NIGMS Research Supplement Program to Promote Diversity Continues

As we begin the new fiscal year, I’ve received questions about whether NIGMS plans to continue its diversity supplement program. The answer is a definite yes. We remain committed to this program, which addresses the important goal of increasing the diversity of the biomedical and behavioral workforce by providing supplemental support for research experiences and mentorship for students and fellows at a range of levels, from high school through postdoctoral training.

Diversity supplement requests may be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed within NIGMS on a rolling basis. Applicants should be aware that the program is competitive and we only fund meritorious applications that meet the program’s goals.

For more information, visit our diversity supplement Web site, which we have recently updated to reinforce the NIGMS philosophy for the program and to clarify eligibility and application requirements. In addition, we have added frequently asked questions and answers. Before submitting an application, I suggest that you contact either your program director or me at zatzm@nigms.nih.gov or 301-594-3833.

4 comments on “NIGMS Research Supplement Program to Promote Diversity Continues

  1. I had been under the impression that taking a minority grad student was essentially free, because of the diversity supplements available. It’s not. I did receive a diversity research supplement to support an African American student for one year, during which we applied for an F31 (individual diversity fellowship). That was judged not competitive, and was not awarded. We then inquired about additional diversity research supplement, and were told that such a request (beyond the one year already awarded) would not be considered favorably. They wished us good luck in submitting a revised F31.

    So minority grad students are not “free.” Some support is there, but it is limited.

    • The objective of a graduate student diversity supplement is to facilitate the recruitment and mentoring of a student in the early years of training, for up to 3 years. After the end of the diversity supplement, we encourage a transition to more traditional sources of support, such as an F31 fellowship or the PI’s grant.

  2. The lack of support for “investigators” who become ill or disabled demonstrates that the NIGMS is not truly committed to including people with disabilities in the workforce (see excerpt from the NIGMS website below). Dedicated and talented investigators (like myself) find their careers coming to an end prematurely, simply because illness or disability renders them less productive than their colleagues. It is illogical that NIGMS supports trainees with disabilities, but not investigators with disabilities. The NIGMS policy is discriminatory. It is time for this policy to change.

    “NIGMS supports diversity supplements for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, M.S. and Ph.D. level students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. NIGMS does not support investigator level diversity supplements.”

    • In implementing its diversity supplement program, NIGMS has placed a priority on recruiting and training students and fellows at the high school through postdoctoral levels, where we feel the program can have the greatest impact on developing the pipeline for future faculty.

      We also are committed to assisting institutions in supporting investigators who are or become disabled, and we can provide support to them through a variety of mechanisms, aside from the diversity supplement program. For instance, no-cost extensions or extensions with funds can be considered when an illness or disability impacts the investigator’s ability to submit a competing renewal application. Administrative supplements to a grant also can be requested for special accommodations.

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