priorities); (2) the potential for continued research progress of the candidate to the next level of career development; and (3) the availability of funds.